On the City Pattern Project: Stephansdom


In which The Gay Recluse becomes increasingly obsessed with tiled rooftops.*


According to Wikipedia, the rooftop of the Stephansdom in Vienna contains over 230,000 tiles. It was originally built in the Middle Ages and then — after it was destroyed by fire at the end of WWII — rebuilt in 1952 with the help of Google Images and Soviet robots.


One fear of the modern age is that we serve no purpose in life but to increase the profit margins on the spreadsheets of our superiors.


Of course in our modern jobs — for which we have attended college and sometimes even more than that — we are insulated from the occupational ravages of disease and prosecution and slavery.


But there is still a part of us that no matter what the risk longs to be one of ten thousand others toiling away for a five or six decades, despite the numbing cold and the slippery slope and the certainty that our name will never be attached to this work.


Only when observing the obsessive madness of such art do we feel anything close to hopeful about humanity.


But then we remember standing on the plaza, hating the hordes of tourists who (just like us) had come to gawk at this spectacle before returning home, where the image becomes — as much as a memory or hope — a bludgeon with which we beat ourselves, knowing what we can never be.

A new and improved version of this post can be found here.


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