The theme of LABA:House of Study 2011-2012 is Blueprint. Through our study of ancient Jewish texts we will examine the complex bonds between physical, mental and mystical spaces. We will look at how architecture and geography are used to create order out of chaos, separate the sacred and profane, define boundaries and create a sense of meaning and purpose for individuals and communities.
Our core text will be the famous biblical story of the Tower of Babel. From there we will move to some of the better- and lesser-known realms of the Bible, the Mishnah, the Talmud and the Midrash. We will study stories, fantasies and debates that relate to the junction of space, place, structure and meaning. We will visit ancient cities, mythological spaces, ruins, caves and long-withered gardens.
In addition to the Jewish texts we will also be looking at the work of sociologists and philosophers like Mircea Eliade, Gaston Bachelard, and Yi-Fu Tuan who have written about the poetics and social and psychological functions of spaces and places. The members of our study group – artists, performers, architects, writers and culture-makers -– will bring to the table their own insights and sensibilities and enrich the texture of our study-experience.
Both our bi-monthly journal and year-end festival will engage with this theme, as interpreted through ancient Jewish thought.