With this one-year friendship with my old book, Cours d’Architecture by the architect François Blondel, I had the special opportunity to touch with my own hands a volume seen during a lecture. Initially, I did not know the author or the book, but during a history of architecture lecture, I was surprised to see that the book the professor was talking about was a text I had already known for a few months. I was very impressed to see the images on my computer screen and to know their size in reality, the texture of the pages and the general feeling of having the volume in my hands.
To be honest I have to admit that the experience was not very clear at the beginning and I still don’t think I understood the purpose of the final product of our work. I consider myself very lucky to have worked with a book that was also seen during the lessons.
I think this is part of the purpose of the work, to realize that all the texts we study have a physical part that as students we almost never have the opportunity to live and analyze.
Looking back at the individual tasks I realize that some of them have taken a lot of time and travel in periods where I would have preferred to focus more on the atelier part of my study. I must admit that, despite the different use of my personal time, I enjoyed the visit to the ETH library in the city centre, because it is probably something I would not have done of my own free will.
Even having been able to take a four hundred year old manual in my hands and be able to leaf through it in complete freedom is something that does not belong to my everyday life but I am very happy to have been spurred to do.
With regard to the skills and knowledge acquired now I am able to handle an ancient manuscript without tampering with its integrity and ruining it.
To finish this task I would like to draw some general conclusions about the activity. As already written in the previous lines this experience leaves me with the same confusion with which it found me. The tasks themselves were very clear and no less the organization of the blog, but I find that there are big gaps with the general sense of the activity.
In my position I don’t feel like a “friend with an old book”: I know its name, its author, the date of publication, the general content and so on. But that doesn’t make him a friend of mine, an acquaintance at best. Not less is to be considered the time required by some of these tasks: some of my companions had to make long trips to “make friends” with their book. Cutting out half a day just to resume observing a manuscript for 20 minutes seems to me a disproportionate request compared to our study, which takes a lot of time in the practical part.
Concluding on a positive note this retrospective, some activities have made me make friends with new people, an event that can be put in parallel to making friends with an old book (if not overcoming it).