Durkheim used what he called “primitive” individual’s and their beliefs to understand the greater complexities of religious life. While I am not Durkheimian, I do admire the idea of tracing things that are complicated back to their most simple roots.
Maybe Modernism is More –
I recently went on vacation to a small hamlet in the south of France called Esparon. During the “off-season,” it boasts a population of 15 which swells to a daunting 45 during summer. Everything built on top of this little mountain is over 300 years old.
At first, you are overwhelmed by the antiquity of style – the stone work, the arches found everywhere, the low-ceilings and never-to-be-paved routes. But the minimalism also had me thinking about modernism. Not modernism with high tech cellphones and solar panels but architecture that is true to itself. Esparon is a place where buildings are striped of their pretentiousness so that they only reveal the structural forces that make it possible for them to exist. It is the antithesis of mannerist because here less is definitely more.