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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Addicted to dwelling...in deep, usually violet folds of velvet.

"The original form of all dwelling is existence not in the house but in the shell. The shell bears the impression of its occupant. In the most extreme instance, the dwelling becomes a shell. The nineteenth century, like no other century, was addicted to dwelling. It conceived the residence as a receptacle for the person, and it encased him with all his appurtenances so deeply in the dwelling's interior that one might be reminded of the inside of a compass case, where the instrument with all its accessories lies embedded in deep, usually violet folds of velvet. What didn't the nineteenth century invent some sort of casing for! Pocket watches, slippers, egg cups, thermometers, playing cards — and, in lieu of cases, there were jackets, carpets, wrappers and covers."

— Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project (Cambridge: Harvard U Press, 1999), pp.220-221, as cited in Neil Leach Camouflage (MIT Press, 2006) p18.