|Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia, Central Panel, Francis Bacon, 1981 (source)
|| Glass House, Philip Johnson, 1949 (source)
‘A mortal man to set his foot On these rich dyes? I hold such pride in fear[.]’
‘How do you make any event classy on a budget? Red carpet. […] Oh, what’s this in my shoe? Red carpet insole. Everywhere I go, I’m walking on red carpet.’
—Tom Haverford, Parks and Recreation, Season 4
Stardom elevates a life into twin states of access and scrutiny. This condition is most evident on the red carpet, a domestic material that transforms the sidewalk into an axis of exclusive privilege. Here is the interface between a celebrity and his or her public, blindingly documented between domains (limousine and gala), with the surface as both an indicator of circulation and a runway for exhibition. By now, of course, what was once a pathway of gods—Agamemnon supposedly didn’t dare traipse across it—is banal: an Aziz Ansari character jokes about insoles, allowing a portable, private red carpet experience anywhere, anytime. This spectrum highlights red carpet’s synecdotal capture of the Hollywood lifestyle, from demigod obsession to superficial triviality.
If unable to tolerate the relative austerity of polished concrete or laminate flooring, a rug is the next best accessory: it smartly withdraws from the edges of a room, adding an extra dimension of complexity, forming a space within a space. Able to be repositioned, it enters into the arrangement of a room, framing or complementing other pieces of furniture. Wall-to-wall carpet, on the other hand, is a fuzzy Euclidean expanse that eliminates all spatial nuance or differentiation, establishing a condition of muted neutrality both sonically and stylistically. A rug dismisses carpeting’s sense of planar, permanent gravitas in favor of transience, versatility, and experimentalism. In this way, a rug becomes an architectural object, a condition that wall-to-wall carpet—a mere architectural finish—will never achieve.
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