The Maintenance of Fragility
Our Sukkah is conceived as one of many; the many already realized, the many yet to exist. Disciplined by Rabbinical Law, Diasporic Judaism has produced a universe of Sukkahs, an incomplete, wandering community of emergent difference based on interpretation and circumstance. An act made ‘in haste’ yet still ritually re-enacted as a mnemonic improvisation, the Sukkah’s behavior remains in a feral state, loosening the parameters by offering a new, emergent informality. Parametric ‘interpretation’ generates productive difference, a latent joy within Diasporic Judaism, culled from years of interpretation.
Anticipation and uncertainty allow us to be mathematical, sublime, gestural, and inflected as we (yet again) reinterpret the steady, historic accumulation of written and unwritten rules. It is within this grey area of interpretation, within the ‘maintenance of fragility’ that we find a productive place to exist.
Dofen Akumah Sukkah: The Bent Wall
Our Sukkah is based on the principle of dofen akumah, allowing us to view the ceiling of the house as a part of the wall. Rabbeinu Nissim explains that we view the wall and the ceiling as one unit that is bent towards the schach. He contends that is principle is only applicable if the wall extends up to the ceiling; if there is a gap between the wall and the ceiling, one cannot apply dofen akumah.
The Bent Wall Sukkah is woven from reeds. The changing density of the weave allows us to move smoothly between the need for structural stability and openness to the sky. Densely woven walls grow upward from the earth, steadily loosening as they open to the sky, suggesting a provisional closure that anticipates the next interpretation.