Purgatory has new relevance in our contemporary organization of ecologies. While Dante’s Purgatorio is a tale of ascension through the Seven Deadly Sins, and the classical notion is that of pure indifference, our extreme means of identification and categorization have permitted us to recognize a vague middle ground. As framed by Grosz, this space in between is neither yes nor no, zero nor one, and yet Grosz argues convincingly that it is still capable of generating existence, to one end or the other. The in between, as Grosz puts it, is the “erasure of difference,” but the opportunity for this purgatory, as a reflection of human ecology, may allow us to identify new generators of form. This is particularly relevant with regards to Grosz’s Nature.
Dramatically effected by the human intensity for culture, nature has gone from the extreme environment to a middling milieu of interventions and leftovers. Grosz supports a re-establishing, or new characterization of nature, something more fitting for our current condition, a response to the in between. Grosz proposes, “re-thinking the status of the natural, to affirm it and to grant it the openness to account for the very inception of culture itself.” While this is unlikely to bring back the virgin identity of an uninhabited Earth, it addresses a specific void in our ecology where symbiosis becomes an integral part of our organization structure. Symbiosis makes a strong case for supporting architecture. This relationship, a function between architecture and nature, becomes more complex as we strive for a greater understanding. Grosz identifies that the relationship begins to involve “multiplicities,” “cohesion,” and “experimental transformations and moments of unique and unrepeatable singularity.” Grosz almost seems to force architecture upon nature, as architecture brings with it heavy baggage, that of history and culture which has abused nature to this point. And yet it is the Power of architecture, as explained by Grosz, that causes this. Architecture, as an ego driven, power hungry machine, has brought this fate upon nature. Grosz’ definition here is appropriate, fitting in an end game: “Power, in short, is force directed to securing a future in the face of its inherent openness.”