The remains of a former building can stir the imagination. The Roman Theatre in Orange France built in the early first century AD, could hold 10,000 spectators. The statue of a Roman emperor over looking the audience reminds us of the power of Roman. The physical mass of the building re-inforces our sense of their strength, but also conveys a sense of their abilities, the Roman’s engineering skills. The ruin reminds of the collapse and the frailty of power. We might even cast our eyes downwards and gaze momentarily upon our navel to try and draw parallels between the rise and fall of Rome to our own times.
Sitting on the concrete seats, we co-exist in space, but not time, with those people who have come to this place for the last 2000 years. We are free to move among the different levels, but our Roman predecessors, constrained by class, were not.
Even though its history may be unknown to the visitor, the physical size of this man-made structure confirms this is a place, and one of significance. Oddly, this takes us back before modernism, before the time when perspective was captured in paintings, and the size of an object reflected its importance, not its distance from the viewer.