FORMS OF TIME

Spring 2008

Brian Massumi Brian Boigon
with Izabel Gass

with Jason Nguyen and Mark Davis

MANIFOLD

9 17

To the Reader
Izabel Gass

Brian Massumi Gilles Deleuze Gilles Deleuze

with Jason Nguyen and Mark Davis reviewed by Nicholas Risteen reviewed by Izabel Gass

Bergsonism
31 39 59 69

Kant’s Critical Philosophy

Ambiguous Etiologies Brian Boigon
with Izabel Gass

Robert Crawford and Federico Cavazos

Architectures of Time Duration and Simultaneity

77 89

Sanford Kwinter Henri Bergson

reviewed by David Dahlbom reviewed by Matthew Conti

Islands and Worlds Writing on Architecture talk20 Philadelphia

95 99

Reinhold Martin Yale University

reviewed by Jamie Chan reviewed by Stephen Nielson

109 115 121 125

University of Pennsylvania
reviewed by Jason Nguyen reviewed by Francis Bitonti

FOA Shrinkwrapping Vague Things

Alejandro Zaera-Polo Neil Denari
reviewed by Molly Wright Steenson

Mass Mysteria

David Erdman

reviewed by Izabel Gass

manifoldmagazine. Cover design by Ann Chou Printed and bound in the USA by the Manifold Publishing Group . Manifold is sponsored by Lars Lerup.Founding Editor-in-Chief Izabel Gass Associate Editors Sanford Kwinter Nana Last Tait Kaplan Joseph Lim Nicholas Risteen Etien Santiago MANIFOLD PUBLISHING GROUP info@manifoldmagazine. This issue is brought to you through the generosity of the 2006-2007 Dr. stored in a retrieval system. ©2008 Manifold Publishing Group All rights reserved. Bill Wilson Student Initiatives Grant. William Ward Watkin Professor and Dean at Rice School of Architecture. or transmitted in any form by any means without prior written permission from the publisher.com www. No part of this publication may be reproduced.com First published in 2008 All work copyright the original author.

MANIFOLD .

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the term “immanence” indicates a world that is founded in nothing transcendent—no timeless “substratum” (Aristotle) against which 9 . time. and matter are not maintained as distinct variables but rather are collapsed within what Einstein called “the field condition.” or a perfectly immanent material world in which space-time-matter are all one continuous thing (“Immanence” from the Latin immanere. The theme of Manifold 2 is “Forms of Time. We made a promise to the reader in Manifold 1: the second issue of the journal would be released only when a meaningful philosophical discussion had been generated within its pages. Our first aim was to generate a discussion of time as a morphological order through which form is articulated. In its philosophical use.” (a play on the title of Sanford Kwinter’s 2001 book Architectures of Time).Karlheinz Stockhausen Manifold Magazine was founded in May 2007 to provide a platform for a reinvigoration of philosophical thought within the discipline of architecture. whereas the new concept is that time is in the things”. This meant returning to scientific developments of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to explain the scientific grounds for a Modern chronotope in which space. The editorial direction was twofold. to inhere within). We hope and suspect that time has come.To the Reader Izabel Gass “The traditional concept is that things are in time.

it was in this light that we sought a thorough reading of Deleuze’s lesser known texts. space and time no longer exist as “carriers” for events (a word he uses throughout his writings to describe Newtonian mechanics) but instead constitute a single time-event. an indistinguishable force. he remains the central philosopher of an immanent ontology. Second to this primary discussion. With these reviews. The first set of our book reviews covers two of Gilles Deleuze’s early works. the editors aimed that a critical undercurrent run below the surface of Manifold 2. the immanent world differentiates itself. difference. Hence. an undercurrent meant to quietly suggest that many contemporary practices which claim ownership of “topological” morphology and immanentist philosophy have done little to dismantle the notion of the architectural object as fundamentally static and individuated from its environment. we hoped to illuminate a personal statement of Deleuze’s from a 1988 interview: 10 . There is a parity between the Einsteinian field and ontological immanence in that what “inheres within” the immanent world—essence. It is my hope that these texts provide a more foundational introduction to the origins of Deleuzian “immanence” than can be found in the mere pillaging of Deleuzian jargon still common in architecture today. “god” — does not ground it or ontologically precede it. similarly.change occurs. for Einstein. the decision to allow the title of Manifold 2 to echo the propos of Kwinter’s six-year-old book: The problem of Immanence has still yet to be addressed. As the quote of composer Karlheinz Stockhausen above suggests. Bergsonism (1966) and Kant’s Critical Philosophy (1963). Despite Gilles Deleuze’s recent oblivion within contemporary architectural discourse.

Reason. I will try to do half as well: Classical or “Newtonian” mechanics rested on a notion of time as “absolute. deserved a place of his own in this issue along with Deleuze’s reading of his work. assessing the potential for creating a “temporal architecture” along these lines. as the great 20th century philosopher of time. rationalizing. Duration and Simultaneity (1922). See Negotiations. Robin Durie does a particularly brilliant job in his English translation. there’s nothing transcendent. but just processes all the same. i Also. although he sticks to possible experience rather than real experimentation). sometimes unifying. subject (or object). subjectifying. tracing out a field of immanence. Jason Nguyen and Mark Davis interviewed Brian Massumi on the intellectual origins of the Deleuzian virtual as well as of the Foucauldian diagram. no Unity. Matthew Conti studied Bergson’s interpretation of the scientific paradigm shift from classical mechanics to Einsteinian relativity in Bergson’s brave (though sometimes muddled) book.” Absolute time can be understood as a universal framework for the measurement of movement. trans. It seemed only fair that Henri Bergson. The book requires some amount of historical contextualization. 1995 11 . Abstractions explain nothing.Setting out a plane of immanence. they themselves have to be explained: there are no such things as universals. is something all the authors I’ve worked on have done (even Kant — by denouncing any transcendent application of the synthesis of the imagination. Martin Joughin. there are only processes. outside of or distinct from movement i. Columbia University Press.

] travelling along the railway lines with the velocity v.. Relativity: The Special and General Theory. 62 12 .. Einstein.” relies on the relation of distinct events to a standardized temporal scale. ie. Now let us suppose that our railway carriage is [... or. when Albert Michelson and Edward Morley discover that the speed of light remains constant regardless of the speed of its point of observation — an observer moving at 65 mph does not perceive light moving faster than an observer standing still. but merely measures it. p.. Crucial here is that the concept of “simultaneity. as Einstein succinctly phrases it: According to classical mechanics. and that its direction ii. it is independent of the position and the condition of motion of the system of coordinates.ii In the classical model.] the tip of the ray will be transmitted with the velocity c relative to the embankment. time is absolute.] If a ray of light be sent along [an] embankment [.. time has no creative agency because time does not regulate movement. The linch-pin is jerked from the theory of “Absolute Time” in the 1880’s.” the notion that two events can occur “at the same time.itself. Einstein eventually uses this finding to reveal the fallacy of the “Theorem of the Addition of Velocities.” the notion that the sum total of the relative velocities of an observer and her object of observation provide the velocity of the system in “Absolute Time”: Let us assume that the simple law of the constancy of the velocity of light c (in vacuum) is justifiably believed [.

light maintains its own condition of motion. In his Duration and Simultaneity. “independent of the condition of motion” of light. and we have w=c–v The velocity of propagation of a ray of light relative to the carriage thus comes out smaller than c. inasmuch as the speed of light is constant — time is not. but its velocity of course much less. the total velocity of the system of the speed of light relative to the speed of its observer is irreducible to Absolute Time.is the same as that of the ray of light. modulates turbulence and catalyzes material and climatological interactions to produce architectural iii. Let us inquire about the velocity of propagation of the ray of light relative to the carriage [. pp. Henri Bergson uses Einsteinian relativity to legitimate a science of “Duration” — consciousness understood as a temporal flow internal to the human subject. iii Thus. Einstein. The design project featured in this issue..] The velocity W of the man relative to the embankment is here replaced by the velocity of light relative to the embankment. rather. or its own time. w is the required velocity of light with respect to the carriage. Matthew Conti’s review of this text attempts to pinpoint exactly where the philosopher loses the scientist — and where the scientist loses the philosopher — unfolding Bergson’s enigmatic reading of Einstein. Robert Crawford and Federico Cavazos’ “Ambiguous Etiologies”. 21-22 13 .. in the Newtonian sense.

.] If matter were to disappear. Another example is the motion of a liquid. The project could be said to operate under the assumption that time and matter exist in a single..] Even in classical physics the event is localized by four numbers.. are functions of the co-ordinates (x. At every point there exists at any time a velocity.forms from drifts of snow in Wyoming’s barren landscape.. z) and the time (t) [. In principle. space and time alone would remain behind (as a kind of stage for physical happening).. 14 . This is a quantity (or a complex of quantities) which is a function of the co-ordinates and the time. in reference to which events are described by the space co-ordinates and the time. space and time [. Einstein again: In Newtonian mechanics. By contrast: The concept of field [replaced] the idea of a particle (material point) [. matter is thought of as consisting of “material points.. three spatial co-ordinates and a time co-ordinate.” the motions of which constitute physical happening [. which is quantitatively described by its three ‘components’ with respect to the axes of a co-ordinate system (vector). (Einsteinian “field”) not the “dichotomized” (Massumi) world of Newtonian time and space. here also.] play the part of carrier or frame for things that happen in physics. continuous... the totality of physical “events” is thus thought of as being embedded in a four-dimensional continuous manifold. y. The components of the velocity at a point (field components).] Temperature is here a simple example of the concept of field. self-integrated manifold.

to close the door in one frame was to open it in another. David Dahlbom ventured a review of Sanford Kwinter’s 2001 Architectures of Time. homing in on Kwinter’s understanding of the “subjective bloc. are to be rethought in this framework — a hugely important subject that Kwinter has never managed to fully address. I particularly liked Boigon’s reference here. Lastly. mostly because it is our aim that each issue of Manifold provoke more than explain. Dahlbom particularly raises the question of how free will and socio-political agency. Boigon offers a disjunctive and rambling manifesto on the capacity of contemporary technology to define a “dynamic architecture” that extends beyond the disciplinary literalism of architecture as built form. instant messaging and computer gaming. we hope to never close the door on any idea. was Marcel Duchamp’s puzzling doorframe construction in which one door shared two frames. such that. Einstein. enter through Marcel Duchamp’s Door 11. only the latter of which contain simultaneous events. Boigon demands: “if you want to make your architecture into a building.” Door 11. but merely move our readers and contributors from one iv.” or a theory of the subject within an immanent ontology. my own interview with Brian Boigon turns to a discussion of the mundane world of Perez Hilton. At the conclusion of his interview. 165-166 15 . iv While Cavazos and Crawford’s design work attempts a material interpretation of the field condition. as they have been typically constituted in Humanist discourse. which is to say. pp.But the basis of classical mechanics this four-dimensional continuum breaks up objectively into the one-dimensional time and into three-dimensional spatial sections. of course.

“abstractions explain nothing. we thank you for reading and. without fail.room of questions to another. In Deleuze’s words. as always.” This is to say. Sincerely. challenge you with an invitation to join our endeavor. the elaboration of any thought always yields a complexity that reconfigures the whole of an idea. On that note. Izabel Gass Editor-in-Chief 16 .

elevating instead the abstract collection of circumstances that intersect to produce it. The movement of becoming is not on one side or the other: it is the result of their coming together.Brian Massumi with Jason Nguyen and Mark Davis Nguyen. The two are inseparable. There is one world. From a deleuzian point of view they have no philosophical meaning apart from their dynamic embrace of each other. What is the role of the “Virtual” in this ontology. a Western understanding of the material world has relied on a desire to understand things for what they “are. The concept automatically shifts in this direction the instant it is separated from “the singular moment of instantiation. The virtual separated from the actual would be utterly “sterile” because it would have nothing through which to express itself. the “actual. They must be thought strictly together. and it is they.” or in deleuzian terms. Unexpressed.” But the work of Deleuze and Guattari proposes an ontology rooted in “becoming. “Dynamic” and “movement” are the key words. this way of thinking debases the singular moment of instantiation. 17 .” It is the virtual which is debased by being separated in thought from actuality — not the actual which is debased by its association with the virtual. Davis: Historically. There would be neither dynamism nor movement were the virtual and actual in separate realms. and how does it differ from the Platonic “Ideal”? Massumi: An effort of thought is required to prevent the Deleuzian “virtual” from slipping into the Platonic ideal.” Paradoxically.

Deleuze needs the actual to hold the reality of the virtual. This is just a first approximation. The actual is nothing other than the taking-effect of the virtual. the virtual. When the virtual withdraws back into itself in the gaps in the actual. You can only think it across its iterations. He accepts the dictum that everything that can be considered real must in some way be experienced.” It does not expend itself in its effect. It is always in the gaps between chronological moments. Deleuze considers his thought. because a thing in change is like a doppler effect through the present of a just-past moving into the future. Conversely. However: every change can be expressed as a change in an order of juxtaposition of actual elements. including the thought of the virtual. It is by nature elusive. I call it “recessive. The past and future are precisely what are inactual. The moment you think change. A supernal virtual could never get past the post of this effective philosophy. it has no “place” to go. The actual apart from the virtual would be absolute stasis. in a nonlinear. to be a variety of empiricism. It does 18 . and the to-come of the next. and you have fixity. recursive time of its own: just past – yet to come. you have actually appealed to the virtual. It withdraws back into itself. In other words. and the mark of each iteration is an actual change. Think the actual without the virtual. It goes only into its own return. so they fall to the virtual. with “experienced” minimally defined as having effects or taking effect. The starting point of that project is the heraclitean observation that the only constant is change. by nature elusive in a time-like way. constituting in the same stroke the just-past of that effect. future-past. Deleuze needs a concept of the virtual because of his project of thinking the actual. The virtual is a slippery concept. takes effect as a spacing.it would not give itself to thought.

and taken together form “constellations. For example. They are conceptual tools meant to assist in following the movement of the virtual into and out of the actual. you get a space-time tension. The way in which they come together creates a space-time tension that is difficult to model conceptually because our habits of thought tend both to dichotomize space and time (treating them as independent variables) and to erase their difference (for example. This movement will be different in each case. the virtual begins to resemble a fixed 19 . If you put the two together. the suspicion that the virtual is a Platonic ideal has already spatialized it as a realm apart. And in each case. by construing time as a “line”). First. a higher plane or other world.” Taken that way. None of the models are meant to be adequate descriptions of the virtual. or even a paradox. For example. The thought of the virtual is all about process. Deleuze has two base strategies to deal with this slipperiness of the virtual in its relation with the actual. and must itself be a process. You are making progress. or most often both at the same time. a particular set of models will have to be mobilized. It is difficult to talk about the virtual without falling into one of these traps. He will immediately undermine it with a temporalizing counter-model. It can never come in one go. he multiplies models for it. The virtual is most adequately expressed in the interference patterns between them.not take effect without its effects taking place. Deleuze often speaks of the virtual as being composed of sets of “pure singularities.” These are point-like. A given model may tend toward spatializing the virtual. This is where the paradox of Deleuze’s thinking lies: not in an alternative between the actual and the virtual. but in how they come together.

under pressure. topological transformation —all these are the virtual. The models never end. Biological models (rhizome. Simondon has an ugly name for this kind of analogical think- 20 . and on and on). each singularity an integrable differential. curves folding back into mutual inclusion -. The models will shake down. The constellation is starting to feel like a projective geometry (in which points and lines are interchanged. The singularity is now sounding like a curve: an integration of singularities. fractals.space-like structure. We’re now in a calculus model. If you try to put the models together. in the dynamic form of its extensions toward them. differential. you get points stretching out into lines. Military models (war-machine. The materials and formations in question will simply not be able to bear the embarrassment of conceptual riches. set. This undoes the fixity by adding a vector aspect carrying a time connotation. The thinking of the virtual is always analogical.the whole bending into a topological model. “fleet in being”). The problem will have been processed in thought. Geological models (strata. Point. Then just as you’re getting used to that he’ll say that each singularity “includes” all the others. integral. in an irreducibly complex way. And that is only a few of the mathematical models you might appeal to (there are others: Riemann space. phylum). Each problem approached will take its own selection of them. Their multitude is only limited in the working out of a particular conceptual problem. structure. Markov chains. curve. So Deleuze will go on to say that the singularities “extend” toward one another. vector. Thought will have mimicked its actual object in and as its own process – making that process analogical. plateaus). lines curving. and the plotting of space requires a time of transformation). into a restricted set. There are also physical models (the singularity as quantum of event). The movements into and out of the reduced plurality of models that are left will mimic the actual pattern under study.

rather than spatial. You have to work through them. You make the moves that conjure it up performatively as a thought-effect.” Here it means you can never model the virtual once and for all. It is a common tactic of critics of Deleuze to take one of his proliferation of models for the model. You have to enact them. We do not say that ice “contradicts” water. and then on that basis critique the concept of the virtual as inadequate. there is no contradiction between form and formation. Water becomes ice. under problematic pressure. It’s more like prestidigitation. and work them through. practices are emerging which pose philosophical questions for the process of form-making. differently in each case. and ice water. The most useful way of approaching these “oppositions” is to treat them as phase transitions. or even time and space. This is like amputing someone’s thumb and then criticizing them for not living up to the definition of the human by failing to display opposable digits. You can’t grasp the virtual without a full conceptual hand. It’s a real process.ing of and with complexity. stasis and transformation. And that you can never simply apply the models of it that you produce. They are processual extensions of each other. Mistrust anyone who privileges any one model of the virtual. He call it “allagmatics. Davis: As Deleuzian-Guattarian preoccupations seep in to architecture. Each contains 21 . You have to put them to work. organization? What are the implications of such an agenda? Massumi: Approached processually. They are standing back from the process. yet still have not confronted the largely static nature of the built environment. Is it possible to re-conceive the discipline of architecture entirely as an art of temporal. Nguyen. You can’t actually grasp it at all.

Today’s weather conditions wouldn’t be what they are were water not part of the phylum it is. The potentials each phase state contains appear differentially. The expression of the potential of the water process is conditioned by another. they express it – differentially. However. commit them to different destinies. the formal differences do not belie their belonging to the same phylum. when. and its engagement with external conditions belonging to other processes. in a distribution bringing to expression at the same time what the process immanently includes. ice into regimes of rigid accumulation. They belong to the same “phylum. where and 22 . This is what Deleuze and Guattari call “capture.” Capture is always “double capture. The ice-form expresses at the same time a potential of the material phylum to which it belongs. It’s the difference between rain and snow. and an environing set of weather conditions.” Their starkly different formal qualities. The point is: even “static” or frozen forms belong to processual continuums populated by phase transitions between related forms which express the same process in starkly different formal qualities. Quite the contrary. but the weather is dependent on water’s offering up those potentials for it to be what it will have been on any given day. The second process takes the first up into itself. Which form presents itself with what precise qualities. They are in a state of “mutual inclusion” in the same line of variation. it is true. Weather conditions may determine which of water’s potentials will appear. The transitions from one phase state to another give the process to which both forms belong the opportunity to express itself more fully. It sets the conditions under which a specific form belonging to the first process will present itself in it. Water enters prioritarily into regimes of flow. more encompassing process.” because as I noted the process taken up has something to say about what happens. and co-determines the more encompassing process determining what form it takes.the other as its own potential.

those changes in their turn entraining others. and what goes on around. even without explicit formal reconfiguration. cultural preferences. The building next door might be demolished and replaced.how. its program. The possibilities are infinite. changing patterns of circulation. The building may deteriorate. contributing through its very breakdown to the conditions for urban renewal. The determination doesn’t end at the erection of the building. trends in taste) providing the conditions for that building. How a building takes effect. The “static” form that emerges from that phase is the built structure. as a consequence of that. in response to economic or cultural changes redefining the prevailing “weather” conditions of the urban environment. qualitatively changing what difference its formal qualities make in the life of the city – the architectural equivalent of snow or rain. They are co-determining. If you look at the larger picture of the double capture of the 23 . A building may be repurposed. commercial pressures. changing the local urban fabric in a way that modulates the remaining building’s lived qualities and perhaps. what architectural-urban effects it has. a city chill or urban warming trend. neither can be thought apart. what your question calls “formation. An entire architectural genre might modulate which potentials actually appear. The urban process that takes it up may continue to bring new architectural potentials contained in the building to expression. varies according to what passes through it. is determined in dynamic encounter with another process that is more encompassing than the first but with which the first is nevertheless in a relation of co-determination. The weather is the urban environment (including all its constituent dimensions or strata: zoning. how it is inhabited. The street in front might evolve into a pedestrian mall.” is architecture’s liquid phase. Urbanism and architecture are in a relation of double capture. To be thought fully. The design process. circulatory patterns.

24 . “ambiguities” of code or meaning. 2) through the encounter with the encompassing. The architectural process is ongoing for two reasons: 1) following to the principle of mutual inclusion. over the long term the fixity of the “static” form reliquefies. It is a surplus of it: a mutual inclusion in the same actual form of potentially divergent takings-effect belonging to different phases of the same process. different sets of these architectural potentials are serially expressed. The question.” Ontogenetic vagueness is not a lack of definition. conditioning process of the city.built form and the urban environment. is: how can the design process pre-adapt itself to the continuation of process. answering these questions requires shifting the vocabulary from. then. and sweeps it up in a co-determined movement of continuing transformation.” This question of the surplus-determining continuation of the architectural process is the problem my own work on architecture has focused on. each form (or phase) virtually “contains. How can it multiply its own co-determining contributions to the double captures it engages? As Lars Spuybroek argues. Greg Lynn also speaks of this surplus-determination when he calls the produced architectural form the dynamic “form of a multiplicity. It is better conceived of as a threshold in a process that continues past it.” in processual potential. for example. All that is concrete melts into city. all others belonging to the architectural continuum. enriching or intensifying the way it lends itself to re-uptake and recursive reforming by other processes (double capture). with or without actual formal modification (sometimes relationally. much the way one color modulates another by its proximity). to ontogenetic “vagueness. The “static” form is only a provisional stop in the architectural process. which is in any case inevitable? How can it build into its built result as-yet unexpressed architectural potentials.

There is a third “double capture” in close embrace with the two already discussed. It cannot be forgotten that the living-through of the architectural process is always. enters into complex relations of co-determining continuation and recursive reforming with the built structure. There is a particularly important “outside” of architecture that the built environment actually contains: the body. It is the “landing site”: the way in which an architectural 25 . The built form is to body as the built environment is to the building. from this processual perspective. at what thresholds. with its immanent process of experience-formation and all the potential that process holds. and to what effect? How can architectural form surplus-determine perception and qualities of experience? Arakawa and Gins answer that question by adapting the concept of “affordances” from J. and always variably. It is less concerned with architecture’s formal disciplinary understanding of itself than with its living through the encounter with its outside. The unit of architecture. The qualities of the built environment are the weather conditions for embodied experience. What experiential phase transitions does a passing or inhabiting body engage in double capture with the built form? How do these continuous transformations feed back into urbanism? Or back into architecture. A logic of perceptual emergence. The material phylum of the human body. must be added to the larger picture. Gibson’s “ecological” approach to perception theory.J. at its interface with urbanism? What unexpressed potentials are capacitated.Surplus-determination has to do only marginally with what is most commonly taken to be the “content” of architecture: the typologies of constituted form-defining styles which can be infused with new meaning through a recoding or cross-coding of their component formal units. is not a formal unit of style. embodied. of experiential ontogenesis.

It returns the body to a processual field of exteriority (encounter).element beckons the body to actualize one of its experiential potentials. that encounter itself enfolded in the urban encounter with architecture: triple articulation. It is in the gaps between chronological moments. It has no definitive 26 . In the ecological approach I am advocating experience is an emergence. It is not a structure. without one necessarily being privileged over another. Architecture as a “discipline” is what passes through these ongoing phase-shifts. this undermines the explanatory power of any approach that begins by separating the inside of the discipline from its outside. a repertory of styles. Architecture is the indiscipline flowing through its own complexly co-determined iterations. Experience is but an echo. It cannot be emphasized enough that this foregrounding of perception and experience is not a call for a phenomenology of architecture. When there are several. or a set of characteristics procedures. the architectural element has become surplus-determining: the unitary form of an experiential multiplicity whose conditions of emergence are an architectural encounter with the phylum of the body. All are under continual variation. It is in the surplus-determination of elements of style in virtue of which they carry an in-built. It is in the invention of new procedures which retool its interface with other processes. Phenomenology returns experience to a form of interiority (the transcendental ego) or a closed loop (the “flesh” of the world as preflective of subjective expression). All of these change. Applied to architecture. It is not an edifice itself. as if architecture itself were effectively a form of interiority defined by historical periods. or immanent. potential for modulation. The model at all levels is what I have called “relational autonomy”: the emergent expression of a process’ singular potentials in a dynamic of encounter with its processual outside. The same goes for architecture itself. Or many at once.

It is a living process. As Deleuze and Guattari were fond of saying.content. digital tools can indeed be considered “abstract machines” for dynamic form generation. Nguyen. 27 . or to deal adequately with the complicated question of digital technology in architectural design. in the “big picture. A creative discipline is defined by how it escapes its past content and internal constraints. the public registers. Davis: The predominant architectural (mis-)use of DeleuzianGuattarian philosophy in architecture has been on form-making. what consequences might this present for a “critical” architectural practice? Massumi: By the logic I have been advancing. And architecture itself. escape is the life-blood of process. the hospitals. The definition of an abstract machine would be: the generative principle by which a continuum of potentials belonging to the same phylum are vaguely determined to mutually include one another. But isn’t architecture itself a socio-political abstract machine.” would be a socio-political abstract machine. etc.)? If so. It will be sufficient to get a provisional idea of why I would defend digital design procedures as an abstract machine to replace “generative principle” in the definition I just gave with “algorithm”. There is not room to unpack this here. These are not mutually exclusive propositions. the poor houses. as Foucault showed time and again (Bentham’s Panopticon. and by which that mutual inclusion is iteratively expressed through the serial emergence of fully constituted actual forms punctuating phase transitions occurring at the interface with an outside process. often confusing digital tools for “abstract machines” for dynamic form generation. It renews itself through the rigorous indiscipline of its effective couplings with processes other than its own.

Lynn was an early pioneer in this approach. What then are the outside processes with which this digital process interfaces? First: human perceptual processes. for example) or a zoning imperative.continuum of potentials with “permutational iterations”. One way in which outside “constraints” may be integrated as creative factors into digital design is to program basins of attraction or repulsion and limits of divergence or fusion which inflect the forms generated so that a certain value. 28 . or lived quality. Third: both of these as they return to the process to modulate it. for example in his Long Island House prototype which translated the constraint placed on the design by the client for a certain view into a generative factor internal to the digital abstract machine of the form-generating process itself. so as to become creative factors for its own iteration. Second: the forces of the intended site and the larger environment. and to construe any form at which the process of form-generation is stopped as the fully constituted actual form. It may be to enable computer milling or to experiment with modularity in response to cost constraints. and the values of the architect and/or client. simply by folding them back into its own process in the form of a tweaking of the generative parameters. is embodied in the resulting building. This infolding of external constraints transformed into internal creative factors can be of many kinds. emergence with “stochastic operator”. at the inter-process threshold of the literal interface of the screen. It may be a desire to pre-engineer a structural characteristic like load-bearing without dichotomizing aesthetic form and architectonic structure. What is unique about the digital design process it that it allows any of its encounters with outside processes to be folded back into itself. It might be a stylistic preference (curvilinearity. It can turn outside constraints into internal factors of creation.

There is no reason not to call this process of disciplinary readjustment to constituent outsides a “critical” practice. and as a consequence the very definition of the discipline claiming that process as its own. This will affect the process’ viability and selfexpressive capacity. Except it is not a judgment. It gives itself up to selection. In short: it is the city that “judges” architecture.I do not mean to privilege digital design techniques over others. not an administration of judgment. It is a living out. etc. and in doing so to renew the relational autonomy it lives by. This bringing into question of the process occurs as a function of its own ongoing operations.). The way in which its takings-effect couple with outside process will have positive feedback effects or inhibiting effects. the process gives of itself – and gives itself up. It is not critical in the sense of judging according to a preestablished standard (of taste. By producing the effects that it does. It is creatively critical in its operative encounter with the outside. An effective critique belongs to a gift economy. These thresholds and phase shifts are “critical” points in the sense that what is at stake is the changing nature of the process. It is a form of what Deleuze calls “immanent critique. political ideology. It is critical in the sense that it benefits by these encounters to carry the process across thresholds and to effect phase shifts. Or is it real estate speculation that “judges” architecture? It could well be that the outside process of speculation is in a stronger position to 29 . I just mean to say that every technical or procedural innovation provides architecture as a living process with an opportunity to renegotiate its relation to its outsides.” You might also call it “operative” or “effective” critique. The same translation of external limits or constraints into creative factors can be achieved by other means (as the current interest in analogue computing clearly illustrates).

an operative critique of capitalism. which at the same time constitute the most powerfully enabling of the outside constraints that it has available to translate into a creative factor for itself. It goes without saying that every architectural practice must grapple with the forces of capital. however humble. than in what content standards it sets for itself as a discipline. The same could actually be said of any practice today. with its fearsome global powers of capture. 30 . Prime among the larger processes with which architecture couples is the process of capital itself. Critical architecture practice is more concerned with how the discipline gives itself to which outside. in outside encounter. Immanent critique of any kind has no choice but to be in some way.select. Critical practice is part of what Isabelle Stengers calls an ecology of practices where “judgment” is lived out processually. and the most cruelly selective environment.

because the author actually had to say everything that I made him say. the words of the text are Bergson’s. 1990 reviewed by Nicholas Risteen In their introduction to Bergsonism. Deleuze. to conceive of the history of philosophy as a kind of buggery or. It is very important that it should be his child. i This passage underscores Deleuze’s desire to set his text squarely on Bergson’s shoulders. Bergsonism. both extensive translators of Deleuze. was. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam. immaculate conception. p. which would be his and which would at the same time be a monster. I imagined myself getting onto the back of an author. and giving him a child. what comes to the same thing. offer an excerpt from Deleuze’s letter to Michel Cressole relating Deleuze’s efforts to escape the ‘scholasticism of post-war French academic philosophy’: My way of getting out of it at that time. break-ins. 8 31 . the ideas prei. But it also had to be a monster because it was necessary to go through all kinds of decenterings. slips. secret emissions. which I really enjoyed. I really think.Bergsonism Gilles Deleuze Zone Books. My book on Bergson seems to me a classic of this case.

for Bergson (and subsequently here for Deleuze as well) comes down to distinguishing between differences in kind.formed. p. details what Deleuze declares to be “one of the most fully developed methods in philosophy” ii by describing three essential rules to intuition as a method. and their explication is a means of discovery more than argument. the discovery of genuine differences in kind. even more than solving it. In a sense. 15 32 . 14 iv. working in a scientific fashion to elicit the underlying structure of Bergson’s writings.’ specifically the identification of false problems and their most common basis in the misdiagnosis of “differences in degree” as “differences in kind. or more precisely three “distinct sorts of acts that in turn determine the rules of the method: The first concerns the stating and creating of problems. the apprehension of real time”. iv (emphases his) Finding the problem.” Deleuze quotes Bergson directly on this front: The truth is that in philosophy and even elsewhere it is a question of finding the problem and consequently of positing it. Deleuze seems to be exploring the work of Bergson as much for himself as for an academic reader looking to discover some ‘new’ insight on Bergson’s philosophy. Ibid. 13 iii. the third. and understanding that “there are no differences in kind except in duraii. For a speculative problem is solved as soon as it is properly stated. p. the second.iii Most important in this litany is the issue of ‘problems. “Intuition as Method. Bergsonism construes the accumulated philosophy under examination as a kind of data set. Ibid. Ibid. p.” the first chapter.

as extrapolating the nuances enveloped in Bergson’s ideas becomes more complicated.” v Bergson’s concept of “duration. Deleuze’s study appears to flounder a bit at the introduction of the virtual. Deleuze describes duration as “a case of a ‘transition. vii (emphases his) Enter here another crowning piece to the puzzle: the virtual.” further noting to the reader that “Bergson has no difficulty in reconciling the two fundamental characteristics of duration. There is other without there being several.. p. This issue occupies the bulk of the next three chapters of Deleuze’s study. or duration. number exists only potentially. based on the realization that duration .but it does not divide up without changing in kind. the subjective. as Bergson’s philosophy seems to almost spin out of control in a string of v. Ibid. the environment. where we can speak of ‘indivisibles’ at each stage of the division. p.’ a becoming. 32 vi... Ibid.tion—while space is nothing other than the location.” or lived time.” vi How does Bergson presume to do so? By positing duration itself as a multiplicity. 37 vii. 42 33 . is one of his most famous and complex philosophical contributions. p. the totality of differences of degree. continuity and heterogeneity. a change that is substance itself. is the virtual. it changes in kind in the process of dividing up: This is why it is a nonnumerical multiplicity. In other words. Ibid.. Noting the descriptions given of duration in Bergson’s Time and Free Will and Creative Evolution.divides up and does so constantly .’ of a ‘change. but it is a becoming that endures.

but those viii. the possible is the opposite of the real. 97 34 . p. for Bergson.’ a distinction which. We must take this terminology seriously: The possible has no reality (although it may have an actuality). Ibid. but as such possesses a reality. Those gains rest primarily on a distinction between the ‘virtual’ and the ‘possible. in Bergson’s inspection. The rules of actualization for the virtual.’ Possibilities. Ibid.equanimities: duration is the subjective is the virtual is memory is a multiplicity. “by which some possibles are supposed to be repulsed or thwarted. while others ‘pass’ into the real”.ix and work essentially in a negative fashion. In some instances this could be read as sticky philosophy. it is opposed to the real. philosophy (and also science) seemed to conspicuously lack. in quite a different opposition. viii (emphasis his) The second point from which to distinguish the virtual from the possible rests in the process of ‘realization. 96 ix. “are not those of resemblance and limitation. Deleuze draws the distinction between the virtual and the possible from their respective relations to the real (and the means by which both come into the real). but. conversely. the virtual is not actual. Within Bergson’s philosophy. the virtual and the possible can be distinguished from each other “from at least two points of view:” From a certain point of view.. in fact. but not without significant gains for Bergson’s argument. by contrast. come to be realized through a process of limitation. p.. and the subsequent chapters appear a bit convoluted to be sure. the virtual is opposed to the actual.

60 xiii. because it has been abstracted from the real once made. it is the possible that resembles the real. Ibid.xiii The movement from the possible to the real is a false movement. p. x.xi In this way. which places the utmost importance on the proper identification and creation of the problem itself (a positive act). as “it is not the real that resembles the possible. Reliance on the possible to describe the real would qualify as a false problem for Bergson. duration (or the virtual.xii Positing duration as virtual coexistence lends credence to the process of differentiation. Instead. a kind of conceptual back-tracking that seeks to identify a sequence of abstract possibilities but only after the fact. Ibid. p. p. That Bergson would come down on the side of the positive process of actualizing the real should be clear from the introduction of Bergson’s method of intuition. Ibid. 57 xii. arbitrarily extracted from the real like a sterile double”. respectively. The distinction that Deleuze elicits between the possible and the virtual is the opposition between a negative and a positive process of realization. p. 98 35 . which leaves the former behind in preference for the latter (Bergson proffers the dialectic as a “false movement” due to its imprecision). Ibid. 97 xi. x Bergsonism insists that this movement from the virtual to the actual is not a dialectical process. as the process of actualization need not thwart one virtual in preference for another but instead allow them to develop along divergent lines.of difference or divergence and of creation”. or memory) retains its multiplicity in its process of actualization as “the conservation and preservation of the past in the present” (emphasis his). Bergson’s duration is “defined less by succession than by coexistence”.

They belong to a single Time. others simultaneous. some successive. a universal cone in which everything coexists with itself.. is differentiated. but each representing an actualization of the whole in one direction and not combining with other lines or other directions . but each of which corresponds to a particular degree in the virtual totality. it does so according to lines that are divergent. vital or psychical representative of the ontological level that they 36 .’ which are like remarkable points particular to it.. is ‘developed. describes an entirely different process: We know that the virtual as virtual has a reality.. except from a certain perspective. each one retaining the whole. A gigantic memory.. All these levels or degrees and all these points are themselves virtual.’ when it actualizes and develops its parts. they coexist in a Unity. except for the differences of level. there are enclosed in a Simplicity. from a certain point of view. by contrast. there are merely lines of actualization. extended to the whole universe. When the virtual is actualized. For what coexisted in the virtual ceases to coexist in the actual and is distributed in lines or parts that cannot be summed up. There is here no longer any coexisting whole. they create in these conditions the physical. They are the reality of this virtual . they form the potential parts of a Whole that is itself virtual. These lines of differentiation are therefore truly creative: They only actualize by inventing. On each of these levels there are some ‘outstanding points. this reality. consists in all the coexisting degrees of expansion and contraction.Movement for the virtual.

pp. 100-101 xv. xiv (emphases his) This truly creative enterprise finds its fullest outlet in ‘the human organism’ as expressed through the élan vital. Ibid. it is the mystic who plays with the whole of creation. the élan vital manifests as the culmination of self-conscious creation. in order to make him a creator. adequate to the whole movement of creation”.’” xv Using intuition as method to arrive at the interval between instinct and intelligence (that differentiating point at which the human organism separates itself from its “animalistic” counterpart). Ibid.” xvii Deleuze’s unpacking of Bergson in this short text covers enormous ground. and shows numerous inklings of ideas and issues tackled in later xiv.’ ‘to use the determinism of nature to pass through the meshes of the net which this very determinism had spread. pp. ‘to make a machine which should triumph over mechanism. Bergson offers ‘emotion’ as the final working method of his creative evolution. p.’ like an artist or a mystic. Ibid.embody. p. It is emotion that differs “in nature both from intelligence and instinct. who invents an expression of it whose adequacy increases with its dynamism. far more so than in the work of philosophers: “At the limit. from both intelligent individual egoism and quasi instinctive social pressure” in an effort to liberate man “from the plane or the level that is proper to him. of the organism becoming aware of its ability not only to be affected by this process of actualization but to effect it in turn to “create an instrument of freedom. 107 xvi. 112 37 . Ibid. Often translated as the ‘vital impetus’ (which lacks particular subtleties of the French ‘élan’). 110-111 xvii.xvi Bergsonism’s ideal creative emotion takes place in a kind of ‘privileged soul.

it is Bergson himself who had to “say everything that I made him say. but it would be overstating the case to offer Bergsonism as the ‘foundation’ (as some have done. though. Those three threads permeate much of Deleuze’s own work. After all. the necessity of viewing metaphysics as a complement to science. tracing lines of descent from Bergson to Deleuze through this text becomes a tricky matter. Deleuze offers three main features of Bergsonism that can be useful in continuing his appraisal of metaphysics as a rigorous discipline today: the method of intuition.” as a work foundational to the development of Deleuze’s own work in subsequent years.decades in Deleuze’s own philosophy: multiplicity.” As such.” In taking stock of Bergson against modern advances in science. duration.’ 38 . technology and society. the virtual. and the necessity to read this work by Deleuze as the kind of “buggery” or “immaculate conception” he intended it to be. is to see this text. against. as Deleuze worked through. Deleuze does leave us some insight into what elements within Bergsonism he took to be worth pursuing further. What would be fair. in short afterward appended to the translation of the text in 1988 titled “A Return to Bergson. even going so far as to say Deleuze’s work constitutes “the new Bergsonism”). this “immaculate conception. But it is important to remember that initial letter to Michel Cressole. and within the utility of Bergson to at last create a body of work that was his own ‘monster. and a continued examination of the nature of multiplicities.

on one level. In Deleuze’s reading of Kant.” is a subversive exercise in delineating an impetus toward immanentism within the Kantian theory of the transcendent subject. which Deleuze once described as a “book on an enemy. exacting a legislative agency on the objects of experiential phenomena. Most radically. Deleuze depicts Kantian reason as a self-interested process aimed at folding empirical experience into its own framework.Kant’s Critical Philosophy Gilles Deleuze University of Minnesota. reason becomes an engine or operative function that assimilates experience to the mind of the subject. While. 1985 reviewed by Izabel Gass Deleuze’s 1963 study of Kant. Deleuze’s book offers a close textual reading and faithful synopsis of Kant’s three Critiques. Kant’s Critical Philosophy. collapsing the distinction between 39 . it also illuminates particular logical practices within the Kantian method— largely the philosophical ties that bind Kant to empiricism — that serve to refigure the traditional conception of the Kantian Transcendental Method.

And because thought confirms being. to think is to exist. Deleuze. which is to say that rationalism derives all claims to knowledge from the exercise i. Kant’s Critical Philosophy. An Immanent Critique: Reason as Reason’s End Deleuze defines Kant’s work as “a struggle on two fronts: against empiricism and against dogmatic rationalism.” (I think therefore I am) presupposes an objective existence for the thinking self: The fact that I [the “I” of Descartes’ formulation] exist is an objective fact . Kant: A Very Short Introduction. Deleuze herein posits a limited commonality between Kant’s transcendent subject and his own model of ontological immanence in which subject-object distinctions are obliterated. for the rationalists. “Cogito ergo Sum. cognition objectively confirms being. it contains the thinking being who I am ii Thus. 17 40 . which is to say. . or ground. Descartes’ well-known formulation. Whatever the world contains. “experience” in the construction of knowledge.” i The conflicting ontologies of empiricism and rationalism differ fundamentally in their respective answers to the skeptical question: how can we confirm the existence of the self? For the rationalists. 1 ii. p. the thinking being can objectively confirm his own existence because of his very cognitive capacity to ask the skeptical question. Scruton. thought (reason) is determined to precede. p.the subject and the objects of the subject’s perception. .

. 21 iv. Thus.” as differentiable from a world of perceivable objects: In basing all knowledge on experience . most radically articulated by David Hume and John Locke. the empiricist viewpoint. . the “self” has no perceptible correlate. Ibid. any confirmation of a “self. Hume opens his Treatise of Human Nature with the claim that an evaluation of the experiential marks the limit of a science of man: iii. By contrast. It is an attempt to give a God’s-eye view of reality iii In other words. p. skeptically erodes the possibility for objective knowledge.saying that neither is there a perceivable object that goes by this name. Hume took his scepticism so far as to cast doubt upon the existence of the self . positing that only conscious perception or “experience” can be subjected to philosophical inquiry. empirical experience is superfluous to the work of reason because reason is innate to the mind and is the ontological precedent for experience. uncontaminated by the experience of any observer. What “experience” leaves just outside its purview is any evidence of the mechanism that synthesizes it. all claims to objectivity become spurious and illusory. 25 41 . and purports to give an absolute description of the world. Ibid. . p. . . .of reason. nor is there any experience that would give rise to the idea of it iv For the empiricists. which is to say. and therefore falls outside the range of philosophical investigation.

Treatise of Human Nature. in this regard. Kant argues that reason is. xvii 42 . ‘tis still certain we cannot go beyond experience.” v.Tho’ we must endeavour to render all our principles as universal as possible. by tracing up our experiments to the utmost. The individuation of the self goes unconfirmed. this very indistinguishability between “self” and “phenomena” is what Deleuze particularly takes hold of in his own work on Hume. reason is absolutely necessary for the cognitive synthesis of the world of objects. Hume. Thus. experience is a single “plane of immanence” that fully integrates both subject and object. p. Kant upholds the notion of innate ideas in the mind and names them the “a priori. Kant first rejects empiricism on the grounds that an a priori framework for knowledge must necessarily ground experiential perception. it is because the self cannot be distinguished from experience —in fact. making reason a faculty without which empirical “experience” would be impossible. and explaining all effects from the simplest and fewest causes. if inquiry into the nature of the self is impossible for the empiricists.” which is to say. and any hypothesis. Because Hume’s empirical method has no means at its disposal for differentiating the subject (“the ultimate original qualities of human nature”) from phenomena (“experience”). ought at first to be rejected as presumptuous and chimerical v What is crucial to note here is that. he implicitly proposes a collapse of the subject-object dichotomy. Kant’s “struggle on two fronts” is also a synthesis on two fronts. a “faculty of ends. in Deleuze’s terms. that pretends to discover the ultimate original qualities of human nature.

Copleston. as a grounds for the experiential. [This is] an a priori concept in the sense that it is not derived from experience but is applied to and in a sense governs experience. empty of all empirical content or material vi The Kantian a priori then. Kant’s innate ideas are concepts and principles which the reason derives from within itself on the occasion of experience.” or an abject. it must be also be actuated through experience. and conflict. an idea of causality. There are. in the sense that they are. absurdity. primitive existence — in other words. A History of Philosophy. for example. in Deleuze’s terms. Kant poses the “argument from the absurd. 213 43 . makes the claim that “if Nature had wanted to achieve its own ends in a being endowed with reason” it would vi. p. Kant makes the “argument from value” that without cultural experience. Kant also refutes the rationalist notion that all knowledge is innate. of themselves. Deleuze herein delineates Kant’s rejection of rationalism (the triumph of reason over experience) in terms of value. there is nothing to distinguish human reason from “animality. But on the occasion of experience its reason derives the concept from within itself. positing instead that while the a priori grounds experience.However. therefore a priori concepts and principles which are grounded in the mind’s own structure.” which. and experience superfluous to thought. is also paradoxically reliant on experience for its actuation. These concepts are ‘pure’. A child is not born with. Second. there is a value to reason as it is cultivated through experience.

the cultural assimilation of the primitive or animalistic through law and order would not be necessary. p. For Deleuze. Deleuze. reason is “self-interested” in the sense that it has its own goal (reason is a means for achieving its own ends). p..not have provided the possibility for experience. p. 2 ix.. Kant: A Very Short Introduction. p.” ix Simply put: Neither experience nor reason is alone able to provide knowledge [. Ibid. Kant’s Critical Philosophy. 2 viii. viii Thus.] Only in their synthesis is knowledge possible. Ibid.” Frederick Copleston’s above summary comes closer to Deleuze’s aim by describing the a priori as that which “governs” experience. Scruton.” meaning. but it is by selectively honing in on a language of “ends” and “means” that Deleuze uniquely illuminates Kantian reason as a self-interested process. then there would be no conflict between man “as both animal and moral species. “only the cultural ends of reason can be described as absolutely final. 27 44 . final “end. only reason that is actuated within experience has achieved its intended. 1 x.vii Finally.” suggesting that if reason were intended to provide an ends to knowledge without experience. or culture. and reason is a “process” in the sense that its vii. Deleuze concludes that for Kant.” the nominal term for a sublation of “reason” and “experience. Kant makes the “argument from conflict. hence there is no knowledge that does not bear the marks of reason and of experience together x It is crucial here that in stock summaries of Kantian philosophy what Deleuze calls “the ends of reason” is simply referred to as “knowledge.” in other words.

. Deleuze argues Against rationalism. In other words. Deleuze here illuminates the implicit empiricist immanentism in the Kantian Transcendental Method. . reason’s interest is in reasoning. or reaches into the realm of experience. or of any other authority outside or above reason xii And it is reason pursuing reason’s end that will enable the methods for Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. and it assimilates experience to its own selfinterest in this regard. In the ends of reason. in which What reason recognizes as an end is still something external and superior to it: a Being. but that in positing them reason posits nothing other than itself. p. it is reason which takes itself as its own end . Kant’s Critical Philosophy. or reintegrate. 2-3 45 . a Good or a Value. reason goes beyond itself. taken as a rule of will xi Instead. p. In Deleuze’s formulation. Deleuze. The ends or interests of reason cannot be justified in terms of experience. Ibid. in which xi. reason wants only to reason.“goal” is merely an interminable exercise of its own faculties — simply put. only so as to subsume. experience into reason’s own logic. Deleuze contrasts this with the rationalist viewpoint. 2 xii. Kant asserts that supreme ends are not only ends of reason.

since they transcend every capacity of human reason. . that of self-knowledge.” delineating the a priori conditions of the mind and their processes in the role of the understanding. and to institute a court of justice. 3 xiv. p.an immanent Critique — reason as the judge of reason — [becomes] the essential principle of the so-called transcendental method xiii Kant’s first critique is thus understood as an attempt to “undertake a critical investigation into the powers of the pure reason itself. the work presents reason’s inquiry into reason’s capacities. namely. but which it also cannot answer. Reason should take on anew the most difficult of all its tasks. Copleston. . xiv As Kant describes in his preface to the Critique. . The battlefield of these endless controversies is called metaphysics . by which reason may secure its rightful claims while dismissing all its groundless pretensions. a quest to define the axioms of metaphysics: Human reason has the peculiar fate in one species of its cognitions that it is burdened with questions which it cannot dismiss. Reason falls into this perplexity through no fault of its own. It begins from principles whose use is unavoidable in the course of experience and at the same time sufficiently warranted by it. Ibid. and this not by mere xiii. p. 213 46 . . since they are given to it as problems by the nature of reason itself.

collapsing. through the latter it is thought in relation to that representation (as a mere determination of the mind)xvi The terminology here functions as follows: a “representation” is an object as it appears to the mind. Critique of Pure Reason. Kant. Kant sets forth the parameters for his Transcendental Method. the second the faculty for cognizing an object by means of these representations (spontaneity of concepts). 193 47 . Deleuze emphasizes that Kantian reason. The Self-Interest of the Faculties: Powers of the Mind as Processes In the “Transcendental Doctrine of Elements” of the Critique of Pure Reason. through the former an object is given to us. p.decrees but according to its own eternal and unchangeable laws. the first of which is the reception of representations (the receptivity of impressions). the “subject” is the cognitive consciousxv. is a machine for assimilating. positing that Our cognition arises from two fundamental sources in the mind. Ibid. or folding experience into itself so as to make knowledge available to its own ends. Deleuze ensuingly describes each of the subsidiary faculties of the mind as a sequence of self-interested processes that in turn serve the final ends of reason. 99-101 xvi. as it governs the mind as much as the mode of inquiry for the first Critique. and this court is none other than the critique of pure reason itself xv Thus. p.

a representation is “related to the object from the standpoint of its agreement to or conformity with it. Kant’s Critical Philosophy. or types of relations.” which is to say. the capacity of the faculty of knowledge is to pull the representation into accordance with the object it represents. the subject of the Critique of Pure Reason. each of which informs one of Kant’s three Critiques. and the “object” is the represented entity. Deleuze.” or power of the mind. Within the faculty of knowledge.ness that contains this representation. 3 48 . We can distinguish as many faculties of mind as there are types of relations xviii Deleuze names three primary “types of relations. p. xvii. both to an object and to a subject. See Copleston. its subject. xvii Deleuze deciphers two implications of the term “faculty. p. The first meaning of faculty is the type of relation constructed between a representation.” that is to say. and its object: Every representation is related to something other than itself. In Kant’s Transcendental Method. has a “higher form.” or three faculties. in the Transcendental Method. a capacity to find in itself the law of its own exercise (even if this law gives rise to a necessary relationship with one of the other faculties). Deleuze demonstrates that each of the faculties of the mind. the faculties of the mind synthesize “sensitive knowledge” (“the receptivity of impressions”) and “intellectual knowledge” (“concepts”). an entity assumed to be external to the mind of the subject. 196 xviii.

The first order synthesis here occurs not between the object and the representation. p. This law is defined as the a priori synthesis: As long as the synthesis [between phenomena and the mind] is empirical. it is the a priori synthesis which attributes a property to the object which was not contained in the representation xx The higher form of the faculty of knowledge herein relays empirical knowledge to reason. This is in fact no longer governed by objects which would give a law to it.’” xxi Thus. Ibid.In its higher form. 5 49 . Ibid. Ibid. 5 xxi. 4 xx. the faculty of knowledge appears in its lower form: it finds its law in experience and not in itself. The Critique of Pure Reason begins by asking: ‘Is there a higher faculty of knowledge?’ xix The higher form of the faculty of knowledge —knowledge being the relation of conformity between the object and the representation — is to uncover the law by which the mind draws phenomena into accord with itself. a faculty is thus autonomous. But the a priori synthesis defines a higher faculty of knowledge. on the contrary. To do this. the higher faculty of knowledge reveals that xix. the faculty must explore the first order cognitive synthesis that underlies the second order cognitive synthesis of empirical knowledge — the relation of the representation to the object. p. p. but between the representation and the mind. inasmuch as “synthetic a priori judgments are themselves the principles of what should be called ‘the theoretical sciences of reason.

p. yet again. This first sense of the term “faculty”— faculty as the type of relation between the representation. it is reason which takes itself as its own end. The second sense of the term “faculty” addresses the question of how these relations perform the function of returning experience to reason’s ends: How does an interest of reason realize itself?’ That is to say. what assures the subjection of objects [to the mind. sources within) the xxii.” attributing categories of representation to corresponding faculties of (or. as Deleuze establishes in delineating Kant’s immanent critique. how are they subjected? What is really legislating in a given faculty? Is it imagination. the cognitive process is self-contained: reason governs experience in order that it may return experience to reason’s end. Ibid.Reason has a natural speculative interest: and it has it for objects which are necessarily subject to the faculty of knowledge in its higher form xxii Which is to say.” xxiii Thus. p. 5 xxiii. or reason?xxiv Deleuze answers this question by defining the second meaning of the term faculty as “a specific source of representations. 9 50 . the objects of experience are presided over by reason. “in the ends of reason. Ibid. to reason]. which is to say. p. 3 xxiv. and its object — reveals that all of the faculties ultimately serve reason’s end. understanding. phenomena is selectively represented by reason so as to return representation to reason’s ends. all representational relations are interests of reason. Ibid. its subject. and.

In sum. reason assimilates phenomena to its own end. It is the representation itself which is defined as knowledge. Kant put forth what he termed his “Copernican Revolution. Legislators of Nature: Consciousness as a Power Relation In the Critique of Pure Reason. the common and colloquial formulation of this is: “objects conform xxv. as the synthesis of that which is presented xxv Together. metaphysics could resituate its project from the perspective that the objects of experience manifest themselves in accord with the nature of the mind.mind. Each of these sources.” Kant’s “revolution” proposes that: rather than assuming. that reason provides us with a cognitive framework for objective knowledge. these two senses of the term faculty — a type of relation and a source for representations — delineate the capacity of the mind as a set of self-referential processes that order experience so as to return it to the ends of reason. p. 8 51 . In short. hence an activity and a unity distinct from the passivity and diversity which characterize sensibility as such. that is to say. From this standpoint we no longer need to define knowledge as a synthesis of representations. is then assumed to maintain responsibility for the organization of presentations: The important thing in representation is the prefix: re-presentation implies an active taking up of that which is presented. rather than the mind accommodating the objects of experience. Ibid. as the traditional rationalist viewpoint contends. in containing representations.” an inversion of the rationalist philosophical schema for the relationship of “reason” to “experience.

This would be just like the first thoughts of Copernicus. on this presupposition. Kant. come to nothing. but if the object (as an object of the senses) conforms to the constitution of our faculty of intuition. which is to establish something about objects before they are given to us.” Kant writes: Up to now it has been assumed that all our cognition must conform to the objects [of the senses — objects outside of the mind].to the mind. tried to see if he might not have greater success if he made the observer revolve and left the stars at rest. then I do not see how we can know anything of them a priori. when he did not make good progress in the explanation of the celestial motions if he assumed that the entire celestial host revolves around the observer. 110 52 . which would agree better with the requested possibility of an a priori cognition of them. Now in metaphysics we can try in a similar way regarding the intuition of objects. Hence let us once try whether we do not get farther with the problems of metaphysics by assuming that the objects must conform to our cognition. the mind does not conform to objects. Critique of Pure Reason. who. then I can very well represent this possibility to myself xxvi Deleuze notes that Kant’s Copernican Revolution is foundational to his “struggle on two fronts” against empiricism and rationalism inasmuch as: xxvi. p. but all attempts to find out something about them a priori through concepts that would extend our cognition have. If intuition has to conform to the constitution of the objects.

The essential discovery is that the faculty of knowledge is legislative.In dogmatic rationalism the theory of knowledge was founded on the idea of a correspondence between subject and object. 13 53 . Deleuze explains this as the empowerment of the mind. for the empiricists. the mind can be assumed to function in accordance with the objects of experience. This accord had two aspects: in itself it implied a finality. Kant’s Copernican Revolution inverts the power relation of the mind’s subordination to experience. p. or more precisely. objective knowledge of phenomena is possible because (even prior to experience) the mind always already possesses it. of an accord between the order of ideas and the order of things. the mind cannot be individuated from experience. because cognition precedes and grounds experience. But it is curious that. By contrast. Hume’s empiricism had a similar outcome: in order to explain how the principles of Nature were in accord with those of human nature Hume was forced to invoke explicitly a pre-established harmony xxvii For the rationalists. and it demanded a theological principle as source and guarantee of this harmony. Deleuze. that there is something which legislates in the faculty xxvii. Similarly. Kant’s Critical Philosophy. this finality. from a completely different perspective. the endowing of the mind with a legislative agency: The fundamental idea of what Kant calls his ‘Copernican Revolution’ is the following: substituting the principle of a necessary submission of object to subject for the idea of a harmony between subject and object (final accord). and thus is necessarily in harmony with — in fact fully integrated with — the objects of experience.

I is Another In the introduction to his book.” then here we see that the will of Kantian reason is to assimilate experience to its own logic. . 2 54 . its full authority over and integration within — the experiential. a Good or a Value. In this way. Kant sets up the critical image in opposition to wisdom: we are the legislators of Nature xxviii Deleuze depicts reason as a will or force to be executed over and against objects. partly by his ‘final’ accord with Nature. In understanding reason as a legislative engine. The first thing that the Copernican Revolution teaches us is that it is we who are giving the orders. 13 xxix. p. a law which governs the forms of the objects xxviii. xxix Time is out of Joint. in turn effecting. Deleuze here represents the Kantian Transcendental Method as a power relation in which the act of interpretation actively reformulates the object it interprets. through all the processes of the mind. the will of reason was to achieve “something external and superior to it: a Being. Deleuze proposes four “poetic formulas” for summarizing Kant’s critical philosophy. Ibid. .of knowledge . or to return. these objects. If we recall Deleuze’s stipulation that. forming. p. Deleuze manages to bring “reason as the ends of reason” full circle to explain reason’s power relation — and thus. to its own ends. The rational being thus discovers that he has new powers. There is here an inversion of the ancient conception of Wisdom: the sage was defined partly by his own submission. for the rationalists. Reason is an engine that drives all phenomena back into reason. Ibid.

vii 55 . Cardo. p. As opposed to the “objective” framework of rationalist reason. it is subordinate to movement: it is the measure of movement. Kant writes: time is not something objective and real. interval or number. Deleuze illuminates a dynamic relation between the time of the subject and the time of experiential phenomena. It is now movement which is subordinate to time. time is unhinged. . Ibid. . or constancy. but movement is related to the time which conditions it: this is the first great Kantian reversal in the Critique of Pure Reason. in Latin. which posits a fixity. we can unravel the meaning of at least two of the “poetic formulas.of experience. Time is in flux because it is subject to a continual modulation in accordance with reason’s legislative function and participation in the experiential. As long as time remains on its hinges. The hinges are the axis around which the door turns. xxx In defining reason as a legislative act. Time is out of joint. This was the view of ancient philosophy. But time out of joint signifies the reversal of the movement-time relationship. time is the time of reason as it approaches experience and folds experience back into its own logic.Time is no longer related to the movement which it measures. designates the subordination of time to the cardinal points through which the periodical movements that it measures pass. ‘The time is out of joint’. it is neither an xxx.” The first of these is Hamlet’s great formula. for Kant. between the time-space of the subject and the time-space of experience.

and the future at every instant xxxii Again.accident. Kant’s Critical Philosophy. p. Ibid. necessary because of the nature of the human mind of coordinating all sensibilia by a certain law xxxi The second of Deleuze’s poetic formulas is borrowed from Rimbaud: “I is Another. it is the subjective condition. in such a way that the ‘I think’ accompanies them xxxiii itself. Kant. Deleuze.. p. p. And yet. 14-15 56 . by dividing up the present. because reason governs the constitution of objects in the material world. because Kantian reason relies on experience to actuate Knowledge implies a necessary relation to an object. nor a substance. 197 xxxii. viii xxxiii. nor a relation.. and of that which happens in time. My representations are mine in so far as they are linked in the unity of a consciousness. That which constitutes knowledge is not simply the act by which the manifold is synthesized. but the act by which the represented xxxi. . it is the “unity of consciousness” that “synthesizes the manifold” of experiential phenomena: Representation means the synthesis of that which is presented. the past.” meaning that The I is an act which constantly carries out a synthesis of time. quoted in Copleston.

the objects of experience and the reason that governs them are in a continuous. 15 57 . reciprocal self-definition that constitutes the everchanging “I” of the Kantian consciousness. p. xxxiv. Ibid.manifold is related to an object xxxiv Thus.

58 .

59 . Ambiguous Etiologies acknowledges architecture’s full immersion in the flux of material energies. turbulence. is a reconfigurable modular lattice system that harnesses snow drifts to create a landscape of differentiated spatial zones. density.Ambiguous Etiologies Robert Crawford and Federico Cavazos Ambiguous Etiologies. revealing the absurdity of dialectic categories such as the “natural” and the “artificial. heat.” This project is an engine for the organization of matter. a design for an outdoor pavilion in the plains of Wyoming. The pavilion challenges the understanding of space as a “discrete multiplicity.” or the “landscape” and the “building.” and instead approaches architecture as the dynamic distribution of intensive material properties: light. pressure.

which is immediately followed by a spike in wind and a temperate summer that usually hovers around the 70’s.Conditions The pavilion is climatic-dependent. whose purpose is the opposite: to cool the breeze before it reaches the inhabitable space. Snow accumulation peaks in late February. also upwind.5 J J A S O N D J F M A M A 2 Month 105 Temperature (F) 90 75 60 45 30 15 0 J J A S O N D J F M A M A 3 70% Accumulation Level Average Temperature (F): 16 Average Wind (mph): 10 Average Snowfall (in): 7. The snow is melted into a series of pools during the summer. 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 A 1 A 2 A 3 A 4 Snowfall (in) J J A S O N D J F M A M Month 13 Wind (MPH) 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 A 1 0% Accumulation Level Average Temperature (F): 75 Average Wind (mph): 8 Average Snowfall (in): 0 13% Accumulation Level Average Temperature (F): 32 Average Wind (mph): 9 Average Snowfall (in): 4.5 A 4 100% Accumulation Level Average Temperature (F): 29 Average Wind (mph): 11 Average Snowfall (in): 6 Month H 1 2 15H 60 . Their location upwind heats the spaces downwind. Our pavilion seeks to decrease the large swing in temperature to create an inhabitable space. The modules act as space heaters in addition to snow fences during the winter.

but the wind still carries some particles from the shelter of the fence. At this stage. Form + Height . an eddy or recirculation zone forms downwind of the lens. Form . Some blowing snow deposits on the ground. causing a slip-face to form. Snow Fence Guide. but not porous walls.It is clear the hieght of the snow fence plays a larger role than the form.The higher the fence the longer the fetch.2 times the height of the fence). 1 to 1. The efficiency of the fence may actually increase as the drift adds resistance to the wind. At this stage. 3. A lens-shaped drift forms as saltating particles are caught by the fence. This lens shaped deposite becomes deeper until the wind no longer follows its curvature. The fourth stage of growth begins when the drift first assumes a smooth profile without the slip-face. 2. Ronald. 4. The recirculation zone fills in as the drift lengthens downwind. National Research Council 3 4 35H 61 . The lens-shaped drift becomes deeper but not much longer. As the downwind drift approaches its maximum depth (for 50% porous fences. At the third stage. Four Stages of Growth 1.The fetch closely follows the shape of the fence.Snow mounds up directly against solid walls. Source: Tabler. Height . marking the disappearance of the recirculation zone. This stage is characterized by a decline in trapping effiiciency as the recirculation zone diminishes in size.Snow Fence Diagrams Density . the third stage of growth begins. the drift is about 20H in length. Subsequent growth is slow as the drift elongates to its final length of 35H. The slip-face and recirulation zone that form in this stage trap some of the snow that blows off the top of the drift. The wind force diminishes for a distance equal to about 15 times the height of the fence (15H). The recirculation zone helps trap particles blowing off the top of the drift. the drift adds significant resistance to approaching wind.

Connection Matrix Plan Connection Type 1 Density: Angle: Legs: Loose 90 to 90 Long to Long Front Right Axo Connection Type 2 Density: Angle: Legs: Loose 90 to 90 Short to Short Connection Type 3 Density: Angle: Legs: Loose 90 to 90 Long to Long Connection Type 4 Density: Angle: Legs: Loose 30 to 90 Medium to Long Connection Type 5 Density: Angle: Legs: Loose 90 to 90 Long to Short Connection Type 6 Density: Angle: Legs: Moderate 90 to 90 Long to Short Connection Type 7 Density: Angle: Legs: Moderate 30 to 30 Medium to Medium Connection Type 8 Density: Angle: Legs: Moderate 30 to 90 Medium to Short Connection Type 9 Density: Angle: Legs: Tight 30 to 90 Medium to Short Connection Type 10 Density: Angle: Legs: Tight 90 to 90 Short to Short Connection Type 11 Density: Angle: Legs: Tight 90 to 90 Short to Short 62 .

Right Front Connection Type 6 Mock-Up Right Front Connection Type 10 The physical mock-up tested the wiring. The denser module configurations block more wind and give off more heat. heating.Simulations Temperature Connection Type 3 Environment: 5 °F Nichrome: 200 °F The warmth exuded by tested by holding he environment temperature and air velocity constant. and structure of the module. Right Front 63 . as can be seen in the following flow trajectory visualizations of temperatue.

2. 3. 6. The fences behind the ‘snow fences’ vary much more in density as to create more or less private micro-climates.100% Accumulation (with connection types) The fences which do not produce mounds may only make use of planar connection types such as 1. Lounge Bar Outdoor Seating Dance Floor 64 .Plan Phases Phase 4 . 10 and 11. 5. The fences in front of the ‘snow fences’ are composed mainly of dense connection types 10 and 11 as to more easily melt the mounds they inhabit.

65 . The topography is constructed to maintain access to the pavilion and maximize the amount of wind that will blow over the water and cool the space in the Summer months. but not where the ground is paved.0% Accumulation The hardscape.Phase 1 . Phase 2 . Phase 3 . such as the dance floor.40% Accumulation The begining of the snow accumulation.70% Accumulation Snow continues to accumulate. Phase 5 .0% Accumulation The melted snow is collected into pools in front of the snow fences.

5. 3. 66 . 6.Module 1. 2. 4. Heats Space Melts Moguls Delineates Space Provides Light and Shade Creates Moguls Reduces Wind Chill The profile of the branch is a triangle to assure a rigid connection yet allow for variable configurations.

is spliced in at the connections. a hybrid of nickel and chromium that heats with electricity. The cap piece is rotated 15 degrees off center to allow for multiple connections to occur in a column-like fashion without the modules intersecting.Electrical wire is threaded throughout the branches. 67 . Nichrome.

68 .

” — an understanding of which contemporary discourse has largely lost sight. “Manual for 5 Appliances in the Alphabetical City.” You set your students to the task of designing five “appliances” as a way of addressing architecture as a problem of the diagram. First. which is the problem of form and its rep- 69 . I think its conception marks an important point in the understanding of what might constitute a “temporal architecture. Two ideas in particular interest me here: 1. you proposed Manual as a way to “reconceive architecture outside the classical framework. While years have passed since Manual’s publication. in the Foucauldian sense — architecture as the manipulation and organization of human and material activity.Brian Boigon with Izabel Gass Gass: I want to discuss a pedagogical exercise that you and Sanford Kwinter explored in a studio.

” In many ways. there has been very little homework done by the staff of the surrounding amusement parks called “Universities” and “Colleges” to update their rides. known. the question of what you have called dynamically generated form should first be historically framed by identifying the mediocrity of its trailer park attendees and their attendant rules. Innovations in digital technology have in fact increased this tendency in thinking.” While there have been intensive transformations in the tools. or the new urbanisms called Social Networks. resulting in computer-generated representations of “form. to the outside world. and influencers that have surpassed ‘real’ architecture. or the real time online motion pathways contained by X-Box 360s. such as Facebook (where up to 40% of a teenager’s time is spent consuming-producing space and event sequences using everything from a mobile phone-cam to the new dimensional elevation of architecture known to tween-kind as IM chat windows). contemporary practices that claim to embrace an ethos of “dynamism” still understand the architectural act as the conjuring of “form” from a formless material substrate. providing programs that administer “forces” on “matter”. Compare: The recent computational masterpiece of folding matter in the feature film The Transformers. Halo3. in what ways could architecture really transcend its reliance on the hylomorphic mindset to become actually dynamic? Boigon: In the academic mayhem of architecture and urbanism (now one and the same). 70 . language.” Using “Manual for 5 Appliances” as a springboard. as “Design Pedagogy.resentation (hylomorphism). With: Architectural teachings.

Professors then must press enter after they type in this question on their computers: “Is this thing working?.are the new fuel and programmable chips for our architecture design schools.And you get to see: How off-mark the world of architecture is from its internal banter and its failure to keep up with the downloadable Joneses. 71 . We (meaning the pedagogical angels of academia itself) have yet to catch up to the follow-me generation with relevant upgrades to our pedagogy 1. Pedagogy is never really examined in the same way that the actual discourse of form has been audited throughout the centuries. Second Life.” this thing. meaning the actual production of pedagogy itself. Grey’s Anatomy. Cell phone with unlimited Text Messaging. 19th Century Rousseau and 20th Century Pavlov. Now this. Futurama. Batteries sold separately.. YouTube. Jackass. 18th Century Johnson.0 circa 17th Century Descartes. the Ipod. Jetman. the 21st CenturySouth Park.. Bratz TV.. Facebook. Perez Hilton..

Pedagogy has. of thinking and being. but isn’t the pedagogical model still basically stuck inside Rousseau’s theory of education as nobilizing the savagery grafted onto the French Judicial system. There is the bilateral movement of the hitch pin against the 72 .” our bodies.and that has coincided with the rise of new consumer-producer culture (Playlists.com). (alias — design critique) guilty until proven innocent? forms? Are we. I divided your question of student producing computational automaton form into two coupled parts: a dynamical system is fundamentally a coupling of A THING. here in today’s world. The flaw.Professors may look better with laptops. YouTube. like a car. In truth. By the way. is that the digital age has reduced all matter to an inconsequential set of talking numbers.. reliable sources— not Wikipedia and Google) has been hiding from the guns and roses of video games and flirt networks.. podcasts and YouTube lectures. positioned the teacher as the purveyor of intellectual produce and the student as mass consumer. and to see where they have landed in time and space before we utter a language of knowledge that sets out to describe an order of things which no longer exists.. just playing our golden oldies on new plat- Unaccountable atoms aside. internet. Secondlife. the student has become the producer and the teacher has become the consumer. and another THING. like a trailer. We (meaning anyone who teaches a thing) are negligent in our practice to not look first at what Heidegger called “the first dwelling. Facebook. My Space. on Demand Cable. as teachers. This reversal of information ecology at the level of a Pedagogical discourse (the assembly of pedagogical texts.. since the 17th century. WiFi and course uploads.

in the Manual. you explore the Diagram as a way of understanding architecture....friction of wind. This and That are of concern to me as are Here. left to right. There and everywhere as the social interweaving rises into a chaotic critical mass .. and then there is the subscription to forward motion by the pull of the car. Our X and our Y axes are vibrating in a blender. This is the world of dynamical dwelling. We must therefore foreground any discussion of dynamical systems theory in what I currently call the “follow me generation. “they” — are the moving conveyors of the social. everything is moving and you never stand still. If we are to understand dynamical system theory at all. “not by how it appears but by practices: Those it partakes of and those that take place within it. A dynamical system for architecture today is actually a social matrix and not a system at all. Imagine us at a Toshiba ring assembly plant all working on a car made out of virtual macrame—rendered across a desert of multiple screens (Computer/Laptop/Mobile Phone/Television).” This — or rather. it would not wholly reside within the mathematical formula that was first rendered into a CGI script by Alias Software in Toronto. and there. Intermittent lines of flight are what we now have here.spikes and then settles down to reframe itself like a house party does. texting and Instant Messaging. To reduce the mathematician’s formula for computational lathing around a behavioral axis called the “spline” would do some justice to the advancement of life at Pixar but it would also ignore the devices that intermediate between self and others such as mobile phones. I ask you: Design and Pedagogy: “Is this thing working?” Gass: Secondly. when you start your engines. In other words.” What might it mean 73 .

As we excavated the diagram from the thousand plateaus of innocuous presence. traffic control for the “parking spot” and roadway lines. perhaps in the vein of. walls. sports lines. there were several fundamental social attributes that we decided to define as having architectural meaning. spot. football fields. we found diagrams that were first and foremost cast as guidelines for the body and its machines.” Meaning. And now this. Pierre Bordieu’s Outline of a Theory of Practice. tennis courts and running tracks.” Gass: In what ways can the chronotope of the “diagram” permeate the 74 . hole. Specifically. basket.for architecture to extrapolate a theory of form along these lines. chalk on the pavement that becomes a hop-scotch game. For example: social lines. the diagram was simply a tipping point into a world of geometry that never led to form and yet changed the movement of bodies in space which in turn would set off a chain reaction then leading to some awesome climax called a goal. love and culminating in the coupled words hitched together in the bliss against time: “The Finish Line” and “Game Over. floors and corridors which grow out of the lines which one uses to distinguish the total architecture of a potential building. diagrams that impact the body in real time and space. We referred to these types of diagrams (from a quote in my book Speed Reading Tokyo from 1990) as “Diagrammatical Reality. such as those inscribed on basketball courts. The most pervasive of those attributes was—and still remains for me—the Diagram. say. or any similar anthropological approach? (Certainly Foucault’s work would be of paramount relevance here.) Boigon: When Sanford Kwinter and I first conceived of the studio “5 Appliances in The Alphabetical City”. we made it clear in our studio that a diagrammatical reality could be as physically restrictive as the extrusions of windows.

Mobile Phone to name but a few of the accelerators of time and space conduct our movements. for instance.representational realm? Might we find a correlation. There has been no other creature born in computational space that has such profound allusions to life and to which we can recall every frame from every television 75 . vectors rather than segments. as it pulses. as it glows. across the screen. the space of ‘direction’ not ‘place’) and the dynamic landscape that you have explored in technological innovations of the cartoon? Boigon: The answer is yes. Such is the life of a mobile society which gives up its stake in the ground for a currency of lines and interoperability that constantly gives you the option to either take part with or without your body and multiple personality. The Cursor and its Double has both surface and infinite depth as it breathes. The 2-cause and 3-effect dyad is not without segmentation and a loss of depth. the surface is deep and nowhere is that more apparent than in the brilliant luminosity of the blinking cursor at the entry line on a computer text code line/word processing program. What is at stake in setting out to demarcate the surface is the “stake” itself. The cursor is alive and stakes out life. living computational consciousness. What we have lost is the ability to hold ground for more than an instant. Electricity. between the Deleuzian notion of “smooth space” (the space of lines rather than contours. One can most certainly draw a correlation between the life of the diagram in “vectors/direction” and landscape in “the cartoon.” Despite its 2 dimensions. the diagram can impact the third dimension. as it beats. The Internet. As particle physics has revealed. The Automobile.

border and the emotional intelligence. signage. the cursor.” An architecture design school should offer Duchamp’s “Door 11” and other doors that lead to absolutely nothing and everything. 76 . creates space for the user.show. oppose the reductionism and surrendering of architecture to its profession as a “building-only” public service. the very first offspring of digital space that is both diagram. enter through Marcel Duchamp’s “Door 11. We have here. the fakery of a cell phone call on the street to create a social buffer. when indeed architecture as a discourse and discipline provides a completely infinite and provocative speculation on the meaning of dwelling and shelter from the multi-identities that one fashions on through electronic devices — say. how the cursor buys time for the director. The cursor is the first interface to dwell in a new architecture of computer networks and communications. representation. still to this day. To Note: Architecture is one of the great cross disciplinary arts and must be defended against the master narrative of Architecture = Building. If you want to make your architecture into a building. turns the effervescence of light from simply being a screen to that of becoming a being. We must. feature film.

which is doomed by its very nature to a continual re-inscription within existing conditions. dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs evident throughout Sanford Kwinter’s Architectures of Time: Toward a Theory of the Event in Modernist Culture (2001. indeed motivating. from material originally published 1984 . p. 2001 reviewed by David Dahlbom There is an underlying. Kwinter states flatly: “the era of cultural production we are traversing is unarguably one of impoverishment and mediocrity. Kwinter emphasizes that this way out cannot be found in critique.87). Kwinter. Architectures of Time.” i His book must therefore be understood as a response to this condition—an attempt to find a way out. 5 77 . but instead in. and i.Architectures of Time Sanford Kwinter MIT Press.

Virtuality is understood here as “free difference or singularity.” iii Kwinter offers the example of Hans Jenny’s Kymatic images. It is indeed the inevitability of corruption and imperfection inherent in classical “creation” that points to the second mode of morphogenesis. and the another inherent in a world of perfect immanence. According to the classical. Ibid. Something either is or is not possible. This mode is dependent on an understanding of the world as “a ceaseless pullulation and unfolding. 4 iii. however. Much of the work is therefore dedicated to exploring the conditions necessary for the creation of novelty. The insufficiency of such a model. hylomorphic model.only in. but rather one in which virtualities are actualized through the constant movement inherent in the very forces that compose the world. Kwinter outlines two conceptions of morhpogenesis. but instead singularities and events emerge from within a rich “plasma” through the continual and dynamic interaction of forces. This model cannot account for new possibilities and it fails to confront the inevitable imperfections and degradations evident in all of its realizations. Ibid. in which tones were emitted ii. in a linear time-line. a dense evolutionary plasma of perpetual differentiation and innovation. The morphogenetic process at work in such a world is not one whereby an active subject realizes forms from a set of transcendent possibilities. p. one appropriate to a world capable of sustaining transcendental ontological categories. and specifically defining a conception of novelty in an immanentist cosmology. novelty.” ii In this world forms are not carried over from some transcendent realm. a necessarily limited number of possibilities (forms or images) are reproduced (mirrored in reality) over a substratum. 8 78 . not yet combined with other differences into a complex ensemble or salient form. p. is evident in its inability to find a place for novelty.

a novelty which from its own perspective must be construed as a defect. There is no “threshold beneath which classical objects. Kwinter is keen to emphasize here both that the virtual is real even when it is not actualized. 6-10 v. is not of primary concern for Kwinter. then. it is the nature of real time to ensure “a constant production of innovation and change” in all conditions. 109 79 .vi This is evidenced precisely by the “imperfections” introduced in an act of “realizing” a form.across steel plates on top of which had been placed a layer of fine powder. But the sort of novelty which the enactment of the classical model produces. For complete discussion. pp. Kwinter offers a series of models of this sort of novelty. or relations cease to have meaning yet beyond which they are endowed with a full pedigree and privileged status. The novelty which interests him registers its status as having emerged from a complex collision of forces. at least from an ontological standpoint. Above all. The classical mode of morphogenesis. it is a novelty uncontaminated by procrustean notions of subjectivity and creation.iv It is of course this immanentist description of the world and its attendant mode of morphogenesis that Kwinter posits as viable. and that actualization itself occurs in and with time. Kwinter iv. Ibid. 49 vi. Ibid. the most significant of which are found in the works of Sant’Elia and Kafka. p.” v Indeed. has to be understood as a false model which is imposed on what is actually a rich. states. perpetually transforming universe. see Ibid. The patterns produced in this powder (the actualization) are the product of the way the tone interacts with the complex metallurgical properties of the plate (the virtual components). and he is clear that it leaves no room for the classical model. p.

does not. but the abstract regimes of force that organize and deploy them. What. is the ontological status of a body and its attendant instance of consciousness? In what would it exist? Kwinter here offers: vii. it must be made clear that the category of the subject (like that of the object) has no place in an immanent world. To pose a question more specifically: what behavior or mode of existence is Kwinter encouraging in order to maximize the production of that radical novelty which might overturn the present state of affairs? To address this question properly we must first examine the behaving mechanism itself. Kafka is portrayed as an author who does not attempt to bring forth works from his private. the crux of his examination of both of these figures lies in establishing the non-representational nature of their productions. What is at stake here then is not establishing models of works to be imitated so much as identifying the conditions for the emergence of novel works.” vii Similarly. but as someone fully embedded in his world. Indeed. 83 80 . subjective essence. an extended field of movement and circulating forces. Ibid. He is characterized as a sort of catalyst whose productions are the result of his own complex mechanism interacting with the forces surrounding and traversing him. rather than represent. what it has traditionally been called “the subject. then. however.” It is precisely his “orientation” toward the world that permits the works to “assume. There can be no transcendent. p. put forward their work as something which is to be directly imitated. Sant’Elia embodies “a new orientation toward a phenomenal field of events and interactions—not objects.” From the outset. this would only mean a return to a representational mode of thought. creative internal space.

Ibid. it would be unfair to demand a complete description of these capacities. exactly. is but a synthetic unit falling at the midpoint or interface of two more fundamental systems of articulation: the first composed of the fluctuating microscopic relations and mixtures of which the subject is made up. these “defining capacities” are. yet is too often mistaken for. p. and external ones—the capacity of any individuated substance to combine and recombine with other bodies or elements (ensembles). What it does not offer—and what is not offered in any detail in the entirety of the work— is an in-depth account of what. To be sure. both influencing their actions and undergoing influence by them. subjective essence—may in turn have its own individuality characterized with a certain rigor.It would exist precisely in the ever-shifting pattern of mixtures or composites: both internal ones —the body as a site marked and traversed by forces that converge upon it in continuous variation. Kwinter himself has elsewhere referred to the states of the nervous system as “magically complex” and he continues to express a deep interest in the study of human cognitive and perceptual viii.. The ‘subject’ . For each mixture at this level introduces into the bloc a certain number of defining capacities that determine both what the ‘subject’ is capable of bringing to pass outside of itself and what it is capable of receiving (undergoing) in terms of effects.viii This description is sufficient to explain the immanent nature of the subjective bloc as something entirely embedded in and conditioned by its surroundings.. The image produced at the interface of these two systems—that which replaces. 110 81 . the second of the macro-blocs of relations or ensembles into which it enters.

92 See the discussion of architecture and science in the previous issue of Manifold for more on Kwinter’s interest in the potentials of scientific examination of the human perceptual apparatus. Among the capacities of consciousness is the ability to attribute to itself the (false) image of a stable and transcendent essence. in short. contains within itself an enormous number of limiting factors which would ix. p. Assemblage 15. as he calls it. that consciousness is produced. at least insofar as it is equated with some kind of internal. Consciousness. Kwinter. but this effect still manages to produce certain difficulties when attempting to define modes of behavior appropriate to an immanent world.apparatus. (In one text he optimistically awaits the day when this space will “be left utterly in shreds. It is within consciousness that limiting and arbitrary moral categories seem to most stubbornly lodge themselves. above all. or the Wiring and Waning of the World’. x. ‘Virtual City. consciousness may serve as the repository for conditioned behaviors which believe themselves to be free of external determination. is derived entirely from immanent conditions and can only be granted the ontological status of an effect. Architectures of Time. p. see Kwinter’s discussion of the event. ‘Manual for 5 Appliances in the Alphabetical City: a pedagogical text’.ix Regardless of the specificity with which these capacities can presently be defined. separating itself from an absolute experience of the moment.) And. at this location where so many systems are densely overlaid. (To be sure this is the location of all critical thought. For a discussion of the derived nature of the “subject-effect”. subjective space. p.x There is a palpable suspicion of the role of consciousness throughout Kwinter’s work. Boigon and Kwinter. Assemblage 29. We may be convinced that this consciousness. we must nonetheless agree that it is at this interface.” xi) The basis of this suspicion is multiple and obvious. 35 82 . The workings of consciousness are precisely what allow the subjective bloc to orient itself in a sequence of time. this apparent internal space of thought. 98 xi.

xv Kwinter does however offer us various examples of behaviors that seem to sidestep the limitations of conscious behavior. The Clamor of Being. Instructive in this connection is Alain Badiou’s characterization of Deleuze’s theory of choice. The animal. Ibid. p. unconsciousness (notably the philosophical un-self-consciousness). 179 83 . he notes that in fact an instantaneous. Kwinter. Architectures of Time. 177-179 xiii. inhabits its world in pure and perfect continuity. p. this capacity would seem most productively applied by turning on itself—that is. 178 xv.” xiii In particular. and death. In his “pedagogical” text. See also Deleuze’s discussion of Bresson and the “purified automaton” in Cinema 2: The Time-Image.xii The basic incongruity of consciousness in an immanent world finds its most clear expression in Kwinter’s invocation of Bataille’s claim that “[t]he true impulse at the basis of life is the impulse towards indistinction. 11. p. it is clear that neither becoming animal nor “inflicting a mortal wound to one’s biological being” constitutes a viable option. See Badiou. 177 xiv. Insofar as it appears to possess the capacity for self-determination. non-reflective mode xii. in other words.” xiv But for all the desire to free oneself from the limiting confines of consciousness. pp. p.” written with Brian Boigon.retard the production of novelty. Ibid. continuity. precisely by making the choice not to make conscious decisions and instead to permit oneself to be seized by extra-subjective forces. its glance is totally devoid of “intelligence” (science) and self-consciousness—and yet the animal is neither a mere object nor does it belong to this world of the human. “Manual for Five Appliances in the Alphabet City. this impulse may be manifested in a fascination with animality: “For animality is immediacy (l’immédiateté) and immanence.

is devoted to strategies that would limit conscious guidance and critical or evaluative reflection. is an obvious example. 36 xviii. at the cinema and watching TV. weaving through traffic. whose every limb and digit is conditioned to operate spontaneously and independently in response to a complex and unpredictable surface. In these activities also the subjective bloc abandons. Ibid. 35 xvii. 35 84 . or at least does not activate. Boigon and Kwinter. spontaneously reacting to the unpredictable development of the water beneath him. The “principle of speed. xvi. jacking in). the whole process of making evaluative judgments is purposely subverted by a continually affirmative (and explicitly amoral) philosophy of “‘just say yes. p.” which does not permit the reflective consciousness to interrupt the constant flow of production. specifically those of the surfer and of the rock climber. he must intuitively find his way down. p. or reading an air terminal schedule (not to mention all recently emerged forms of provisional tenancy such as logging on. Rather.of “inhabitation happens all the time.’” xviii Other models of non-reflective behavior are discussed in the opening chapter of Architectures of Time. The surfer depicted in the opening image of the book could not possibly survive the wave he is about to engage if he were forced to consciously calculate and determine every minute adjustment of his body.xvii Indeed. moreover. p. its capacity for conscious guidance or evaluation.” xvi Much of the text. downloading. Ibid. Similarly the rock-climber. could never afford “a strategic command center that programmed the body to behave globally in response” to a generalized understanding of the climbing conditions.

xix While we may agree that genuine novelty cannot be brought into existence by some consciously guided. p. see Manifold I. rock-climbing). To approach the same issue from another position. is xix. Assemblage 29. It is only once these various conscious actions have been ingrained in the subjective bloc. familiarize oneself with the basic techniques in this realm. This process of conditioning inevitably involves some degree of conscious evaluation.To these examples we might also add the experiment (scientific or otherwise). We may begin by noting that while all of the activities above involve a period in which conscious guidance is necessarily relinquished. though a necessary condition for the production of substantial novelty. insofar as this is understood to be an establishment of what is ultimately an impersonal process that leads to results independent of any specific guiding hand. learn to shift one’s weight in ways that at first might seem counterintuitive. 92. that conscious guidance can again be relinquished. in every case there is also at least a moment in which conscious guidance must be exercised. “creative” process. or the Wiring and Waning of the World’. ‘Virtual City. Similarly. the construction of an experiment demands a period of conscious construction that precedes the impersonal course of its actual execution. we might note that the mere ability to get outside of one’s confining internal space. For a brief discussion of the experiment. p. tell oneself to stay calm. 11. Kwinter. One must isolate an area for mastery (surfing. once they have become automatic mechanisms. The examples of the rock climber and surfer are particularly notable for the obvious need of prior conditioning before the more spectacular performances are possible. 85 . we need to further specify the role of conscious behavior in the creation of the conditions for the production of novelty.

disconnected pathways of predigested. What is perhaps not given sufficient attention.xxi It exposes itself to the risk xx. Kwinter. though. 127 86 . evaluative process whereby one would make the determination of whether watching TV is the worth the time. It is doomed to act within the boundaries of what it thinks it knows. ‘Virtual City’. capable only of critique and representation. Insofar as the consciousness associated with a given subjective bloc takes its own existence as evidence of some fixed subjective essence. p. But activity that is never interrupted by conscious reflection exposes itself to limitations of its own. Kwinter. Kwinter never makes the inane suggestion that simply giving oneself up to anything. The subjective bloc that exhibits behavior characterized by the “relative blindness of an immanent viewpoint” is open to novelty but is incapable of monitoring itself. Let us return to the example of the television. is the critical. mentioned earlier as a model of non-reflective behavior: Herein lies the specific beauty and insidiousness of television: it easily lures attention with its flow—it lures attention easily because it lures it initially along its pathway of least work or resistance—then. Architectures of Time. is a guarantee of novelty. The dangers and limitations of acting as a self-determining “creator” of forms are made perfectly evident in this study. once captured. All of this is to suggest that the conditioning of the subjective bloc can never be escaped entirely.xx To be clear. it has become a blockage point in the production of novelty. 95 xxi. p. confines and tunnels it into rigid. be it television or scientific experiment.not the only such condition. but only infinitesimally. varying monotony. continually.

Consciousness must finally be seen not as the grounds for some creative process.” but also within the nebulous and changing boundaries of subjective bloc out of which it arises. 87 . This mechanism must be continually activated to introduce alterations not only into “the world. in part. but.of falling into unconscious and unproductive patterns. as an auto-regulatory mechanism.

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Duration and Simultaneity

Henri Bergson

Clinamen Press, 1999 reviewed by Matthew Conti

Duration and Simultaneity was written by Henri Bergson in the early 1920’s to explore how his concept of duration (lived time) fit with Einstein’s special theory of relativity. As with almost all of Bergson’s major writings, he set out to see if he could solve a specific problem. In this case, Bergson’s goal was to update philosophy and its conception of time in a similar manner to the way Einstein’s flurry of papers on relativity displaced a stale Newtonian physics in 1905. Duration and Simultaneity presents a flawed and at times paradoxical argument that has endured almost continuous controversy in the 80 years since its publication. The predicament a reader of Duration and Simultaneity finds oneself in is twofold. On one hand, the reader has to understand Einsteinian physics, and the mistakes Bergson is making in his reading of the special theory of relativity. On the other hand, the reader needs to understand how this book relates to Bergson’s earlier writings,

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especially Bergson’s concept of duration, which he first lays out in Time and Free Will, and develops further in Matter and Memory and Creative Evolution. In these and other earlier writings, Bergson investigates the characteristic differences between time as it is lived and time as a measurable and quantifiable phenomenon. Through this, he builds a scientific foundation for intuition that accounts for what he sees as two critically different and mutually exclusive ways of knowing. One way, the way of Newtonian science, sees the universe in discrete and spatial terms (as an actual or “discrete multiplicity”). The other way, the way of intuition, sees the universe as continuous, immediate and in a perpetual state of flux (a virtual or “continuous multiplicity”). Focusing on the continuous multiplicity, Bergson argues that human understanding does not move from perception to recollection, but instead moves from recollection to perception. With this observation he articulates his notion of duration, a concept he illustrates with his famous diagram of a cone (representing the totality of recollections accumulated in one’s memory) and a plane (representing the perceivable universe). It is at the intersection of the cone’s point and the plane where difference is developed in relation to the contraction and relaxation (position in the cone) of the totality of memory, where the past and present exist at once. This differentiation, which can only be grasped by intuition, is continuous and qualitative and is the defining feature of lived time or duration. It is this immediate and individualized definition of duration, not the expanded version described in Creative Evolution, which Bergson is attempting to reconcile with the special theory of relativity in Duration and Simultaneity.

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Bergson’s central criticism of Einstein in Duration and Simultaneity is that Einstein mistakes a discrete multiplicity for a continuous multiplicity, failing to see that time begins with duration, not the relative speeds of objects in space. Bergson appreciates the radicality of relativity, but believes the theory is undermined by its dependence on the observer. However, as he tries to prove this, the paradoxical aspects of Duration and Simultaneity become apparent. For Bergson, the notion of simultaneity implies at least two perceptions understood through a single mental act, the smallest possible division of duration. Given this, Bergson is critical of Einstein’s ability to ascertain if two events are simultaneous, but Bergson is also locking himself into a phenomenological argument which is even more dependent on the observer than Einstein’s thought experiments with light clocks. This paradox is further complicated by Bergson’s investigation of the role of the Lorentz equations, which leads him to believe in complete reciprocity between the relative times of different frames of reference. In essence, Bergson’s conclusion here is that the special theory of relativity can be simplified because the multiple times it predicts are mathematical fictions, and the time dilation which the hypothetical observer sees is nothing more complicated than the Doppler Effect with lightwaves. The glaring omission here is that Bergson only briefly discusses time dilation, and when he does, he gets it wrong. To be fair to Bergson, this concept is only alluded to in the special theory of relativity, and is explained with clarity only in the general theory of relativity, which Bergson does not explore. Nonetheless, Bergson fails to acknowledge that it is possible for subjective consciousness to accelerate from one temporal frame of reference to another, which is to say, he fails to acknowledge that duration also presents a form of time that is by nature inconstant. Bergson thus falsely concludes that there is one universal duration (time) encompassing all

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inasmuch as an intuitive duration does not imply an absolute and universal temporal frame of reference. When Bergson and Einstein met in 1922. The closest a physicist will get to defining time is to say that it is what we measure with clocks. Bergson’s intent is to update the philosophical conception of time through an investigation of Einsteinian relativity. the concept of a single duration still has traction regardless of the nature of time dilation. It is therefore left to the philosopher to interpret time as duration. And thus the gap remains between physics and philosophy. the mistake does not completely derail Bergson’s central argument that the “temporality” of time itself begins with duration. While this conclusion seems like a fatal error for Bergson’s argument. Although his flawed analysis of the special theory of relativity brings him into conflict with Einstein and other physicists. until neuroscience and more recent developments in physics take us inside the flow of duration. 92 .other durations. Einstein concluded their conversation by stating that there was an unbridgeable gap between the time of the physicist and the time of the philosopher.

LECTURES 93 .

94 .

” He spoke with urgency.” Reinhold Martin spoke boldly of a “re-theorization” of the Postmodern project in architecture — the formulation of a new framework for utopian thinking by way of reexamining postmodernism. Understanding the present is essential to thinking about the future. and thoughts today about changing the world are vanishing rapidly. Martin’s introduction therefore dove straight into the heart of the present globalization debate where mega-structures and transnational networks threaten to ‘undermine 95 . and theorists seem to have today in thinking a radical thought and imagining a utopian future. According to Martin.Islands and Worlds Reinhold Martin reviewed by Jamie Chan Troubled by the “difficulty that many architects. students. utopia is not a place or an ideal city but rather a “thought made possible by material conditions. arguing that the ability for a creative mind to think a utopian thought is what drives future change.

the authority of capital cities’ and breed inhuman spaces. By matching these descriptions of anachronism in postmodernism and globalization. to describe ‘displacement and untimeliness. ‘where is utopia in all of this?’ Martin told us that it never left us inasmuch as Postmodernism’s very utterance is also a negation—that is.’ a ghost that haunts us in unexpected places. ‘The term MultiNational Corporation can seem dated in one place while all too current in another. Therefore. Martin declares: “the name of the ghost is Postmodernism itself.” 96 . This is the place of the Multi-National City (MNC).”’ And just as we began to ask.’ The point was driven home as he referred to ‘that hallmark of postmodernism—“the presence of the past. our present. and Multi-National Corporation—an acronym coined from Martin’s previous work. who describes the present interdisciplinary debates on globalization as analogous to those of postmodernism in the 1980’s because both are defined by the same anachronistic qualities.’ In essence. Clearly more than stylistic mixing or suburban sprawl. Martin implied that globalization not only parallels postmodernism. the Modernist desire for utopia remains embedded within the Postmodern ‘undead. a certain déjà vu in both time and space. the term ‘postmodernism’ in Martin’s lecture is used in an abstract sense. a negation of Modernism.” This image of disjunction led Martin to quote colleague Andreas Huyssen. He remarked that. globalized condition is characterized by “a certain disjunction. it upholds it.

’ Utopia and its ghost were made more evident in Martin’s numerous examples. in which its participants were cut off from the real world while they enjoyed themselves in a scaled-down reconstruction of it. ‘what’s not supposed to be there. each depicting a capital city in a different location with respect to the water’s edge—which served the purpose of disclaiming Utopia’s fixed image. the ‘hole’ in the island that leads back to the outside world is real. Through these examples Martin demonstrated 97 . counterfeit reality. “postmodern architecture is full of roads that lead to nowhere. unable to escape this ghost of Postmodernism as we continually catch glimpses of a ghastly utopia. In another words. who documented American communes and created an inventory of utopian experiments. ‘an island is never just an island’—it leads back to the mainland. Martin also uncovered the association between ‘nowhere and no-place’ and utopia. in multiple instances. as he was quick to point out that. Martin pointed out that despite the common criticism of Disneyland’s isolated. or as Martin tells us. He presented French semiologist Louis Marin’s diagrams of Thomas More’s Utopia—a crescent-shaped island drawn three times.” Among many examples there was the Strada Novissima (‘the very image of history going nowhere’) and Hejduk’s Berlin Mask (which ‘performs a story about nowhere’). He also discussed the work of Ungers. participants are never trapped inside. Martin also showed a map of Disneyland.Thus we are haunted interminably.

98 . it is an empowering and enormous first step. so to speak. but it serves to prove his point that we are still unable to flee the paradigm of Postmodernism. By identifying the ‘ghost’.’ It may seem odd at first when one realizes that Martin.that the ‘island of architecture has a hole in it that leads back out to the world at large. is using the very thing he is trying to escape to make his argument. we trap ourselves in another world within it once again. with his roundabout logic and negationbased dialectics. We are made aware that if we choose not to acknowledge it. to throw it out the window. Martin cleverly uses Postmodernism as a springboard—a starting point at which he ushers in a new way of thinking in which “another world can be made pos- sible” through architecture. If one sees the value of his argument.

October 8 A panel of six representatives from various positions in the field convened to discuss. Summoning the haunting verse of John Ruskin. Focusing on the latter he hoped that with the varied perspectives of the panel the discussion might “parse the qualities of not only the ways in which buildings speak to us [and] chat about what the jobs of those who write about architecture is. Stern John Donatich. moderated by Yale University Press Director John Donatich. Donatich defined the dual nature of architecture as having both responsibilities to shelter and speak to us.Writing on Architecture Yale University reviewed by Stephen Nielson Panel Discussion Yale School of Architecture “Writing on Architecture” Peter Eisenman Luis Fernández-Galiano Kurt Forster Paul Goldberger Robert A. Moderator Presented in conjunction with the Whitney Humanities Center Monday. aimed to shift our focus from the visual to the textual. he attempted to define oppositions around the relationship of people to the built environment. inflate. The critic is asked to try on many hats as poten- 99 . The night’s talk.” Through a series of questions directed mostly towards architectural criticism.M. and deflate the role of writing in archi- tecture.

however. Paul Goldberger was the one to address the questions posed by Donatich in defining the role of the critic.” To these rather disheartening comments Goldberger noted a positive rebuttal in Matthew Arnold who defined criticism as.tial educator. If the critic can effectively convey that love to his or her read- 100 . the remaining requirement for the critic is quite simply a love of the subject. comes with the peril of judgment. the lofty ambition of the critic to. As the only official “critic” on the panel. With these issues in check. “a disinterested endeavor to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world. For clarity in judgment he insisted that the critic maintain a distance from issues of aesthetic choice. These provocations speak to the question of architectural communication. believe a woman or an epitaph before you trust in critics. He first cited notable ‘critics of critics. hope constancy in the wind. soldier of public well-being. or corn in the chaff. or social activist. ice in June. aesthetic champion. “one might as soon seek roses in December.” It was from this point that he built his case for the critic as primarily an educator.’ quoting Sir Henry Walton’s comparison of the critic to the “washer of nobleman’s clothes” and increased the fervor of his assault with a line from Lord Byron who wrote that. To him. This task. serve as an ambassador of intellect to the people is in fact at least a part of the job. through written communication. While honest journalism is of course a necessity to good criticism it is in promotion and chiding that a qualitative assessment must be made.

Architects write to make the public aware of the contribution architecture makes to the wider culture. write to justify the trajectory of their work with the hope of influencing history. In this they reach out to members of their own generation. Architects prefer to gather their work 101 . distilled what he believes are the motivators behind architects writing.ers. quoted in part. and whether they have any place doing so. Very young architects with little or no work experience in the profession write to make space for themselves. With a panel comprising three architects. For example they may look for connections with other fields. While most other cultural figures write autobiographies. a historian and but one critic. 2. 4. like those in so many other fields. below: “1. More mature architects write to carry forward a line of investigation with some seriousness. Architects. the ensuing conversation was dominated by the question of why architects write. 3. his or her potential to make their lives more meaningful and pleasurable is great. 5. Not so young architects with some professional work under their belts write about their work to make more of it than there really is. They also write to create the kind of intellectual noise that is likely to get the attention of older architects – for better or for worse. and in that way with the hope of justifying their lives. Bob Stern. with stinging efficacy.

Fernández-Galiano persecuted architectural writing. Architecture. he did not criticize the architect for a reliance on the image. In the end. But insofar as the work and words in their pages inspire others to spend time contemplating the discipline. Fernández-Galiano pointed toward the image-heavy monograph as a means of advertising. While the general tone of his talk was a humorous and mildly self-deprecating jab at architectural writing. in his words. “sadly lacking substance and intellectual distinction. 102 . he. whose lead we follow. I would also argue that such books serve architecture as a whole. so he further distilled the relationship to the “word” and the “image” in which the subject. through editorial necessity.” In confirmation of Stern’s comments on self-promotion. Blame Palladio. Beyond merely noting this hierarchy. must coax the two “strange bedfellows” of architecture and writing into cohesive publications. clearly favors the image. From his pulpit he expounded on “the asymmetrical relationship where architecture is always the master and writing is reduced to the status of servant” likening the phrase “architectural writing” to “British Cuisine” or “German Humor.” Luis Fernández-Galiano would be the only of the presenters to rise from the table and take the podium. I would be less-than-candid were I not to say that the monographs architects write about themselves or publish about themselves are self serving.” As the editor of Arquitectura Viva. citing the poor writing of Vitruvius who was.together in monographs. but simply insisted that we come to terms with the reality of the situation.

and a remarkable Margarita Sanfranti. while the craft of writing within the field is historically abysmal. “a kind of writing about architecture which one could compare to writing home about what you’ve seen. the “Godmother 103 .” Kurt Forster’s response provided the much-needed intoxication to Fernández-Galiano’s sobering accusations in a discussion of the recently re-issued articles of George Nelson.third life.” The benefit of this type of writing is the potential for the writing itself to offer insight beyond the actual subject under consideration. an ambitious though disappointed Le Corbusier. and that we may not be “happier or wiser if in the world of architecture the word were the master and the image the slave. respectively. and Karl Friedrich Schinkel as having whetted the appetites of a great many readers from the far east to northern Europe.” Nelson’s journals. a young man of 25. beginning in 1932. Forster evoked Marco Polo. the book of Sanfranti. offers what Forster deems. Forster folded his tale back into the lesson of the day when he commiserates on the inability to locate America. He wrote home about encounters with an idling Mies van der Rohe. He observed that Gurte recognized the existence of a “.Fernández-Galiano admitted that. there is nothing to be ashamed of in this regard.. Nelson. amalgamating truth and fiction [and] felt that precisely this borrowed life enchanted the reader. the poet Gurte.. you’ll have something to write home about. offer an American sensibility applied to a transitional period in Europe.” He summarized with a German proverb: “If you take the trip.

“there’s nothing wrong with a few pictures.” citing Proust’s Swann. “so much for the fate of books that we typically find intertwined with the fate of buildings. as he does on a weekly basis in his design studio at Yale.” and so. “writers also write books about themselves and create characters that are surrogates for themselves. Perhaps the most striking. in fact. we would have no record of the existence of a number of buildings. comment offered by Eisenman was that “books are more important than buildings. be guilty of the self-promoting monograph. He argued that we then must allow architects a similar outlet. Beyond the book as a means of immortalizing the architecture.” Eisenman noted that buildings have a “life of about thirty years. were it not for publications.of Italian Architecture. with minimal readable imagery. Including Koolhaas with the aforementioned collection of writing architects. in terms of their value. Eisenman concluded that their various un- 104 . and insightful. with Luis Fernández-Galiano. while architects may.” Eisenman offered the immortalizing examples of Palladio’s four books – for which Palladio himself redrew all of his designs as their initial unrealized intent – and Le Corbusier’s Oeuvre Complète and Vers Une Architecture as models. and Roth’s Zuckerman as examples.” Peter Eisenman took specific issue. in this service. which will certainly far outlast and take priority over its built counterparts. without which we’d have lost the buildings to time and situation. He countered that. Eisenman cited Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction as a text.” Forster concluded.

making a distinction between the independent field of architectural writing. again.” Eisenman then. Le Corbusier. not about Bob Venturi. and of equal or greater importance to.” This was a comment with which Eisenman promptly agreed. the initially moderated conversation returned to the question of the monograph. noting that what Venturi.” On the issue of the visual and the verbal. Eisenman drew a line in the sand.” whilst lacking 105 . seeing things fresh. which is comprised of critics and most theorists.” With this. turned the discussion to Complexity and Contradiction as a book. and “writing architecture” which is architecture in the form of productive text and diagram in support of. or why it is. but about presenting a new idea to American architecture — “the most important book written in the United States about architecture.dertakings are better described as “writing architecture. Paul Goldberger characterized it as mostly reference material for providing plans and pictures. Upon conclusion of the increasingly specific individual presentations. the built. Eisenman distinguished between the abilities of the architect and the writer. When asked of the monograph’s value. and Sullivan do is “[try] to carve a new place.” Bob Stern used this remark to reinforce his earlier comments. adding that the architect is the last person you’d want to ask “what it is. Koolhaas. where “rarely is there critical insight that is meaningful. offering Jacques Derrida as someone with tremendous ideas to offer those who could “see.

at least in architecture. colorful. upon Eisenman’s suggestion. both of whose writing.” The earlier provocations of Fernández-Galiano then came to a head with Eisenman over the utilization of images to describe architectural ideas.” a realm of the visual that. When asked to provide a philosopher who can “see” Paul Goldberger instead looked to Marcel Proust and. and that there is an important distinction to be drawn between image as representation of a reality and image as clarification of an architectural concept—simply a matter of the photograph versus the diagram. It is precisely the definition. are not perceptual phenomena. he argued. illustrating the reliance of architectural texts on the image. While Fernández-Galiano refuses to allow this distinction. architectural porn.. of the image that he and Eisenman have difficulty synchronizing: Eisenman insists that the oft referred to canonical texts do not rely on representational imagery. Sal Bellow. but instead a means of conveying information to the intellect. while consumed by the eye. plans and sections. seductive images . the point is clarified by Paul Goldberger who refined Eisenman’s descriptor of “picture postcards” to “sexy.the ability to “see. Eisenman cannot subscribe to. or classification. pretty. Thus. Fernández-Galiano cited the total editorial control of Palladio and Le Corbusier. was about architecture and “describe[s] place and building often more convincingly than architects have. at the conclusion of the 106 .” himself.. For Eisenman.

evening we saw a rift presenting two distinct camps. Architectural writing finds its merit, independent of architecture’s theoretical projects, through an inspiration of love for the subject, or “letters home,” to much the same end, while “writing architecture” is subsumed into the project of architectural autonomy.

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talk20 Philadelphia

University of Pennsylvania
reviewed by Jason Nguyen

Entering the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania on the evening of October 11th, you would have thought you were interrupting an ongoing party and not the prelude to a presentation on contemporary architecture and design. With synthesized beats emanating from the lecture hall, beer and wine being served by the glassful and throngs of students and young designers milling about the current exhibits, the scene was fitting for the an event advertising itself as “not as a lecture but a gathering, an open forum for the dissemination of ideas in art, architecture and design.”

Given the institution’s predilection for liberal and intellectual aestheticism, it’s of little surprise, then, that such an event found its home at the ICA, that groundbreaking institution most known for hosting the first solo Andy Warhol exhibition in 1965 and originating the highly controversial Robert Mapplethorpe: “The Perfect Moment” show in 1989. Though it is unlikely that talk20 will compete with such milestone events, what it does do is usher in a refreshing and muchneeded approach to contemporary architectural discourse. Talk20 began in Philadelphia in

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its fourth. practice.February of 2006. part critical and wholly dynamic. at least implicitly so. cutting directly to the conceptual underpinnings of each project. Its intrigue lies not only in the content covered but also in the structure of the event itself. talk20 organizes a central theme and opens the podium to the designers and academics which typically constitute the audience. Mexico City.” Though the organizers offered little more than that single word as guidance. Spartanburg (South Carolina) and Toronto. it has spread to six other cities – Boston. to prevailing Deleuzian philosophy. steady and brevity-attuned dialogue. it’s hardly shocking that the majority of the presenters latched on. Such a structure forces a direct yet disciplined conversation which is part dialogic. Barcelona. The discussion remains frank. use of the algorithm as a means of producing an architecture representative of such an ontology. Though some presented projects which adopted the once-revolutionary. Since then. all while avoiding (or attempting to avoid. fabrication and culture. part artistic. Chicago. Presenters address issues of theory. To maintain a swift. there were quite a few who addressed the theme with a refreshing and slightly more critical 110 . at least) the trap of esotericism which has come to plague much of theoretical discussions within academe. As opposed to having one speaker lecturing. each speaker is allowed twenty slides with an allotted speaking time of twenty seconds per slide. but now seemingly mainstream. centered on “Feedback. The October 2007 installment of talk20 Philadelphia.

As the group transitioned from one location to another—from tourist venues leading impromptu tours to municipal parks playing football—each subsequent move was determined solely by the adjacencies of the location and action taking place. While some could view this endeavor as mere spontaneity gone urban. Knowles rather chaotically presented an experiment which he and his group conducted the summer prior.hand. I’d like to cover two presentations which addressed the theoretical concepts of “feedback” innovatively.and political-geography. As a complete review of each discussion would be far too wideranging for a concise review. what it actually constituted was a lighter. approach of addressing the temporal existence which makes up the actual act of experience. Scott Knowles. offered an interesting perspective of “Feedback” in his presentation on the recent endeavors of non-profit research group. less esoteric. his group set out to see what it meant to experience Philadelphia for one twenty-four hour period. The set of events – the actions and reactions which conspired in the creation 111 . The Next American City—a group whose interests lie in the realm of psycho. no set agenda and a jovial spirit. empirical existence. a professor of political science at neighboring Drexel University. urban semiotics or post-modern meaning and more an analysis of non-linear. Mr. The experiment was less a lesson in good urbanism. In his short presentation. Equipped with a video camera. Next American City Scott Knowles.

Interspersed within this system of artificial islands would be stations for desalination for potable water generation. leads a design and research practice interested in the multiple scales of urban socio-politics. participatory container assisting in the propagation of these event themselves. Phu Hoang. these individual events fused to create a whole new event altogether. Phu Hoang Office LLC (New York) Another presentation which offered a fresh and decidedly critical approach to “Feedback” concluded the event. he claims. Phu Hoang. His proposal. takes the resorts which line the shores of the Dead Sea (and which have possibly contributed to its recession) and relocates them to a series of artificial islands within the Sea itself. In his presentation on the project No Man’s Land. timecontingent entities. Further. A quick glance at his oeuvre reveals an interest in the dissolving of physical boundaries. As the Dead Sea continues to shrink.of the overall experience – was not one of reducible. economically. their treatment of the city less as an object representing cultural modulations and more as an active. ecological refuge and 112 . he addressed the dually ecological and political role that water takes in the Dead Sea region of the Middle East. New Yorkbased architect and design critic at the University of Pennsylvania. thus. the ecological. material alternative to the algorithmic-based architectures of recent years. economical and political nature of the ever-volatile region has begun to shift. proved a fresh. architecturally. Instead. linear. politically.

Spartanburg (South Carolina) and Toronto.” each “island” interacting and affecting its neighbor in innovative architectural and political ways. in a world where ecological concerns are becoming increasingly intertwined with the political. provisional and sustainable. the lecture hall at the ICA was inundated with a series of innovative and novel proposals implicitly dealing with many of the issues which permeate contemporary architectural discourse. please see http://www. Furthermore. 113 . Through the dissemination of theoretical positions in a forum for honest. it is becoming increasingly imperative to introduce meaningful ideas of sustainability—and its impacts on the critical agenda—to the discourse. Such a system is organized “externally. talk20. Barcelona. new cultural realities can become possible.future development. Philadelphia. Mexico City. the event allowed for an event both casual and intellectual. During the whole of the event. dynamic and laid-back.org. What he appears to suggest in this proposal is that through transposing current social and political entities (entities being materially converted to phylum-organized “islands” in this project). For more information. Talk20 currently exists in seven cities across the globe: Boston. Chicago. unpretentious dialog.

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both at FOA and across the discipline. Zaera-Polo noted that architectural projects are becoming increasingly driven by envelopes and volumes rather than flows of intensive properties engaging transformations of surface driven geometries. Zaera-Polo argued that architects are asked by 115 . Zaera-Polo brought into question the role of “the surface” and the significance of the building envelope. walls etc. The lecture brought forth the notion of “envelope” as a counter-critique of common themes that Alejandro Zaera-Polo has identified in the past five years. as differential and continuous. Contemporary discourse has regarded architectural surfaces such as floors. Connectivity of surfaces and various topological transformations such as stretching and folding have dominated an architectural language oriented towards mediating intensive differences between social and material flows. In his lecture. spherical and vertical.FOA Alejandro Zaera-Polo reviewed by Francis Bitonti Alejandro Zaera-Polo (of Foreign Office Architects) began his lecture by presenting a taxonomy of envelope types: flat.

Zaera-Polo pointed out that the envelope of a building is inherently political. described above. The envelope defines the legal limits of property and negotiates the division between public and private. He criticized previous generations of architects for being overly pragmatic. and therefore imposed an alternate understanding of materials and geometric transformation which hybridizes extensive and intensive thinking.” can be understood through an emphasis towards the building envelope. 116 .” has been absent from architecture in recent years. Zaera-Polo chooses to emphasize volumes above the nonEuclidian geometries which have recently dominated architectural discourse.developers to define architecture in terms of dimension with particular preference to volume rather than topological models which are more concerned with connectivity. In support of his argument. This brings architecture into an intellectual arena where extensive rather than intensive thinking assumes paramount importance. a “politics of things. and a poignant point of departure for a discussion about the relationship between politics and architecture. accounts for the differentiation of the three envelope types. more specifically a “politics of things. As Zaera-Polo describes it. In his lecture Zaera-Polo defined envelopes as mediators of intensive properties rather than surfaces. In doing so. The definition of geometry. While as far as topology is concerned each of these three envelope types (flat. Zaera-Polo stated that a way of thinking about politics.

by standards of Euclidian geometry they define three unique entities. The emphasis on Euclidian and metric differences allows our understanding of material organizations to be more closely linked to economy. As a result the architectural volume is free to assume a highly politicized role while intensive differences are regarded in relation to an understanding of topology that operates as an organizing rather than geometric principle. and vertical) are identical cells. 117 .spherical. This perspective allows architectural typology rather than topology and nuanced negotiations between architectural form and fluctuating cultural and economic conditions to be reflected through a contemporary discourse that politicizes geometric and intensive difference.

it should be noted that projects from FOA. despite being topologically driven for many years (for example the Yokohama Port Terminal and Virtual House). thus creating differentiation from a single entity operating autonomously. show a tendency to understand architectural differentiation though formal typology. In ZaeraPolo’s text. meaning genesis of type. Rather than discussing architectural projects in terms of static typologies. architecture has its own in- 118 . the text instead looks to the patterns through which a type emerges. in short. Phylogenesis. This argument is somewhat analogous to the notion of the “epigenome” in contemporary genetics. This is the realization of type through intensive differences. The notion of an epigenome reflects the idea that certain genes can be activated and deactivated as a result of conditions in the physical environment. However. discusses in great detail the emergence and mutations of architectural form. architectural speciation or rather “Phylogenesis” becomes the product of a particular architectural genome operating in opposition to various local factors such as socio-economic and programmatic demands. The introduction to the text describes the challenge of maintaining the identity of a single architectural practice while at the same time taking advantage of the potential mutations of architectural form that occur when the architect is asked to work within a variety of geographic locations.This may seem to be a surprising argument from Alejandro Zaera-Polo.

telligence and does not necessarily need to borrow geometric models for expression but only for criticism. For Sloterdijk. Zaera-Polo discussed the building envelope in relation to the large urban context. Self-Container” that discusses the emergence and significance of the apartment building in the 20th century. Intensive differences create traces upon architecture only in so much as they inform the evolution of a species with its own requirements for geometric organization. rather than as a single self referential entity part of a larger architectural composition. Flat envelopes are horizontal 119 . the envelope becomes a mechanism through which inhabitants mediate their relationship between themselves and the collective or “foam” as it is described in the essay. This justifies structuring the discussion around Euclidian transformations which are more appropriate for discerning differences of type with regard to architecture. In the case of the apartment building. Egospheres. Zaera-Polo then discussed the three envelope types. Sloterdijk lays a philosophical framework for thinking about architecture in terms of envelopes. While Sloterdijk focuses on the discrete living unit. The philosophy of Bruno Latour and Peter Sloterdijk were cited in the lecture as being an appropriate point of reference for this discussion. Sloterdijk recently published an essay in Log titled “Cell Block. Sloterdijk describes the living unit as a discrete and self referential entity while at the same time part of a large aggregation.

The surfaces of these volumes become a negotiation between expressing program and structure. These volumes have a tendency to become extremely dense. The argument for envelopebased design that Zaera-Polo presented offers a design logic that engages the larger composition of the city through the inward looking model of building construction— the processes and organizations that are unique to architecture. they are neither horizontal nor vertical. Spherical ones are as equally tall as they are wide. so it becomes important for the designer to always balance their volume with their surface area.and serve to redefine the ground plane. Vertical volumes have an even stronger relationship to their skin. 120 .

he catches the ankles of his subjects as the camera looks up at them against a black night sky.Shrinkwrapping Vague Things Neil Denari reviewed by Molly Wright Steenson Neil Denari knows how to interact with his audience. how to gauge the room. hands. Ankles. 2007 lecture at Princeton featured his scalar acrobatics and cultural ergonomics: the process of organizing into place a shrinkwrapping of vague things. one who practices design at every scale. Denari’s November 7. codes. how to explain his projects. he is a deft architect with a broad portfolio of built projects. eyes. They are illuminated by small signs and doorways on a side street. his lens catching young adults in Shibuya on a sultry August night. The images operate on a Lilliputian level. Above all. and by Shibuya’s grandest interface: the Qfront with its famous living billboard (the one 121 . He can argue about the lineup of 80’s bands that you probably don’t know. software Denari frames arguments with photographs. how to wield an image. From the street-grade vantage.

micro-to-mini-to-macro. especially his interior renovations. systems and interfaces (usually electronic) with which people engage. Could we see his projects. to the billboard. to name a few. It is the relationship of the hand. to the street. a photocopier backs against a sea of blue cubicles opposite a religious shrine. to the door. Doing this effectively requires an understanding of several levels of interiority: human behavior. Denari’s moves reflect the approach of interaction design. with the walking elephant).you remember from Lost in Translation. to the sign. and the billboard. the eye. as a new type of software that brings many interactions into focus? Pristine. The photographs capture moments at different scales. and site limitation. and yet the devices stand in juxtaposition with the spaces they inhabit: a boy holds a game controller in a crowded arcade. This isn’t a surprise. that Denari brilliantly catches. MUFG Nagoya (a private client center for one of the world’s largest banks) uses separations of scant millimeters on 122 . system function. a triangular interaction. in effect Denari twice mentions Antonioni’s Blow-Up during his lecture. These instances shift from the body. This discipline creates the products. It developed in the early 1980’s out of the desire for the interior behavior of a computer to meet the molded exterior of its hardware. given the ways his zooming in and zooming out reveals what is not available upon first glance. They catch people’s interactions with devices.

Denari occupies a different dimension altogether. Here. tangerine custom furniture for the lobby. But zooming out to the High Line 23. nearly boring. it is a matter of hacking building code. For the projects he showed. In reality. vacuum-formed and glossy. the Smithsons achieved this surface effect through layers of plaster on plywood: the result of detailed crafting and not of space-age manufacture. But here. Each facet of the “leftover” site the 13story residential tower will occupy is won through negotiation. Handworked stucco achieves the 123 . white. “Zoning x Desire = What it takes to build in Manhattan. a residential building in New York. the elements meld together smoothly. zygotic shapes forming into circles and then lighting for the entrance. The building is the manifestation of these interstices. the typical plan and program are straightforward. it is the ceiling plan that shows the ulterior motive for circulation of the body and the eye. in effect. Or do they? With the 1956 House of the Future. planar pathways of the ceiling. Peter and Alison Smithson created a plastic house with undulating.panels and joints on its 28-meter black stainless steel façade. He then notes the moment where the wooden surface bends to meet the white. It is always the building section that shows the potential and kinetic energy. As Denari zeroes in on the ceiling detail of the MUFG Ginza banking branch. appearance and construction differ. In construction.” quips the DMNA website. he first shows the underlying metal framing. pristine surfaces—at least.

commands an understanding of motion beneath the surface. Denari plies these things on all levels in his conversations as well as his buildings. It is eye. hand and billboard. Shrinkwrapping vague things. bringing things into alignment. Denari wins with cleverness. for knowing the right design tool for the job. It is similar to the prototyping tools industrial and automotive designers use as they model the form factor: they sculpt it from clay. not technology. then. Through all its scales of operation.effect.) 124 . The hand completes the curve and the eye is none the wiser. (Thanks to Shawn Protz and Enrique Ramirez for their insights. the laws and politics governing the site as much as it is 80’s avant-garde rock and a contrail connecting LA to Tokyo. the structures the film clings to. it doesn’t matter whether the year is 1956 or 2007. When technology can’t offer pristine effects. it is the dance of interaction that sculpts his immaculate surfaces of covert construction.

was the 2007 Cullinan Visiting Professor of Architecture at Rice University. “Mass Mysteria.Mass Mysteria David Erdman reviewed by Izabel Gass David Erdman. He presented his design work to the Rice community in a school-wide lecture titled. formerly a member of the design collaborative SERVO and now a founding partner of the firm DavidClovers.” Erdman opened his lecture by announcing his own professional transition out of SERVO and into practice 125 .

with wife Clover Lee. who distinguishes between puzzles — quantitative problems. or at least explored. The title of Erdman’s lecture alludes to a definition of “mystery” derived from pop-Economist Malcolm Gladwell. Erdman sees his work as cultivating “mystery” inasmuch as it develops a visual and spatial complexity that demands to be resolved. While this initial introduction expressed a flippant regurgitation of stereotypical gender roles geared at marketing the “cuteness” of a husband-wife design team. including statements such as “He Likes Mystery. respectively: He Likes.” A translucent video 126 . Erdman’s following description of his work left little to be desired and in fact suggested a timely and provocative rupture in the contemporary museum as well as the domicile.” Erdman then showed a slide in which two columns of text read. was designed with the ambition “that the artwork could cross contaminate itself.” and so on. explaining that their design partnership was founded “more on our differences than our similarities.” an installation for a video art show at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. She Likes Mass. by an engaged viewer. The SERVO exhibit “Dark Places. Erdman’s field of work backs up this claim brilliantly. or questions with a single or definitive answer — and mysteries — questions that can be resolved analytically in a number of different ways. rather than reverting to the immediately recognizable iconicity — or “branding strategies”— common to the visual language of much contemporary architecture. She Likes.

“as much as we were working with different elements [in designing the projector] what became important was the commingling of strands. As Erdman explained. inasmuch as the ever changing juxtapositions of the films redefined their immediate contextualization and. the plasticity of the architecture lent itself to a similar plasticity in the presentation of the digital work. consequently. The project emulates the 127 . their meaning.” meaning. Dark Places effectively develops an architectural morphology for a hypertextual system of classification: the exhibit becomes a liquid archive in which discrete cultural artifacts are continuously redefined by means of their everchanging contexts and arrangements.projector armed with eight separate screens showcased the works of several different artists in ever-variable rotation.

but does so without recourse to Phenomenology.’ in lieu of the mysteries of spatial geometries. Erdman has recently won a competition for a housing complex in the Greater Beijing Arts District. In partnership with Lee. The spatially “mysterious” domicile created seems almost a contemporary iteration of the unheimlich. its capacity to engage the inhabitant/viewer on a level of cognitive participation more complex and provocative than the simplistic image recognition. in which discrete housing units are derived from formal distortions of the geometric “box. is its perceptual difficulty—which is to say. calling to mind Anthony Vidler’s uncanny house.” allowing for a play of luminosity and a liquid interior space. but forgoing the ‘mystery’ of a supernatural ‘Other. immersing the viewer in a fresh and complex perceptual field in which she must continually redefine her interpretation of the visual material at hand in terms of its ever fluctuating surroundings. 128 . Erdman’s work maintains space and form as its own distinctive mode of knowledge to be unraveled by a perceiving subject. on the whole. that dominate contemporary visual culture. or marketoriented branding strategies.distinctive construction of frames of knowledge in the digital era. Perhaps the most enticing quality in Erdman’s work.

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