Assimilation, Metabolism and a Combination of the Two
The architecture of the Renaissance as a manifestation of pure assimilation.
The architectural texts of the Renaissance as another manifestation of pure assimilation, including the “new” Vitruvian Man.
Michelangelo as the first metabolic architect.
Baroque architecture as an architecture where assimilation begins to combine with metabolism.
The architecture of the Enlightenment as an architecture where metabolism takes on a greater role than assimilation.
The Metabolization of History I -- Learning from Piranesi’s Campo Marzio
An analysis of the Campo Marzio as it relates to both the ancient past and to Piranesi’s own time.
Special analysis of the Area Martis, the Bustum Hadriani and the triumphal route, as a specific investigation of Piranesi’s reconstruction/design process.
An analysis of the many building types that make up the Campo Marzio; this will bring up the issue of a new approach towards urbanism.
Contiguous elements as generative elements; this will also raise issues concerning Piranesi’s design methodology.
The Metabolization of History II -- the Architecture of K. F. Schinkel
An analysis of the design alternatives for the Neue Wache.
A reiteration of A. Vidler’s analysis of the Altes Museum.
The Greek versus the Roman ideal.
The Bauacademie, although I’m not sure whether an analysis and reconstruction of this building will contribute to the notion of metabolizing history.
A possible analysis of the three “higher” architecture projects: the Crimean palace, the palace on the Arcopolis, and the Residence for a Prince; these analyses will be related to the gigantism of the Campo Marzio, as well as representing a further manifestation of the idea of building type (which at this point is coming very close to eclecticism).
…look at those very old Schinkel notes from the 1980s.
Towards a Metabolic Architecture
A comparative analysis between the Villa Savoye and the Palais des Congrès à Strasbourg; this continues the issue of “style” and specifically how Le Corbusier provides the key as to how to evolve as an architectural designer; a full analysis of the Palais design.
James Stirling’s continuation of the promenade architecturale theme and his contributions towards a metabolic architecture; a full analysis of the Cologne Museum design.
A comparative analysis between Schinkel’s Altes Museum and Stirling’s Düsseldorf Museum, plus a critique of Benevolo and Vidler; a full analysis of the Düsseldorf Museum design.
Louis I. Kahn and his contribution towards metabolic architecture[?]--destruction of the square; an analysis of the Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de Ricci.
the issue of metabolism as a mode of our imagination is something very new …
Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents and its relation to metabolism.
…kideys do in fact involve a metabolic process in the creation of urine. The following is from Encyclopedia Britannica, under Urinary System, vol. 22, p. 797b:
“Whereas the energy for the process of filtration is supplied by the heart, the energy for tubular reabsorption must be made available locally by the metabolism of the tubule cells; this reabsorption energy is transmitted through what are probably fairly complicated enzyme systems, each system being more or less specific for each reabsorption process.”
…the kidneys [as] the first appearance of metabolism…
The other issue concerning the kidneys at this time is its fairly high use of osmosis. Although I still contend that the lungs are the primary organ of osmosis, it might be safe to say that the kidneys are the body’s second organ of osmosis. …both the kidneys and the lungs are ‘symmetrical’ organs… …[does] the presence of osmosis in the kidneys has any significant bearing on the current operational mode of the human imagination.
…the symmetry came about through the workings of osmosis, i.e., equilibrium.
..metabolism as an operational mode of the imagination. …part of our imagination is simultaneously destructive and creative, and calling this process metabolic. Assimilation already has a meaning beyond its physiological function, but metabolism does not.
excretion : the process of eliminating useless, superflouous, or harmful matter (as the waste products of metabolism) from the body of an organism or from its protoplasm, usu. through the action of special cells or tissues - compare SECRETION
The Mirror and the Lamp
From M. H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953):
p.22 “...poetry is defined in terms of the imaginative process which modifies and synthesizes the images, thoughts, and feelings of the past. This way of thinking [means] the artist himself becomes the major elements generating both the artistic product and the criteria by which it is to be judged[.]”
p.161-62 “Yet Stewart’s analysis of the poetic imagination follows the eighteenth-century pattern : its creative power consists only in the fact that it is able ‘to make a selection of qualities and of circumstances, from a variety of different objects and by combining and disposing these to form a new creation of its own.19” 19. Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind (London, 1792), pp.475-9
p.162 “But in eighteenth-century usage, when the details get filled in, we recognize the standard imaginative process, consisting of the division and recombination of discretes to form a whole which may be novel in its order, but never in its parts. The word ‘create,’ as John Ogilvie warned, must not be interpreted ‘as relating to discoveries purely original, of which the senses receive no patterns.’ The ideas of sense and of reflection--
They are indeed by what we term a plastic imagination associated, compounded, and diversified at pleasure...But in the whole of the process, the originality obviously results from the manner in which objects are selected and put together, so as to form upon the whole an unusual combination. 21 21. Philosophical and Critical Observations on...Composition, 2 vols. (London, 1774), I, 101-1 Cf. William Duff, Essays on Original Genius, pp. 6-7: The imagination is the faculty which ‘by its plastic power of inventing new associations of ideas, and of combining them with infinite variety, is enabled to present a creation of its own: See also Owen Ruffhead, Life of Pope (London, 1769), p. 448; Burke, On the Sublime and Beautiful, in Works, I, 58.
p.119. “All genuine creation--everything that is not a mimicking of given models, or a mere reassembly of given elements into a whole which is novel in its pattern but not in its parts--derives from the generative tension of opposite forces, which are synthesized, without exclusion, in a new whole. The imagination, in creating poetry, therefore echoes the creative principle underlaying the universe.
p.168. from Coleridge, Biographica Litertura (13th chapter): “[T]he secondary imagination desolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to recreate[.]”
p.169. “The imagination, on the contrary, ‘recreates’ its elements by a process to which Coleridge sometimes applies terms borrowed from those physical and chemical unions most remote, in their intimacy, from the conjunction of inpenetrable discretes in what he called the ‘brick and mortar’ thinking of the mechanical philosophy. Thus, imagination is a ‘synthesis,’ a ‘permeative,’ and a ‘blending, fusing power.’ At other times, Coleridge describes the imagination as an ‘assimilative power,’ and the ‘coadunating faculty;’ these adjectives are imported from contemporary biology, where ‘assimilate’ connoted the process by which an organism converts food into its own substance, and ‘coadunate’ signified ‘to grow together into one.’ Often Coleridge’s discussions of imagination are explicitly in terms of a living, growing thing. The imagination is, for example, ‘essentially vital,’ it ‘generates and produces a form of its own,’ and its rules are ‘the very powers of growth and production.’”
p.175 “That function of synthesizing opposites into a higher third, in which the component parts are alter et idem, Coleridge attributes, in the aesthetic province, to the imagination--‘that synthetic and magical power.’ as he describes it in the Biographica Literatura which ‘reveals’ itself in the balance or reconciliation with the organic function of assimilating nutrient declares itself, when Coleridge goes on at once to cite Sir John Davies’ description of the soul, which ‘may with slight alteration be applied, and even more appropriated, to the poetic IMAGINATION’:
Doubtless this could not be, but that she turns
Bodies to spirit by sublimation strange,
As fire converts to fire the thing it burns,
As we our food into our nature change.
All these quotes point to a metabolic imagination without ever mentioning metabolism. …Coleridge had already thought of the notion of an ‘assimilating’ imagination. …the whole quote to shows that Coleridge was really trying to say the imagination worked in a metabolic way.
…concerning the metabolic imagination, and it has to do with political revolution. From the American Revolution onward, i.e., the French, Russian Communist, and Chinese Communist, all the major political revolutions have been metabolic, meaning the forces behind the revolutions had to first destroy in order to create. The American Revolution destroyed the tyranny of British Colonialism and in turn created a new government based on liberty and taxation with representation. The French Revolution destroyed the French absolute monarchy and in turn created a modern republic of the people. The Russian Communist Revolution had to destroy the Russian Tsarist Imperial Court and the vast gap between the rich and the poor and in turn establish a new government based on the rule of the common worker. The Chinese Revoluton was also a communist revolution but it was also a revolution that successfully destroyed centuries of Chinese culture and in turn created a very new Chinese culture.
…Germany and Japan also went through metabolic changes, althought not because of political revolution, but rather because of the devastation (destruction) of war. Their change was consumately metabolic in that enormous creation occurred after emormous destruction.
…the notion of American culture and assimilation... …metabolic political change combined with a global assimilation process (of American) culture… assimilation and metabolism coexist, however, the process of assimilation is on its way out and metabolic change will become the ongoing and dominant force behind political change.
…the psychological metabolism of Freud…
Joseph Schumpeter’s famous phrase which described capitalism as “creative destruction.” Capitalism is part of the metabolic imagination.
1. political revolutions and their metabolic workings
2. capitalism as metabolic manifestation--Schumpeter
3. Germany, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam as metabolic regeneration of nations
4. Freud: the metabolic within the subconscious
Megatrends in Asia
…the Timepiece has spawned a dense amount of intellectual (esp. architectural theory) creativity, as well as provided a firm ground on which to analyze (my own) artistic/creative impulses i.e., metabolic.
The Brothers Metabolic
Einstein, History, and other Passions
From: Gerald Holton, Einstein, History, and other Passions, (Woodbury, AIP Press, 1995)
p.13-14: “Here we suddenly remember that, of course, the very same thing is true for scientists themselves. The most creative ones, almost by definition, do not build their constructs patiently by assembling blocks that have been precast by others and certified as sound. On the contrary, they too melt down the ready-made materials of science and recast them in a way that their contemporaries tend to think is outrageous. That is why Einstein’s own work took so long to be appreciated even by his best fellow physicists, as I noted earlier. His physics looked to them like alchemy, not because they did not understand it at all, but because, in one sense, they understood it all to well. From their themetic perspective, Einstein was anathema. Declaring, by simple postulation rather than by proof, Galilean relativity to be extended from mechanics to optics and all other branches of physics; dismissing the ether, the playground of most nineteenth-century physicists, in a preemptory half-sentence; depriving time intervals of inherent meaning; and other such outrages, all delivered in a casual, confident way in the first, short paper on relativity--those were violent and “illegitimate” distortions of science to almost every physicist. As for Einstein’s new ideas on the quantum physics of light emission, Max Planck felt so embarrassed by it when he had to write Einstein a letter of recommendation seven years later that he asked that this work be overlooked in judging the otherwise promising young man.”
This paragraph describes perfectly the metabolic imagination, and as I copied it here, I realized how I can now also use the creative thinking of Einstein as another example of the metabolic imagination in our time.
Civilization and its Discontents
From: Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, trans. James Strachey (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1989)
p. 104: “Some readers of this work may further have an impression that they have heard the formula of the struggle between Eros and the death instinct too often. It was alledged to characterize the process of civilization which mankind undergos [p. 81] but it was also brought into connection with the development of the individual [p. 76], and, in addition, it was said to have revealed the secret of organic life in general [p. 77f.]. We cannot, I think, avoid going into the relations of these three processes to one another. The repetition of the same formula is justified by the consideration that both the process of human civilization and of the development of the individual are also vital processes--which is to say that they must share in the most general characteristics of life.”
p. 82: “And now, I think, the meaning of the evolution of civilization is no longer obscure to us. It must present the struggle between Eros and Death, between the instinct of life and the instinct of destruction, as it works itself out in the human species. This struggle is what all life essentially consists of, and the evolution of civilization may therefore be simply described as the struggle for life of the human species. And it is this battle of the giants that our nurse-maids try to appease with their lullaby about Heaven.”
p. 77-78: “That is to say, as well as Eros there was an instinct of death. The phenomena of life could be explained from the concurrent or mutally opposing action of these two instincts. It was not easy, however, to demonstrate the activities of this supposed death instinct. The manifestations of Eros were conspicuous and noisy enough. It might be assumed that the death instinct operated silently within the organism towards its dissolution, but that, of course, was no proof. A more fruitful idea was that a portion of the instinct is diverted towards the external world and comes to light as an instinct of aggressiveness and destructiveness. In this way the instinct itself could be pressed into the service of Eros, in that the organism was destroying some other thing, whether animate or inanimate, instead of destroying its own self.”
The first quote says a lot more about the pervasiveness of the metabolic process and also hints at the biological associations inherent in human development. Ultimately these quotes will aid in demonstrating the rise of a metabolic imagination.
Should (or could) the chapter(s) concerning metabolism be metabolic? Should (or could) the chapter(s) dealing with osmosis try to be osmotic?
metabolizing the existing data
Data can be metabolized in a number of ways:
1. rescale plans and models at odd scales and rotations.
2. mix up all types of databases and drawings.
3. zany perspectives.
4. wireframe perspectives.
5. generate perspectives of 2-d data.
6. create new building models by combining just pieces of the models already available.
Piranesi… … an example of the juncture of the assimilating and metabolic imagination.
Body, Imagination, and Architecture
…thinking about how virtual architecture fits into the imagination--perhaps assimilating/metabolis/osmotic.
Body, Imagination, and Architecture
The (early) Modern Movement represents the crest of the purge (assimilation in the extreme) and now that the crest is passed, we are in the midst of a metabolizing of the modern movement in architecture.
Timepiece of Humanity
…the liver is the most metabolic of all organs…
Timepiece of Humanity
…the example of how Coleridge, Freud, and Schumpeter relate to metabolism, as does the architecture of Michelangelo and Piranesi.
Timepiece of Humanity - “My Present”
…Megatrends Asia interview, and how that inspired my thinking of metabolic nations and the real nature of modern revolution, and also the Eisenman interview/symposium on Charlie Rose, and how it relates directly to metabolism.