working title museum

ballon and prick: modern reading as virtual architecture

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1998.10.15 10:48
Re: Virtual Studios - 99% of architecture is virtual anyway
a cautionary note:
cyberspace, virtual place, and the notion of vituality in general are (too) often used interchangably, however, these terms are far from being necessarily interchangable.

1998.12.18 16:53
Re: the e-media state
All this reminds me of Einstein's answer to the question "to what did he himself attributed the great workings of his mind?" Einstein basically answered that he never stopped thinking like a child, meaning he never discounted self-evidence and he never took anything for granted.

1999.02.24 13:02
Re: irrational architecture
Overriding balance and equilibrium comes after the metabolic (in chronosomatic terms, circa 3090 CE when the lungs with their dominant operation of osmosis are the predominant organ within the plane of the present). As to 20th century architectural design, I think a fair case can be made as to the notion of construction and destruction innately working together, e.g., Pruitt Igoe, modern urbanism's tabula rasa approach, the fall and then rise again of stylistic eclecticism, designed obsolescence, etc.
Human sacrifice is metabolism at its destructive extreme, where as human existence between the stages of sperm and egg, conception and ultimately birth is metabolism at its creative extreme. This may not seem to indicate a direct relation to design/architecture, but it certainly defines both of metabolism's limits. Of course, all the other creative-destructive processes are relatively less intense.
The wonder of the metabolic process is that the combination of construction and destruction is the prime ingredient of life itself. One half does not and cannot eliminate the other. In other words, metabolism is a form of duality at its best.

1999.05.16 17:37
Re: Piranesi
As to Piranesi's prison morphing into the root of your building, the similarity I do find is that both your display and Piranesi's etching "torture" perception. I mean this as both a positive and a negative criticism.

1999.06.13 10:56
space [architecture]
It seems apparent that [architectural] poetry wellsprings in space [architecture].

1999.07.23 09:32
German doors?
Your parenthetical reference to osmotic has not escaped me. Indeed it surprised me, especially since you point out a very interesting example of that inside/outside, permeable space that manifests the osmotic in architecture. I know that I from time to time have posted (vague?) ideas about the osmotic (metabolic, etc.) in architecture, but I didn't think any of it was much considered by others. Seeking out the osmotic in architecture is a rewarding experience. So far, the best gauge I can come up with is to see the Pantheon in Rome and Kahn's Kimbell Art Gallery and Schinkel's stair hall (German doors?) of the Altes Museum as osmotic at the high end, and an open bus stop at the low end. There's lots of in-between stuff out there, and, of course, it would be great if architects began to consciously create osmotic spaces.

1999.09.27 17:25
Class: I guess now-a-days and all-around, class is largely measured by what one buys.

1999.12.29 18:08
I have the Gehry book you mention, and yes it is a nice book. You forgot to mention how heavy it is, especially if you're like me and like to read in bed. As it happens, just a few hours ago I looked through the latest book on Gehry in the stores. It's called something like Gehry Talks. It too is a nice book; I didn't buy it, even though it seems full of good explanatory text regarding Gehry's process, as well as including projects even newer than in The Complete Works.
And speaking of great complete works, in 1977 I wisely invested in Le Corbusier's 8 volume Complete Works. I know this is a set of architecture books that most architects don't own for themselves, but believe me when I say that having the opportunity of looking through those books at any time is one of the best architectural educations out there. Those books not only write the architecture of the 20th century, but they also hold architectural ideas that will materialize in the 21st century.

2000.01.26 16:34
the body in architecture
Brian wrote:
I've missed the whole 'body' debate, not really having an understanding of its relation to architecture. Maybe someone on list can share what they know.
Steve replies:
Brian, you might find a series of essays in Anthony Vidler's The Architectural Uncanny (1992) of some interest -- there's a section on bodies. These essays provide a somewhat broad overview of the latest (trendy -- for the late 80s late 90s anyway) architecture cum body thinking. As you know, I have my own theory about the body -- chronosomatics -- and I also have an extended idea of how then the body chronosomatically effects architecture, for example, the way I interpreted your AE thesis vis-a-vis the lowest tips of the rib cage and the heart.
Regarding body 'modification', I personally think the Bellonarii, the priests and priestesses of Bellona, the goddess of war, who were accustomed, in their mystic festivals, especially on the 20th of March (hence dies sanguinis, day of blood), to gash their arms and shoulders with knives, and thus to offer their blood, are still more meaningful as to the use of their bodies than any of the stuff going on and hyped today. Of course, I'm a bit predisposed in this regard since the 20th of March is my birthday (1956), and the day my brother Otto was lobotomized (1980), and the day a working mother was car-jacked and abduced to be then raped and murdered in Tacony Creek Park (1997) just a few blocks from where I live.
Since I'm lately interested in reenactment, I have on occassion considered reenacting the Bellonarii on 20 March 2000. If I were to 'gash' my arms and shoulders, it would be with an exacto knife; I feel I'd have to cut enough to draw blood, but I wouldn't go as far as to 'gash' myself. The other alternative would be to get four tatoos, single dark red lines one on each of my shoulders and on the sides of each of my biceps. I suppose my point is that if I were to 'modify' my body, I'd only do it if the modification held meaning.
Perhaps the architecture that is best in conjunction with body modifiers today would be called "gratuitous architecture" or "uncalled for architecture".

2000.02.16 22:27
Re: Theory dynamics; what theories?
Saul writes:
Stephen Lauf proposed a different sort of dynamic as governing architectural theories, based on metabolism (!) I don't see how that view could be anything other than metaphorical, but it is intriguing if only because it raises one sort of alternative view (and thus introduces the notion that there could well be various competing accounts of architectural theory dynamics--hence one important task is to first grasp what those candidates are).
Steve replies:
I am not proposing "a different sort of dynamic as governing architectural theories, based on metabolism." Rather I am working out a theory (chronosomatics) whereby human imagination reenacts corporal physiology and/or morphology. The metabolic imagination is just one of the human imaginations; the others include the extreme imagination, the fertile imagination, the pregnant imagination, the assimilating imagination, the osmotic imagination, the high-frequencies imagination. I then further theorize that these various operative modes of imagination in turn are reenacted in architecture.
For example, I see the Pantheon and Kahn's Kimball Art Museum as both prime example of an architecture that reenacts the osmotic imagination, which is an imagination that reenacts the physiological process of osmosis, which is the equalizing diffusion of concentrations either side of a semipermeable membrane. Both the Pantheon and Kimball are semipermeable (each in its own way) and both buildings work towards 'equalizing' the outside and the inside (again each in its own way). Furthermore, osmotic architecture seems to often capture a 'sacred' quality.
There are many other examples that I have thus far made note of…

2000.03.19 14:37
The most important aspect (for me) about osmosis is "equalize the concentrations on either side of the membrane." This speaks directly, if you will, to inside and outside and the melding/meshing of the two [or more]. Osmotic architecture starts from there.
Metabolism, osmosis, assimilation, electro-magnetism are each distinct physiological functions. do not confuse one with another.
The liver is the most metabolic organ within our body.
The kidneys are the second most osmotic organ within our body. The lungs are the foremost osmotic organ within our body. I go so far as to label the kidney osmosis as profane, and the lung osmosis as sacred.
Yhe heart is the foremost electromagnetic organ within our body. The definition of the heart and the definition of an electromagnet (in Webster's Third New-International Dictionary) virtually describe the same thing.
Corporally (biologically), our electricity comes from salt (an electrified atom in our blood stream), and the iron in our blood (iron spontaneously magnetizes) supplies our magnetism. The S-A node of the heart concentrates the salt/electricity within the blood and this concentration then creates the electric 'spark' that intensifies the magnetism within the blood's iron, and thus the heart beats/pumps. The human heart is probably this highest order of 'machine' on this planet because what it pumps is what makes it pump--the utmost in efficiency and sustainability.
Is electromagnetic architecture then that which continually strives toward becoming an architecture where what it facilitates is also what makes it a facilitator?
Is electromagnetic architecture that architecture which strives toward being the most efficient and sustainable?
But there is an otherwise notion as well:
Electromagnetic radiation is the definition of light. [light, as far as science can presently tell, is an electromagnetic duality.] electromagnetic architecture in its purest sense is [also] an architecture of light.
I asked brian about the relationship between electromagnetic architecture and osmotic architecture because our heart is surrounded by the lungs -- electomagnetism surrounded by sacred osmosis -- the extreme[s] surrounded by the means.
Important point of clarification:
I do not see the body as a metaphor for architecture, rather i see the pysiological operations of our body -- metabolism, assimilation, fertility, osmosis, electromagnetism, etc. -- as also being the imaginative operations of our mind.
I do not believe in a seperation between the body and the mind. for me, such a differentiation is the real case of overarching (or is it over-reaching?). as our assimilating sciences increasingly tell us, we are what our DNA/body makes us. i simply see the way that DNA informs our body how to assimilate, metabolize, osmosify, electromagnify, etc, as being the same way our DNA informs our mind to assimilate, metabolize, osmosify, electromagnify, etc.
Architecture then can well be seen as a product of our respective assimilating, metabolizing, osmosifying, electro-magnetizing (etc.) imaginations.
I see very little need for humanity to look beyond itself in order to explain itself and how it operates.



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