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body imagination architecture

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2000.02.03 15:08
austerity = extreme assimilation?
In Hugh Pearman's piece on the New Art Gallery in Walsall, he begins with:
"If you could distill the essence of pure modern architecture, and remove all traces of the usual compromises and cut corners and clumsy details and flash populist moves, then you would get a strange, unsettling, austere, but rather beautiful building."
This sentence well describes what I mean by an architecture of extreme assimilation. Assimilation in physiological terms means the absorption of nutrients, and this corporal operation occurs primarily within the intestines. The final stage of assimilation is then in the large intestines where all moisture is absorbed, and them comes the purge.
Modernist Purism and now the New Austerity seem to work toward manifesting an architecture where all the essentials have been absorbed to the extreme, i.e., to the purge of anything extraneous.
Hugh (in his last post) also mentions possible forthcoming architectural 'revivals'. Could not the New Austerity be a Purism revival? (Seeing the interior shot of the Walsall gallery also reminded me of the interior court of Kahn's Mellon Art Gallery, New Haven. I see that building, as well as many other Kahn buildings, as 'embodiments' of a 'new' austerity, of an assimilating purge.)
Perhaps one of the drawbacks of the 'being-there-right-as-it-happens-history' of today's culture is that the sense of continuum is no longer as evident as it was in former times. With everything "new(s)' being automatically understood as 'of this very moment', the sight of 'events' being part of a much larger continuum is easily lost. I have a feeling that a 'style' like Purism(/New Austerity) is going to be part of 'international' architecture (and culture) for a few more centuries. It's already proved itself durable for almost a century, hasn't it?


2000.02.13 09:52
"being the information"
The following is just 'chronosomatic' conjecture on my part: the human/corporal operation of absorption occurs at its most intense within the intestine(s). The duodenum is the largest and uppermost portion of the intestinal track, and thus it is the duodenum that will last appear within The Timepiece of Humanity's 'plane of the present'. The 'presence' of the duodenum is there now, and will end c.2197; chornosomatically, c.2197 is when humanity will have achieved a nexus of 'absorption'. In theory, the biggest 'chunks' to be absorbed are still to come "down the pike." Following the nexus of absorption will come several centuries where humanity will actively manipulate (metabolize) what it has absorbed. "Being the information" may not actually happen until the 'plane of the present' transcends the diaphragm and then begins to engage the heart in conjunction with the lungs--a chronosomatic transcendence (c.3090) from the profane (below the diaphram) to the sacred (above the diaphram).
Our diaphragm plays three roles: aiding defecation (profane), aiding respiration/breathing (sacred), and partruition/giving birth (a new being). Although Eliade never makes the connection himself, his entire explanation of transcendence from the profane to the sacred does nothing more than describe the role(s) of the human body's diaphragm.

2000.02.15
metabolic (modern revolution)
Rick wrote:
And as they would have it, they are taking on the foremost thesis of the Modern Age. It is Revolution, and without it, as everyone knows, there may be nothing we might call, Modernism. All else is up for sale in the modernist grab bag of pseudo principles, but not Revolution. And so dedicated to it is the modernist manifesto, that it enters into a suicide pact.
What I'm referring to, of course, is Hegel's wise interpretation of the primary character of Modernism: Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis. For it is by the credo of the antithesis that Modernism attacks the status quo, knowing full well that success will spell out its own demise. For success means achievement of the synthesis, wherein the antithesis must necessarily be destroyed. Its the old saying, The first thing the revolution does is try to protect itself from the next revolution (meaning the next event of synthesis). By its own success, the antithesis becomes the status quo, etc. etc.
Steve replies and then asks:
The notion of "thesis + antithesis = synthesis" reenacts almost exactly the physiological operation of metabolism [i.e., the sum of the processes concerned in the building up of protoplasm and its destruction coincidental to life : the chemical changes in living cells by which energy is provided for the vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated to repair the waste -- see ANABOLISM and CATABOLISM]. Metabolism is a creative /destructive duality, perhaps even the foremost and profoundest duality OF humanity. Anabolism is constructive metabolism, whereas catabolism is destructive metabolism [involving release of energy and resulting in true excretion products although new substances may be formed in metabolic processes that are mainly catabolic].
Because metabolism is of a higher reality than revolution, perhaps the 'Hegalian' notion of revolution and the subsequent interpretation that ultimately synthesis equals an ongoing parade of antithesis destroying a prior antithesis are not precise enough. The real equation seems to be that thesis + antithesis = antithesis + thesis = thesis + antithesis = (continuation of the pattern) -- wave[length]s. In metabolism, anabolism and catabolism work in conjunction as opposed to destroying each other or one destroying the other, and the real key (to understanding) here is that albeit destructive, catabolism 'creates' the energy that further enables the creative/destructive process.
Is revolution nothing more than humanity's reenactment in imagination and deed of one of the human body's basic physiologies?
Is Modernism a revolution, or is Modernism a realization of how humanity's (modern) creations operate?


2000.02.15 16:27
Re: Theory of Theories
The notion of "thesis + antithesis = synthesis" reenacts almost exactly the physiological operation of metabolism [ie, the sum of the processes concerned in the building up of protoplasm and its destruction coincidental to life : the chemical changes in living cells by which energy is provided for the vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated to repair the waste -- see ANABOLISM and CATABOLISM]. Metabolism is a creative/destructive duality, perhaps even the foremost and profoundest duality OF humanity. Anabolism is constructive metabolism, whereas catabolism is destructive metabolism [involving release of energy and resulting in true excretion products although new substances may be formed in metabolic processes that are mainly catabolic].
Because metabolism is of a higher reality than revolution, perhaps the 'Hegalian' notion of revolution and the subsequent interpretation that ultimately synthesis equals an ongoing parade of antithesis destroying a prior antithesis are not precise enough. The real equation seems to be that thesis + antithesis = antithesis + thesis = thesis + antithesis = (continuation of the pattern) -- wave[length]s. In metabolism, anabolism and catabolism work in conjunction as opposed to destroying each other or one destroying the other, and the real key (to understanding) here is that albeit destructive, catabolism 'creates' the energy that further enables the creative/destructive process.
Is revolution nothing more than humanity's reenactment in imagination and deed of one of the human body's basic physiologies?
Is Modernism a revolution, or is Modernism a realization of how humanity's (modern) creations operate?

2000.02.16 06:03
Re: DL:metabolic (modern revolution)
Metabolism is on a higher level than revolution because revolution reenactsmetabolism. A simple case of first things first.
For the record, identifying Hegel's notion of synthesis as a reenactment of metabolism came from Steve's head.
The real point is that Hegel, seemingly without his knowing it, had a very clear understanding of metabolism and how it operates. For the theory of chronosomatics then,Hegel's philosophy (as much as has been touched upon here) is just one morecase example demonstrating the notion that human imagination reenactscorporal physiology and morphology.


2000.02.16
metabolism and revolution
Cain and Abel (like all creation myth twins) were "brothers metabolic".
The Dance of Shiva (no matter how ancient) is a reenactment of metabolism. [Note: Hinduism, particularly Yoga is a reenactment of the bottom to top corporal range of the spine.]
Romulus and Remus (true brothers metabolic that they were) reenacted metabolism.
Hegel's notion of synthesis (no matter how philosophically astute) is a reenactment of metabolism.
Revolution (no matter it be French, American, Red or Velvet) is a reenactment of metabolism.
Furthermore,
Schumpeter's notion that capitalism is "creative destruction" is a reenactment of metabolism,
and
genetic engineering and human cloning may well come to represent humanity's most extreme reenactment of metabolism. The point being that whenever it comes to a creative/destructive duality, the operative/defining word is metabolism or metabolic.
The above is part of the theory of chronosomatics, also know as The Timepiece of Humanity It is a theory I've come to use very much as a tool, and indeed a quite useful tool. Moreover, it is a theory that has an absolute principle in that the morphological and physiological design of the human body is chronosomatics' "intrinsic structure".
Considering that some architectural historians claim the "first Moderns" lived in the mid to late eighteenth century, it might be premature to place Modernism in the past tense. Then again, perhaps Modernism just isn't a useful enough term to describe what's really going on. That's why, when I look around at architecture from today and going back a few centuries, I don't so much see Modernist thinking and designing, but rather a lot of thinking and designing that is assimilating and/or metabolic.


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…

2000.02.18 15:27
Re: [Re:] enactment
Perhaps typology is basically an exercise in the reenactment of architecutral abstractions.
When it come to mythical origins and first ideal forms, it is worthwhile to ask if the mythical origins and the first ideal forms are themselves reenactments. For example, the dance of Shiva reenacts metabolism. Moreover, might not Plato's ideal forms also be reenactments (albeit highly abstracted)? Perhaps Plato's prefect circle 'ideally' reenacts the pupils of our eyes and Plato's perfect triangle 'ideally' reenacts the nose on our face.
Perhaps all abstractions are highly idealized reenactments of reality, rather than reality being a reenactment of highly idealized abstractions.


2000.02.28-29
reenactionary notes
12. metabolic architectures.
13. osmotic architectures.
14. extreme architectures.
15. fertile archtiectures.
16. pregnant architectures.
17. assimilating architectures.
18. electromagnetic architectures.
19. all frequency architectures.
58. Imaginations, Zeitgeists and Architectures.


2000.03.18 11:56
Re: E-M~A ARCHITECTURE
I believe there is one very vital element not exactly missing from but not addressed specifically in a/your theory/practice r-evolution eminating from ELECTROMAGNETIC ARCHITECTURE principles (etc.), and that is the actuality that ELECTROMAGNETIC ARCHITECTURE exists in its most powerful (truest/purest) state when in tandum with 100% OSMOTIC ARCHITECTURE (or architecture of osmosis).


2000.03.19 14:37
Re: E-M~A ARCHITECTURE
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.

2000.03.21
ideas
The intentions of Ludwig II--to make his mark as a memorable European monarch via Gesamptkunstwerk, and in Ludwig’s case it was a Gesamptkunst reenacting a battle against time. Through his buildings, Ludwig becomes most memorable becasue they enter every architectural imagination that perceives them. Ludwig was definitiely a zeitgeist monarch as architectural patron.


2000.04.05 11:55
Re: rammed into an envelope
In bringing up the corporeal morphology 'metaphor', I was just voicing up what I believe is the so far dominant way the inside-inside of architecture is now 'imagined' (if you will). Understanding the 'puzzle', I then see the opportunity to focus of the 'other than' corporeal morphology 'metaphor' which the 'mechanics' of architecture engenders itself. Moreover, it is very easy for me to now imagine such further investigations and 'implementations' as a very real architectural evolution.
Another 'popular' dominant comes to mind as well. The inside space of architecture/buildings seems to be an ever increasing premium in terms of how habitable structures are designed, and this high valuation of the priority of (unencumbered?) space may be another real reason that the "mechanics" are most times given the absolute minimum of space and exposure. Again, I'm only suggesting an answer to the puzzle, and not denouncing 'mechanics' as having a truly viable role in the architecture of our time.


2000.04.06 12:22
ironically, I never mentioned skin
After I wrote:
"Is not the 'architecture' of the human body an envelope rammed full of 'attributes' that DO NOT show their 'implementation' on the outside? For example, breasts with nipples hardly reflect either the lungs or the pumping heart inside, likewise the one-piece torso offers little 'superficial' indication of two cavities inside. And further, isn't the sublime singularity of the navel very much like the exact opposite of the twisting, turning, asymmetrical intestines just inside? [And just think how literally close the activities within barber shops and beauty parlors come to the activities inside the brain, yet who would dare say that these two activities share the same "function"?]"
John Young and Van Varga both replied with immediate references to corporal skin. This epidermal connection is appropriate because our skin is indeed our corporal envelope, however, I wish to stress that the examples I used (breasts, nipples, torso, navel, head of hair) where not about skin, but rather corporal design features specific to the body's surface -- yes skin is involved as the predominant material application of these features, but skin is not what predominates the design; our skin is what adapts to the design.
Van also mentioned the sense of touch integral to skin, and this undeniable connection has truly provocative architectural design implications, i.e., envelopes that feel and or respond to contact (or, as inspired by John Young, building surfaces that (visually) indicate how they are "feeling"). About five years ago, while I was heavily doing research regarding (the theory of) chronosomatics, I came to the conclusion that touch is the first sense to have come into being, and that touch/contact was/is indeed the medium by which "life" itself began. Not only did touch exist before tasting, smelling, hearing or seeing, but, most of all, it was the contact of two otherwise lifeless entities that 'spawned' animate life. Moreover, it can well be argued that tasting, smelling, hearing, and seeing are really only very specialized touch/contact senses. Note also that the sense of touch is not just an attribute of the body's external skin, but a sense indigenous to all parts of the body inside and out.
So what were these two lifeless entities that spawned life through contact with each other? Of course, my answer is that I reasonably assume the true answer may at this late point never re-appear, and that even a reenactment would fall far, far short of the original event. Nonetheless, I believe there is a very significant clue as to the 'scenario' of that first contact right on our own bodies, specifically at the body's extreme external tips, i.e., the tips of our toes and the tips our fingers. It is there that last vestiges of humanity's physical hard external shell still exists, namely our nails, and right underneath our nails are those cross-sections of our body's that are largely just skin. I theoretically propose that this soft entity under a hard entity represents the same conditions that first spawned life. Essentially, it was something soft and vulnerable that found "security and protection" under something hard and more permanent. Animate life began when the contact between the soft and the hard actually became a bond, and thus too the sense of touch came into being.
Now skipping millions of years on the evolutionary scale, I see this soft/hard duality as the beginning of two sexes as well. Contrary to common perceptions, it is the female that is hard and the male that is soft. In simple undeniable terms it is woman that enables embryonic development within her own body -- woman's bodies themselves are hard protective shells (only women corporeally possess and facilitates the human egg that in turn allows fetal development). Men, on the other hand, very much do not have that "built-in" protectiveness, hence men make great displays about forever being on the defensive, and indeed it is almost exclusively men that have continually created our planet's foremost industry, if only to create that protective shell that their sex was not born with -- the age old military apparatus (shields, armor, war ships, submarines, tanks, stealth bomber, etc. are all "man"-made protective shells).
So what then is architecture? Is it a hard, 'simple', 'natural' protective shell that engenders the continuation of life? Or is it a soft formlessness forever (re-)designing an applied shell it doesn't naturally have?

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