the operation of the human imagination as a reenactment of corporal physiology and morphology


1997.08.25
Campo Marzio - book outline redux
The story of my own incentive will be combined with the reenactment theories of Collingwood. It makes sense because my initial incentive was to fathom the unfathomable, and this became possible because of CAD, and thus through CAD I began to redraw/reenact Piranesi's process.
Combining Piranesi's "reenactment," his "redrawing" of history with the nature of his archeological "accuracy" makes more sense than having the two sections separate. I will start with Vico's "philosophy" and this blends very well with the previous chapter's ending with Collingwood. And this will lead into the issue of archeological accuracy. I will give a brief account of how Piranesi seems to sometimes deliberately confuse the issue. And from here I can address the plan on a case by case basis. I will conclude with the authenticity vs. veracity issue, and also suggest that perhaps Piranesi altogether entered virgin territory. I like the notion of ending with the idea of a new virgin territory because it leads perfectly to the next section which focuses on "Piranesi's Imagination and the Fertility of Roman Architecture."
I will start the imagination/fertility section stating the case for the multivalance of Piranesi's imagination and how all aspects of his imagination are evident in the Campo Marzio. I will list the operational modes and then correlate them to his entire oeuvre, and then to the Campo Marzio specifically. I would like to follow up with a concise explanation of the "fertility" of Roman architecture. I will follow this up with the Tafuri, Fasolo, and Wilton-Ely quotes. Finally, I will deliver my analysis of the hierarchy of the plans.
Staying with this section a bit more, I can call in Eisenman's comments about Piranesi from the Charlie Rose Show, and I should re-read Wilton-Ely's chapter "Fever of the Imagination." After just going through my notes, I think this will be the easier sample chapter for me to do. I have lots of material and I also have most of the drawings that I need to do for the analysis. I just thought that I could also include the contiguous/generative element analysis to this section as well.
I am now combining the former last two sections, and again this also makes sense. My notes so far on these sections are very sketchy, and most no longer even apply. The topics covered will center on the overall virtuality of Piranesi's work, which includes the type of spaces (environment) he designed as well as the way he depicted them (his "documentation"). This will lead to the Campo Marzio in the computer and how the new possibility of 3-D. I have experimented a little with generating aerial perspectives of the Campo Marzio plan, and this is just one example of representation ("documentation") that is now only available because of CAD technology. I would like to see this section end with an exploration of the Campo Marzio as a 3-D extrusion of the plan itself.


1999.05.20
reenactment notes
The whole notion of cloning and recombinant gene-splicing is exactly what reenactment architecture is the new paradigm for the next millennium. I was also thinking that reenactment architectures are primarily metabolic, yet, like the Renaissance, reenactment is sometimes closely associated with assimilation. Moreover, the pyramids in that they represent mountains are reenactment architecture, but here it is extreme architecture as well. So reenactment architecture permeates all the various modes of the imagination, however, the operational type of reenactment architecture now/today is the metabolic reenactment.

2000.01.31
ideas
45. The notion of reenactment has become central to chronosomatics in that human history is a reenactment of the bottom to top consecutive slices of the human body, and the human imagination reenacts corporal physiology.


2000.02.03
an answer to "Now what?"
Hugh states and asks:
Such being the case, we can conclude that Decon has run out of steam as a manifesto-led movement, and we must look to its successor. Ideas, anyone?
Steve replies:
Is Decon the only thing to have run out of steam? Has the now pervasive and generally accepted way of looking at and being critical of architecture also run out of steam? For example, does moving from seeing Decon as reactionary to now (maybe) seeing the New Austerity as the latest reaction really convey a sense of meaning beyond the oscillations of fashion and trend? Has each new "critical" building become nothing more than the latest "creation" of the now global fashion show? Likewise, has the element of shock become ingrained within the (elite) architectural profession, the same way shock has become "stock-in-trade" in a good deal of high fashion? [I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the architecture that receives attention and the industry surrounding it being akin to the fashion industry, but I do think there is something wrong about not recognizing the phenomenon as such.]
Here's how I now look critically at architecture (and urban design) both currently and historically:
What architecture is extreme?
What architecture is fertile?
What architecture is pregnant?
What architecture is assimilating?
What architecture is metabolic?
What architecture is osmotic?
What architecture is electromagnetic?
What architecture manifests the highest frequencies?
What I've found so far is that some architectures fall straight into some of the categories above while some architectures are categorical hybrids. Here are some examples:
The Pyramids, Stonehenge, St. Peter's (Vatican), Bilbao(?) -- extreme, extreme architectures.
The Pantheon, Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, entry sequence of Schinkel's Altes Museum, Kimbell Art Gallery -- examples of the best osmotic architecture there is.
Classical Greek and Roman Architecture -- pure architecture of fertility.
The Hindu Temple -- the ultimate transcendence from an architecture of fertility to an architecture of pregnancy, whereas the Gothic Cathedral is an architecture of pregnancy, albeit virginal.
All of 20th century Berlin -- the metabolic (create and destroy and create and destroy and ...)
To understand architecture of assimilation, look at the Renaissance, but also look to early 20th century Purism to understand assimilation in the extreme, i.e., purge.
Today's architectures are by and large assimilating and/or metabolic (contextual and/or 'deconstructivist'?).
You're very lucky if you ever see pure examples of electromagnetic or frequency architectures today because they are almost entirely architectures of the far off future.
There are many more examples to offer, but that's all for now. In general, I see all architectures as reenactionary (as opposed to reactionary).
Architecture reenacts human imagination, and human imagination reenacts the way the human body is and operates. The human body and the design thereof is THE enactment. The human imagination then reenacts corporal morphology and physiology, and architecture then reenacts our reenacting imaginations.

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?


2000.02.16
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 Kimbell 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.

2000.04.27
OTHERWISE EYES directory ideas
Paradigm: theory of physiologically reenacting architectures.


2000.10.24 16:50
brown (lauf 2)
I too am working on a "theory" of architecture (style) that relates architecture to a "process" larger than architecture itself, that is, the notions that 1) human imagination reenact corporal morphology and physiology, and 2) architecture (style) reenacts human imagination.
You ask: "What has 'metabolic process' have to do with it?" The metabolic process within humanity, and, more or less in all (animal?) life, is a creative-destructive duality wherein the corporal destruction of matter releases energy thus providing creative impetus. I theorize that the metabolic process is (just) one of the human physiologies reflected in human imagination, and, subsequently, the metabolic process becomes reflected in human activities and events. [Note: the other corporal physiologies like fertility, assimilation, osmosis, etc. also play key roles within human imagination, but the theory of chronosomatics suggests the metabolic process as being one particularly dominant in our times.]


2002.11.25 10:08
Re: Barnett Newman
The is also the notion [within the theory of chronosomatics] that the operations of the mind, i.e. imagination, reenact the (physiological) operations of the body. For example, there is a fertile imagination, an assimilating imagination, a metabolic (creative/destructive) imagination, an electro-magnetic imagination, etc. According to the chronosomatic gauge, humanity in our time operates mostly via a combination of an assimilating and metabolic imagination.


2002.12.09 17:41
Re: Sentimental Journey
Yes, our planet's celestial cycle, literally, does reenact itself with each revolution around that star we call the sun. And yes, human procreation is often akin to reenactment. Yet, more than anything, it is human memory that manifests the primordial reenactment that we humans deal with consciously and unconsciously all the time. Our memories are nothing but reenactments.
How all this relates to the sensibility toward artistic creation, be it a new sensibility or an old one, is easily considered an open question. What would it mean if human imagination is actually a mental process that reenacts corporeal physiology, for example, an imagination that behaves like osmosis where an equilibrium is sought, or a metabolic imagination where creative and destructive forces act in tandem toward a manifestation. Would such thinking yield a truly new sensibility?
If the imagination indeed already does operate in a way that reenacts corporeal physiology, then it has been operating as such for as long as there have been humans. Could it be that the new sensibility that you say is coming turns out to be a better understanding of our own visceral sensibilities?

2003.06.26 00:27
so what then is architecture?
Architecture is product imagination, and I believe human imagination reenacts corporal physiology. This is not to say that architecture is synonymous with the body, nor that building should be identical to bodies.


2004.03.18 12:51
Re: architecture and nature...
nature of fertility?
nature of assimilation?
metabolic nature?
nature of osmosis?
electro-magnetic nature?
the nature of all frequency?
or merely
the academically stunted nature of imitation? (doctored mimesis)
de-coda:
visceral reenactment
or merely
reenacting a who or a what

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