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.
Schumpeter's notion that capitalism is "creative destruction" is capitalism as a reenactment of metabolism,
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.
Re: Theory dynamics; what theories?
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).
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.
Hugh Pearman in two recent posts wrote:
"Architectural operating systems (as opposed to surface styling) are predominantly Gothic or Classical."
"what I called the 'architectural operating system' as a deliberate computer analogy--might clarify rather than confuse, for me if nobody else."
I suggest a wholly other batch of "architectural operating systems" that derive from the morphology and physiology of our own bodies, the machines that we are instead of the machines that computers are.
Some architectures are extreme.
Some architectures are fertile.
Some architectures are pregnant.
Some architectures are assimilating.
Some architectures are metabolic.
Some architectures are osmotic.
Some architectures are electro-magnetic.
Some architectures are total frequency.
Figuring out what buildings/architects fit in which category(s) may well be the ultimate architectural parlor game. (hint: Classical is high fertility and Gothic is early pregnancy)
Hugh also made reference to the notion of architects having "to have his or her 'personal myth' to believe in and guide them." For what its worth, I have "discovered" my own myth, and its called The Timepiece of Humanity or the theory of chronosomatics.
OTHERWISE EYES directory ideas
imagination 1 : an act or process of forming a conscious idea or mental image of something never before wholly perceived in reality by the imaginer (as through a synthesis of remembered elements of previous sensory experiences or ideas as modified by unconscious mechanisms of defense); also : the ability or gift of forming such conscious ideas or mental images esp. for the purposes of artistic or intellectual creation 2 a : creative ability : GENIUS b : ability to confront and deal with a problem : RESOURCEFULNESS 4 a : a mental image, conception or notion formed by the action of imagination b : a creation of the mind; esp : an idealized or poetic creation
Unthinking an Architecture
Re: geometry notes
Could it be that human perception of space may be non-Euclidean, but that human imagination has evolved (so far) in a very Euclidean manner?
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.]
To repeat a previous question: who designed the Baroque? OR How did the Baroque arise (emerge)? Any takers?
I think Michelangelo's architecture (which was more or less a product of his late life) manifested tremendous 'new' inspiration for 16th -17th century architecture. The details of the Porta Pia and the wholly integrated articulation of the Sforza Chapel offer architectures completely unprecedented until that time, which in turn inspired new architectures. Likewise, the 'undulating' wall of St. Peter's no doubt became the new paradigm, especially considering that St. Peter's then (as now?) represented the ultimate place of worship. In simple terms, it is best to learn from the best.
To this day, I am intrigued by Michelangelo's fortification designs for Florence (some executed and otherwise recorded as plan drawings). They exhibit many proto-Baroque flourishes, and it is interesting to note the military connection.
"This places Michelangelo's fortification projects among the incunabula of modern military architecture, just at the most fluid and inventive moment in its history, at a time when experience had established no proven formula of design. Unlike the situation in other arts, the lessons of antiquity and of preceding generations were of little account; this is one of those rare events in the history of architecture when technological advances altered the basic precepts of design."
James Ackerman, The Architecture of Michelangelo (Penguin, 1970), p. 127.
I see architecture as the product of human imagination(s), and that is why I spend my time trying to figure out where human imagination comes from.
aesthetics and imagination
"It is common place to say that the eighteenth-century marks a turning point in the history of aesthetics. M. H. Abrams (1953) has shown how this was the period when the predominant metaphor of the mind as a mirror reflecting external reality began to give way to that of the mind as a lamp which radiates its own inner light onto the object it perceives. The artist is no longer seen as a craftsman-like imitator of nature, but as an inspired genius who brings new worlds into being, spontaneously generating original creations out of the depth of his own mind."
from the editor's introduction to Cocking's Imagination, p. vii.
As we begin the 21st century, is the "predominant metaphor of the [artistic] mind" still a "lamp which radiates its own inner light onto the object it perceives?"
Another way of viewing the issue of planning/design via control is to see it as a metabolic activity, meaning, rather than just control being employed, what is really going on is that something is being destroyed in the guise of something being created.
This metabolic 'imagination' (in Western history) appears much earlier than the Renaissance, however. A careful study of the Roman Empire during the 4th century AD reveals a very systematic 'destruction' of Paganism in the guise of 'creating' Christianity. Is it just coincidence that the feast of St. Helena on 18 August is also the date of the Rape of the Sabine Women? Or that the dual feast of St. Constantine and St. Helena (son and mother) on 21 May is also the date of the second Agonalia, one of two feasts in honor of
the 'two-faced' god Janus? Or that the first feast of the Agonalia on 9 January is in the Christian calendar likewise the feast of dual martyrs, the 'perpetually chaste' husband and wife Sts. Julian and Basilissa, who although today are doubted to have actually existed nonetheless bear some resemblance to Constantine and Helena and even more so to Christ and Mary? Or that Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, one of Rome's top seven churches and the continuation of the chapel that St. Helena built in her Roman home (the Sessorian Palace) which contains ground/dirt from Calvary which Helena brought back from the Holy Land, was dedicated on 20 March which was Pagan Rome's day of blood?
[It still seems necessary to point out that as of 28 October 312 Christianity was imperially sanctioned within the western half of the Roman Empire. That as of 324, when Constantine became sole ruler of the whole Empire, that then too Christianity was imperially sanctioned throughout the whole Empire. And that in 380, under the rule of the emperor Theodosius, Christianity then became the Roman Empire's official and sole religion, hence at the same time officially ending all Paganism throughout the empire.]
Interestingly, the first 'barbarian' invasion of the city of Rome circa 400 caused the subsequent resurgence of Paganism in Rome since the promised wonders of Christianity did not transpire in Rome, rather their seeming exact opposite. [Also interestingly, those first barbarian attackers were actually Christians!] This new rise of Paganism is what prompted St. Augustine to write The City of God Against the Pagans [yes, this is the same book more commonly known as simply The City of God, although its full title is much more to the point]. So, getting back to modern planning and 'control', perhaps it's all just a reenactment of what a bishop from North Africa published almost 1600 years ago.
Reenactionary Architecturism topics
I have yet to review and include any early BIA notes into the reenactionary notes. I will do this soon, but I think I will at this point keep them in a separate html index, just for convenience at this time.
The offerings within 'paradigm' of OTHERWISE EYES suggests that there is still material to review regarding the BIA in general.
If I do not go to Las Vegas to take pictures of the 'great city of reenactment', then I might just be able to make something with pictures of Atlantic City. In fact, I could well present Atlantic City as a reenactment of Las Vegas, thus making the case (both good and bad) as to how 'reenactment urbanism' is presently being manifested in practice.
2001.02.16: In reviewing note 001128 re: a publication devoted to the promenade architecturale, it occurs to me that Reenactionary Architecturism may be a publication produced in several part. Part one is then (perhaps) based more exclusively on the letters, thus offering a general overview of the theory, although with many excursuses nonetheless. Part two then elaborates on the whole promenade architecturale theme, and part three can involve a year by year study of the "real" Baroque (with great use of copyright free material, i.e., my eBay books. I'm not yet sure if there is a fourth part (such as BIA/Zeitgeist), but overall I'm presently sure the subdivision of the theory of reŽnactment in general is the path now being followed.
the reenactionary physiology of human imagination
Some[what] Incompletely Louis I. Kahn
1. neighborhood synagogues, particularly in North Philadelphia and along the North Broad Street corridor, Philadelphia's quondam Jewish neighborhoods.
2. architecture of osmosis / electromagnetism (Kimbell and Hurva) and thus discussion of BIA re: osm/em.
3. some reenactment, particularly Koolhaas, M/G, and even Venturi (Ahavath/Guild House).
4. Piranesi's Campo Marzio.
6. Northern Liberties photo documentation.
7. circle/square - does it lead to ideal scaling?; rescale the plan/models to match a 6' tall man, etc.
Last night (2002.08.03) I had the idea of reenacting Erdman Hall via a manipulation of the Hurva model.
contents of the Working Title Museum...
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?