critical condition


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2000.02.18 11:36
Re: [Re:] enactment
Perhaps all abstractions are highly idealized reenactments of reality, rather than reality being a reenactment of highly idealized abstractions.

2006.06.15 13:32
UPenn M.Arch Summer Reading List
Question at job interview:
"So, which reading list do you reenact?"

2007.02.18 18:18
what is today's movement?
Name any current mathematical, scientific or philosophical theory, and there's an architecture that will try to reenact it.

Look at the architecture of Mies, Le Corbusier (especially the late works), and Kahn (especially the early works), and there's a lot of contemporay architecture reenacting all that.
Philip Johnson's architecture is one reenactment after another.
Frank Gehry's architecture evolves via reenacting itself.

You want something original? Just reenact with a twist.
–verb (used with object)
1. to combine, as two or more strands or threads, by winding together; intertwine.
2. to form by or as if by winding strands together: Several fibers were used to twist the rope.
3. to entwine (one thing) with another; interlace (something) with something else; interweave; plait.
4. to wind or coil (something) about something else; encircle; entwine; wreathe.
5. to alter in shape, as by turning the ends in opposite directions, so that parts previously in the same straight line and plane are located in a spiral curve: The sculptor twisted the form into an arabesque. He twisted his body around to look behind him.
6. to turn sharply or wrench out of place; sprain: He twisted his ankle.
7. to pull, tear, or break off by turning forcibly: He twisted the arm off the puppet.
8. to distort (the features) by tensing or contracting the facial muscles; contort: She twisted her face in a wry smile.
9. to distort the meaning or form of; pervert: He twisted my comment about to suit his own purpose.
10. to cause to become mentally or emotionally distorted; warp: The loss of his business twisted his whole outlook on life.
11. to form into a coil, knot, or the like by winding, rolling, etc.: to twist the hair into a knot.
12. to bend tortuously.
13. to cause to move with a rotary motion, as a ball pitched in a curve.
14. to turn (something) from one direction to another, as by rotating or revolving: I twisted my chair to face the window.
15. to combine or associate intimately.
–verb (used without object)
16. to be or become intertwined.
17. to wind or twine about something.
18. to writhe or squirm.
19. to take a spiral form or course; wind, curve, or bend.
20. to turn or rotate, as on an axis; revolve, as about something; spin.
21. to turn so as to face in another direction.
22. to turn, coil, or bend into a spiral shape.
23. to change shape under forcible turning or twisting.
24. to move with a progressive rotary motion, as a ball pitched in a curve. 25. to dance the twist.
26. a deviation in direction; curve; bend; turn.
27. the action of turning or rotating on an axis; rotary motion; spin.
28. anything formed by or as if by twisting or twining parts together.
29. the act or process of twining strands together, as in thread, yarn, or rope.
30. a twisting awry or askew.
31. distortion or perversion, as of meaning or form.
32. a peculiar attitude or bias; eccentric turn or bent of mind; eccentricity.
33. spiral disposition, arrangement, or form.
34. spiral movement or course.
35. an irregular bend; crook; kink.
36. a sudden, unanticipated change of course, as of events.
37. a treatment, method, idea, version, etc., esp. one differing from that which preceded: The screenwriters gave the old plot a new twist.
38. the changing of the shape of anything by or as by turning the ends in opposite directions.
39. the stress causing this alteration; torque.
40. the resulting state.
41. a twisting or torsional action, force, or stress; torsion.
42. a strong, twisted silk thread, heavier than ordinary sewing silk, for working buttonholes and for other purposes.
43. the direction of twisting in weaving yarn; S twist or Z twist.
44. a loaf or roll of dough twisted and baked.
45. a strip of citrus peel that has been twisted and placed in a drink to add flavor.
46. a kind of tobacco manufactured in the form of a rope or thick cord.
47. a dance performed by couples and characterized by strongly rhythmic turns and twists of the arms, legs, and torso.
48. the degree of spiral formed by the grooves in a rifled firearm or cannon.
49. Gymnastics, Diving. a full rotation of the body about the vertical axis.
50. a wrench.
[note to self: reenactment with a twist, is that what Hejduk's architecture is really all about?]

On Formalism and Reenactment

2008.09.28 11:42

for years I have felt that architectural theory has merely reenacted theories from fields such as mathematics, physics, linguistics, and especially philosophy. short on time to prove this, I found this passage from Gregory Chaitin's book "Meta Math". Replace "mathematics" with "architecture" or more precisely "modernism" , and perhaps replace "Hilbert" with "Eisenman" (the early days at least).

the qoute (p.166)

"Hilbert's Rescue Plan

Hilbert's idea was to create a perfect artificial language for reasoning, for doing mathematics, for deduction. Hence, he stressed the importance of the axiomatic method, whereby one works from a set of basic postulates (axioms) and well-defined rules of deduction to derive valid theorems. The notion of doing mathematics that way goes back to the ancient Greeks and particularly to Euclid and his geometry, which is a beautifully clear mathematical system.

In other words, Hilbert's intention was to be completely precise about the rules of the game - about the definitions, the elementary concepts, the grammer and the language - so that everyone could agree on how mathematics should be done. In practice it would be too much work to use such a formal axiomatic system for developing new mathematics, but it would be philosophically signigicant.

Hilbert's proposal seemed fairly straightforward. After all, he was just following the formal traditions in mathematics, drawing from a long history of work by Leibniz, Boole, Frege and Peano. But he wanted to go all the way to the very end and formalize all of mathematics. The big suprise is that it turned out that this could not be done. Hilbert was wrong - but wrong in a tremendously fruitful way, because he had asked a very good question. In fact, by asking this question he created an entirely new discipline called meta-mathematics, an introspective field of math in which you study what mathematics can or cannot achieve.

The basic concept is this: Once you entomb mathematics in an artifical language a la Hilbert, once you set up a completely formal axiomatic system, then you can forget that it has any meaning and just look at it as a game played with marks on paper that enables you to deduce theorems from axioms. Of course, the reason one does mathematics is because it has meaning. But if you want to be able to study mathematics using mathematical methods, you have to crystalize out the meaning and just examine an artificial language with completely precise rules.


Hilbert envisioned creating rules so precise that any proof could always be submitted to an unbiased referee, a mechanical procedure that would say, "This proof obeys the rules," or perhaps, "On line 4 there's a misspelling" or , "This thing on line 4 that supposedly follows from line 3, actually doesn't." And that would be the end; no appeal.

His idea was not that mathematics should actually be done this way, but rather that if you could take mathematics and do it this way, you could then use mathematics to study the power of mathematics. And Hilbert thought that he was actually going to be able to accomplish this feat. So you can imagine just how very, very shocking it was in 1931 when an Austrian mathematician named Kurt Godel showed that Hilber's rescue plan wasn't at all reasonable. It could never be carried out, even in principle."


assuming you read all that, I can assure you not only has Peter Eisenman been Hilbert, he's also been Godel, etc...even if he was just reenacting (someone had to do it).

if mathematics can not create a formal axiomatic system then why bother with design? isn't design much more intuitive than intellectual? wouldn't it make more sense to teach theory as something historical and now practically irrelevant...which if you read DeLanda and Kwinter the way I do - praxis is theory now.

wouldn't it make more sense if schools just allowed students to design while teaching them technique?

besides various factors of input, what is the point of a design jury critique?

2008.09.28 13:35

"Name any current mathematical, scientific or philosophical theory, and there's an architecture that will try to reenact it."
2007.02.18 15:18

meta, "for years" is stretching it a bit, isn't it?

The Architecture of Nimiety: An Abundance of Redundance in Architectural Education, Theory and Practice

Place the following items in chronological order from oldest to youngest.
a. something original
b. reenactment
c. meme
d. tautology
e. then all of the above as something original

29 September is the end of Reenactment Season, you know.

2008.09.29 5:20

Replacing "mathematics" with "architecture" or more precisely "modernism" , and perhaps replace "Hilbert" with "Eisenman" (the early days at least), actually does work for the most part. What I find most employable though is the notion of "an introspective field of architecture in which you study what architectures can or cannot achieve."

"Archinect is a unique/great place for architects to meet in cyberspace. There are not all that many other active cyberplaces for architects. I do Quondam as a virtual museum of architecture, and there I strive towards continually producing a museum that a real museum can't or won't be. AMO might find itself more focused with a bulletin that a real bulletin can't or won't be. Isn't that more along the lines of what Koolhaas envisioned AMO to be from the start?"
2005.08.23 09:24

The actuality is that design can be intuitive and/or intellectual or even virtual. Personally, I engage design as a technique.

2008.09.29 5:38

I am not sure I agree that 'why' is theory, at least as everyone here would think. Everything needs some kind of an idea, but is stating "I thought the flow of people around this turn did..."?

I wouldn't call that theory, I'd call that an idea. Every good design, in every creative field needs ideas, but I do think there is a difference.

Design can be anything you want to call it, but it can never escape intuition - the hand of the creator will always be present.

2008.09.29 5:53

intuition. . .doesn't seem to be the right word.

1. direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension.
2. a fact, truth, etc., perceived in this way.
3. a keen and quick insight.
4. the quality or ability of having such direct perception or quick insight.
5. Philosophy. a. an immediate cognition of an object not inferred or determined by a previous cognition of the same object.
b. any object or truth so discerned.
c. pure, untaught, noninferential knowledge.
6. Linguistics. the ability of the native speaker to make linguistic judgments, as of the grammaticality, ambiguity, equivalence, or nonequivalence of sentences, deriving from the speaker's native-language competence.

Design seems to be the opposite of intuition. Yes, some design choices can be made intuitively, but designing as a process usually involves at least some reasoning.

2008.09.29 8:03

I find it hard to see "choosing some theory" as something pure, untaught or noninferential.

"but my end goal is to form a system of thought for this instance that will eradicate the notion of reenactment and render all things acts of continual orginality..."
metamechanic, 2007.11.30 13:57

2008.09.29 8:36

yikes. messy.

the rules of the games were accepted to subvert the game. this only means the game is inherently subvertible if you play the game. you cannot subvert the game by not accepting it. this does not dismiss the game itself as much as change the culture, viewpoint, of gaming. therefore, even if i were to accept everything else, i would not accept that intellectual modernist design thought (let me call it that for a while) would be undone by simply claiming a form of internal limitation. furthermore, logic does not dictate rushing off to one extreme (absolute rejection) simply due to the presence of another (absolute faith).

godel's mathematical contribution was not a negation of mathematics and did not result in an internal revolution in mathematics but, rather, changed the culture of viewing mathematics and specifically the axiomatic system. as such, there is no rejection of mathematical provability as there is a rejection of axiomatic completion. therefore, even if i were to accept everything else. i would not accept that modernist design thought is subject to negation as it is to change.

but...more fundamentally:

the axiomatic system does not initiate with "why" but rather with irreducible "what"s : apriori assumptions that form the rules for the conduct of provability. theory, linked to the asking of "why"s is, therefore, not at all an axiomatic system. you don't directly claim theory as being axiomatic but you do so by claiming it for design as that is informed by theory (whatever that is..or however that is undertaken is left unexplained).

furthermore, the axiomatic system is only undone by an initial claim of unprovability. design thought, even if relying on axioms, is inherently immune to this contradictory claim since it can never be its own object (the architectural design is its object) as is the case with mathematics and philosophy (both of which can accomodate thought-on-thought). therefore, it would be impossible for eisenman to stand as a godel.

now, since architectural thought can only incorporate an extraneaous world as its object, its mental vocabulary can never result in a self contradiction for a second reason: architectural thought's potency comes from exactly that which is deemed insignificant by mathematics...the analogy. analogy always links architectural thought (whether you deem some architecture as being intuitive and others being intellectual is irrelevant to this argument) to what is beyond architectural thought and architecture proper. as such, not only does this not render it a non-axiomatic system (which requires only internal relationships) but also perhaps into a non-system (where a sytem is composed of elements supremely controlled by their valence towards each other - whereas architectural thought is supremely controlled by our own valence towards elements).

now. those people who like to liken architecture to a natural organism to derive an intellectually anti-intellectual viewpoint that smacks of a rather protestant attitude towards work (praxis you say?) and suspicion of "too much thought" seem to be blind to the fact that a natural organism, besides us, does not pontificate on its own natural-organsismisms, whilst we do. and we craft this link not because there is a necessary irrefutable and unavoidable link between architecture and nature but simply due to the very tool that allows us to link architecture with everything else, including language and semiotics and, if you can pull it off turkmanstani cuisine.

in other words, those who call for a more pragmatic performative architecture based on a digitalized, for instance, processing of information are victim to the same figurative, therefore esoteric, therefore, in their thought, non-"pragmatic" thought.

in short a theory for another theory. the only truth being each theory , in fact the very existence of theory, only expresses the limitation of any one theory. therefore, perhaps, what can be seen to be axiomatic is non-architectural thought-on-architectural thought and not architectural thought itself or architecture.

2008.09.29 10:06

noctilucent, I agree with this all starting with messiness. As metamechanic mentioned twice so far, proof takes time, and at least you took the time.

There is ambiguity in your first four sentences, however. Plus, don't disregard the role/effect of the spoilsport.

2008.09.29 16:00

1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.
2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.
4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.
5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.
6. contemplation or speculation.
7. guess or conjecture.

—Synonyms 1. Theory, hypotheses are used in non-technical contexts to mean an untested idea or opinion. A theory in technical use is a more or less verified or established explanation accounting for known facts or phenomena: the theory of relativity. A hypothesis is a conjecture put forth as a possible explanation of phenomena or relations, which serves as a basis of argument or experimentation to reach the truth: This idea is only a hypothesis.

apparent architectural reality: multiple choice

footnote in the [sic] chapter

2000.09.01 12:51
Re: PBL Knowledge
Anyone here on the list read that new book entitled The Architecture of Nimiety: An Abundance of Redundance in Architectural Education, Theory And Practice?

I heard conflicting reports that it is either exactly 197 words long, or 197 pages long, or 197 chapters long. One critic hailed it as "a monument to déjà vu all over again, absolute proof that what comes around is usually what was missed the first few times it came around."



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