How does an idea go through a tool to become a project
Thinking is the most complex cognitive mental process, which consists of reflecting essential properties, features and regularities from reality. Through this process we can create models of the world and represent it according to certain objectives, intentions and desires. The main forms of thinking are observation, analysis and synthesis (rational discourse).
In those three forms certain knowledge also goes through different kinds of consciousness or media and with every step it is abstracted and therefore gains a different kind of meaning.
In the paper Entering a Risky Territory: Space in the Age of Digital Navigation Bruno Latour1 analyses the evolution of mapping and it’s radical transformation since the digital age. The reason for depiction, the means of gathering data and their representation has developed over time parallel to our society. Typically, following a scientific discovery, the newly aquired knowledge shifts the general understanding of our place in the world and artists are fast to grasp those new notions and interpret them subjectively. Later that change further reflects also on our everyday life. So if in his work Bruno Latour is focusing on the shift of pre-digital and post-digital age and the different notions it gives, the text The New Plasticity by Sanford Kwinter2 from 1986 follows much deeper the transition of knowledge from one area to another. The process starts with the publishing of the relativity theory and the revolution it caused in terms of new understanding of time and space followed by the interpretation in the arts, described by the paintings of Boccioni and the Futurists, and ends in architecture with the project for La Citta Nuova by Antonio Sant’ Elia and his visions. In both texts, as well as in many other interpretations, it is easy to follow the tendency of knowledge to morph its concept as it transitions through different medium. As Marchall McLuhan famously concluded – The media is the message. However, this conclusion leads to the question – now that we are equipped with such powerful tools, tools which are creating themselves just as actively as we are, how does that change our designs and understanding of our environment?
The new movie by Rupert Sanders, based on the hugely popular anime Ghost in the Shell by Musamune Shirow opens with a haunting preface. It is set in 2029 and observes as the boundary between human and machine becomes more and more blurred. In the time it has become customary for people to choose to “enhance” themselves by replacing a limb or an internal organ with a synthetic one, therefore also one with many new high-tech features. In that context, one private company works on blurring that boundary even further by creating the first “synthetic full-body prosthesis augmented-cybernetic human” – Major Mira Killian. She has an entirely robotic body except for her human brain. Therefore the story argues that by keeping the brain the soul, or the ghost, remains unaltered independent from the body, or the shell.
Now the obvious question this setup poses is where the boundary between human and machine really stands – how far can one go on altering and enhancing before one turns to a cyborg? All that further leads to the discussion what is it that defines a human at all.
One of the most peculiar and mysterious features of a city has to be the way it collects, stores and shares its memories. Memories of big and small events, moments of personal drama or of national upheaval, someones and everyone’s stories seem to intertwine in the curious fabric we call a city’s identity.
A city’s memory can be its greatest charm. Walls soaked up in love and romance smell of perfume and lure lovers century after century. Memory of power empowers and memory of courage inspires. Other times this memory might be the one poison slowly draining the life out of a city until it remains all but a memory itself. Some city’s strong and glorious past prevent them jealously from having a future while others, heavy under the weight of their history seek for a different tomorrow of forgetfulness and hope, thus risking their identity and purpose. And then there is the third type – the cities with artificially induced memory. Those cities which were built to represent something they are not. They stay frozen in time as in a never ending coma and leave their visitors with a sense of unease and confusion – for even a beautiful lie remains a lie and it is very difficult to built a future upon an unsteady ground.
Studying cities I am studying the ways a past can define a present or how it can forbid it. How something so temporary as a feeling can become something as eternal as a city and how it is the small stories that contribute to the big history of us.
“Who can still believe the opacity of bodies, since our sharpened and multiplied sensitivity has already penetrated the obscure manifestations of the medium?”¹
Nowadays it is common to talk about the revolution that technology caused in our lives and its profound influence in every field. Of course we mean mostly the digital technology and the revolution that happened in the last decade – the unique circumstances and consequences that surround it. However this is by far not the only technological revolution that our civilisation has seen and neither are its consequences unique.
When in the beginning of the 20th century railway and motor cars entered our lives for good, the entire perception of space, time and mainly speed changed. Science explained it, but it was artists who first expressed the altering sensitivity and worldview that was soon to infect us all.
The Cosmicomics bt Italo Calvino are a collection of beautiful stories flowing through the pages with a witty view on science fiction and jokingly deep philosophical insights. The stories flow, but one thing about them stuck with me, teasing my mind and imagination. Doubtlessly that would be the deliberate choice of the autor to give utterly unpronoucable names to all his characters. Qfwfq, Xlthlx, Vhd Vhd, G’d(w)n, Bb’b and Mr Hnw – just to “name” a few.
It is quite remarkable how we are so obsessed with originality and innovation when it comes to art or most of our daily appliances, but when it comes to architecture the story changes rapidly. In our attachment to the authenticity of the artwork, the personality of the author and the story of the object, we insist on beholding only the original Rembrandt or the original da Vinci, but then why are we so ignorant of the autenticity of the very buildings we live and work in and the entire cities we inhabit?
The Death of an almost eternal city comes with its recognition for UNESCO, or so say the residents of the city of Split, Croatia.
In my previous posts on the series Space in and out of Time I commented briefly on the phenomenon that this specific city of cultural significance exhibits and this time I would like to focus a bit more thorough on the lessons and threats that this precedent teaches and predicts.
I passionately believe in the need for a theory and approach for a building to “grow”, adapt and develop in time and space as fast as society and technology does. I am continuously investigating the extend of oblivion and remembrance needed to foster sustainable urban, architectural and cultural progress.
This present second part of a series of essays named Space in and out of Time discusses a theory of a systematic growth in time of a building, based on extensive precedent research and drawn conclusions. In this part I am seeking a theoretical and design approach to allow for a building to develop in time and space, but still preserve its identity.
I passionately believe in the need for a theory and approach for a building to “grow”, adapt and develop in time and space as fast as society and technology does.
I am continuously investigating the extent of oblivion and remembrance needed to foster sustainable urban, architectural and cultural progress.
In the following I trace a first train of thought – one of time and space, building and rebuilding and the meaning of doing so. It is a poetic study of architecture and building in time. Thereby I seek to learn the extend of the problematic and to express it with words and examples.