Friday, October 19, 2007


Last semester in studio, Roddy Creedon was insistent on one aspect of diagrams: that they show a relationship. In order to show a relationship, a diagram must reference at least two (and probably not more) subjects. Allen clearly emphasizes that diagrams are relational, and that they "function through matter/matter relationships, not matter/content relationships." The few sentences that follow that quote (on p23.18) bug me, because they seem to advance a fast and shallow architecture, but don't explicitly give a reason why that's needed, or don't say that the counterargument (mediated/slow and deeper) is wrong/unachievable/outdated. In re-reading the first page, I think that Allen is saying that the "new" reality is fast, digital/virtual, momentary, superficial, etc., and that in order for architecture to be relevant in such a changing world, it too must be the shallow [light], fast [responsive], expository go-between (between virtual and actual) [or transactor]. While this might be the sad truth, I'm not convinced by Allen, because he doesn't actually say it. I'm left thinking that I missed something in his verbal dance. Is architecture not able to deal with the depth of a complex reality? Are diagrams the way to dumb down and distill the world, and to analytically exercise "cautious optimism...[that] diagrams of matter can sometimes be reconfigured"? If diagrams are so simple and reductive, why do they have to be discussed in such obtuse and rhetorical ways?

I've never experienced the architecture of Ito, OMA, Sanaa, or MVDRV. Is the experience of a diagram architecture as obvious as the diagram? Do you know diagram architecture when you're in it? Does it stand the test of time? (Is that the purpose?)

Bos & van Berkel's piece has some mindbenders, like the last sentence of the first paragraph, and the last sentence of the essay. Can anyone translate? (i.e. what is the "internal discourse" and how is it compared to the "methodological process"? what is the "theory of the real"? Isn't "abstract machine" simple enough a concept? Why complexify it by densely packing loose and thickly defined words and phrases, like those in the last sentence?)

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