Reading or Transmitting: Reading Carpo I

2 Aug

For centuries, the alphabet was the standard code for information interchange. “

Alright, here we go:

In Mario Carpo’s “How do you imitate a building that you have never seen“,  the idea of dissemination is discussed – once an oral, verbal or written transmission of inspiration and ideas, which has since the sixteenth century become increasingly graphic. Up until this point, Carpo narrates, works of art, architecture and visual mirabilia 

“had been transmitted primarily by word of mouth, orality and memory having been occasionally superseded or complemented by alphabetical writing. Drawings did not participate in this process, and ample evidence proves that when they did, it was by accident: as everyone knew at the time, drawings could not, and should not, be relied upon. In a word, they did not matter. Visual forms were to be described by words, not by pictures.”

It seems to be almost a given that the cult of the image has now far superceded that of words, transcending cultural, geographic and linguistic restrictions to present the recipient with an immediate “picture” of the subject in question. Words have become an embellishment which elaborate the subject; since the advent of photography, the nature of truth itself has been de-authorised in a sense and priority has been awarded to the photographic simulacrum, as opposed to words which are subject to the partial voice of any author, writer or transmitter. 

This in turn has had an undoubted effect on design and art, and architecture; last year I heard Juhanii Pallasmaa coining the term “Retinal Architecture” in the context of the iconic, and I think this phrase is very telling in terms of the point of impact of design.


.. then i invoked the spirit of habermas, eco and others

27 Jul

So then.. 
.. here’s what I’m trying to do in some detail. This presentation was written to accompany the interactive diagram here, and moves through several theorists whom I looked at at the beginning of my research.


I’m having problems embedding the pdf  here, which you could read at your leisure .. but feel free to download from the links and have a read. I know that’s not very discursive but let me just get up my exisiting work here, and in later posts we can really get to chewing things over.

spotted in the wild: abstract circa 16/6/10

27 Jul

So: to begin with, here’s my abstract as it was presented to a jury of nine, at the Architectural Association, on June 16th. Below, I’d like to invite you to play around with a sort of diagrammatic mind map.. you use your arrow keys to navigate around, zoom in and out. It’s a little nauseating, but so are a lot of good things in life.

Discourse 2.0: Architectural Writing and New Media
(working title, tbc!!)

This thesis explores contemporary modes of writing as a means of knowledge production. Within the context of new media platforms, communities and conversations, what are the modes of engagement and participation, and what are the effects of these on the nature of architectural discourse? How have these affected the production of architectural theory, critical standpoints, and the notion of an architectural agenda?

Beginning from the plural condition of postmodernity, over the last 40 years communication technology and mass media have evolved from being unilateral flows of information to non-linear meshes where one is, in more ways than one is fully conscious of, a participant. So within the remit of architectural writing and critical thinking, what does this networked space mean, what is the status of the reader-as-broadcaster, or the writer-as-community builder?
It is critical to state that this study will not be one based on historical precedent or comparison, but rather an example of the practices and effects of various contemporary architectural writing platforms, using theoretical antecedents and their cultural contexts to illuminate the present.

not once upon a time: now.

27 Jul

So then…
This is where i’ll be taking up residence for the next two months, whilst working on my thesis. By now perhaps you’ll have taken a few seconds to survey that there’s not much on here yet, but even a few seconds is enough to get an idea of what I’m doing here. Visit the about page and some of the early posts to learn more about me & mine.

What I’m trying to talk about is the way we think, read, talk and write – communicate..
Yes, so what – so are we all, right? Well, here are a few ways in which I need to differentiate my position.
1) I’m really green to all of this. I’m not (yet) on Facebook, and like many of you out there, I love books.. print isn’t really dead at all for me, and I’m just as excited by the possibility of unturned, crumbly pages as everyone else seems to be about the instantaneous internet.
2) I study Histories and Theories of Architecture, so I’ll be trying to pull or centre the significance of my investigations on reading, writing, thinking etc. towards architecture and the discourse surrounding it. That’s going to be a challenge!
3) I have been a journalist.. so again, like many of you, I’m all too aware of the financial implications of embracing the blogosphere & free content.

My problem is that the questions raised around “discourse on the internet”, which I hear parroted around me all over the shop – on the tube, at galleries, on the news – don’t often get looked at hard enough. Hard to believe, with how ubiquitous the discussion around, say, social media platforms, has become – and following yesterday’s wikileaks extravaganza, these platforms and technologies are increasing part of the contemporary way of life. But I don’t really hear about THEN WHAT? what happens because of it? How might things change – in a more thoughtful way than “we’ll all have iPads”..

It sounds, even as I write, as though I am looking into the near-future and inevitably guessing at what might be. If I seem like so many others navel- and star-gazing out there, please do tell me your thoughts. For now I’ll be composing a collection of the kinds of thinking that I feel can play into this topic. Please feel free to get involved.. that is, after all, the point.