The old RISD Architecture blog


Kevin Kelly, Out of Control can be read here.

As a response to the installation in the gallery and the short lecture on Monday: A conversation I had with Kyna last week came back to my mind — what do you do about making with hands?  This question is still in my notebook, has not yet settled in my mind, so I found the installation to be a good excuse to bring up the topic, my stance differs for now, but perhaps this will get some responses.

The installation in the BEB gallery: n-Natures, variations on the Riemann Zeta Function, is a physical reappearance (quite literally looks the same) of something from 2002 (might have been 2003) —installation at the graduate gallery by Harry Loud and David Constable (both M.ARCH 2003). A Ruled surface, a color affect, pre-Architecture or, rather, a test of Architectural instruments, string and metal.

The presentation, of course, is what makes it different, now. In 2002, it was just the string occupying the whole gallery, and today it’s about the “Epistemological Shift in Architecture”…

Back in 2002 we were looking at The Projective Cast by Robin Evans, especially chapter seven and the geometry of Ronchamp-Notre-Dame du Haut, Gaudi and his use of geometry (here), Boston Science Museum and its section on mathematical forms—these were going through some minds of people behind the 2002  installation.

Last Monday, we heard about informatization of the real, Riemann Zeta function, computational protocol, behavioral model, algorithm, for examples.  Maybe I heard something about environmental parameters as well.

There are three “excuses” I can think for why the epistemological shift in architecture produces nearly the same (physical) installation.

1. The current installation lacks critical faculty.  (I do not hate the thing — it looks nice, but it lacks any ability to be critically responsive to what it is written/what is being said on the wall).

2. It is a victim.  The adaptation of physical production to the computational faculty is so slow, our epistemological faculty (mind) needs new sets of hands (or its analogous).

3. Epistemological Shift does not affect the physical end-resolution of architecture, however the process is different.

The presentation on Monday showed their interest in form making, meaning, all of the context-environment were made numeric to alter the given-desired form.  It alluded that environment does not conceptualize form, it is not one of the “faculty” that is “shifting” (regardless of current “climate change” etc.), epistemological form is the subject of (an) adjustment… (Perhaps where they want to go is beyond tweaking shapes and understanding environment as faculty of physical production as well?)

This is where I wanted to end this post, returning to the topic of hands / making-with-hands, by hand.  Does understanding environment as “faculty” shift our understanding of what it means to make?

- Yu Morishita