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Between Analogue and Digital Diagrams

Authors
Publisher
Architectural Research Centers Consortium
Publication Date
Disciplines
  • Design
  • Philosophy

Abstract

This essay is about the interstitial. About how the diagram, as a method of design, has lead fromthe analogue deconstruction of the eighties to the digital processes of the turn of the millennium.Specifically, the main topic of the text is the interpretation and the critique of folding (as a diagram)in the beginning of the nineties. It is necessary then to unfold its relationship with immediatelypreceding and following architectural trends, that is to say we have to look both backwards andforwards by about a decade. The question is the context of folding, the exchange of the analogueworld for the digital. To understand the process it is easier to investigate from the fields of artand culture, rather than from the intentionally perplicated1 thoughts of Gilles Deleuze. Both fieldsare relevant here because they can similarly be used as the yardstick against which the era itselfit measured. The cultural scene of the eighties and nineties, including performing arts, movies,literature and philosophy, is a wide milieu of architecture. Architecture responds parallel to itsera; it reacts to it, and changes with it and within it. Architecture is a medium, it has always beena medium, yet the relations are transformed. That’s not to say that technical progress, for exampleusing CAD-software and CNC-s, has led to the digital thinking of certain movements ofarchitecture, (it is at most an indirect tool). But the ‘up-to-dateness’ of the discipline, however,a kind of non-servile reading of an ‘applied culture’ or ‘used philosophy’2 could be the key.(We might recall here, parenthetically, the fortunes of the artistic in contemporary mass society.The proliferation of museums, the magnification of the figure of the artist, the existence of amassive consumption of printed and televised artistic images, the widespread appetite for informationabout the arts, all reflect, of course, an increasingly leisured society, but also relateprecisely to the fact that, faced with the tedium of everyday, real, lived experience, of the scientificillusion, of work and production, the world of art appears as a kind of last preserve of reality,where human beings can still find sustenance. Art is understood as being a space in whichthe fatigue of the contemporary subject can be salved away.)3

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