kwinter’s new evolutionary organon

March 30, 2010 by hot tuNa

Following with manifestos….after Bruce Mau’s let’s enjoy Kwinter’s one pronounced for one of the first conferences of ANY in Europe in 1997:

(in fact we are not going far because they’re both NY-based canadians and were associates with J. Crary in the editorial ZONE books since mid 80s)

I quote here just some relevant parts, but the whole “manifesto” is very interesting, you can find it complete here (link):

SANFORD KWINTER : leap in the void. a new organon? (1997)

…it is an incomplete one, an aborted manifesto. When I first began thinking about it, I called it ‘A New Organon’
(after Aristotle, Bacon and Brecht). Manifestos, after all, even aborted ones,
need to be about a ‘new’

Architecture is already no longer the familiar
cult of objects. It is becoming an organon, that is, a system of investigation,
invention and technique.

We are no longer interested in what the last
two decades of pedagogy and advanced practice has referred to as ‘process’. For
has become little more than a poor man’s Game of Life
a parlor game for those short on intuition, a ruse with which to cloak the deep
fear of matter that has characterized architectural enterprise since its
mathematization and routinization by medieval template stonecutting and Renaissance

The ideology of process … is a postmodern crypto-transcendentalism that does little more than impose arbitrary routines onto the logic of formation.

For a period of time, design process ideology, in schools and in so-called advanced offices, permitted necessary opening of architectural practice away from the parochialisms of aesthetics, styles and manners.

This is because process almost always meant “automatic process” for it was naively believed that removing the human factor from the design loop would both free the resultant work from regressive forms of subjectivity while preserving all the potential and rich endowment of the mind.

The ensuring stylistic cults of complication did little to hide from the historical record the fact that what one had to do with here was just a new logico-mechanical reductionism.

The new poverty was mistaken for radical anti-humanism.

we think of what we do as design, and like the generations before us, we feel the need for an escape velocity that might carry us beyond the sclerosis of inherited boundaries.

For us the new design envelope is an organon-in-the-making, it comprises a will to technique and an ethos of research in real domains.

Technique … is the authentic and ‘immanent’ version of what 1980s and 1990s process ideology could only simulate. Technique is the engagement of real logics present in the human and non-human environment and their conversion into potential -specifically, into apprehensive, ‘formative’ potential. Technique is design from within.

We do not believe in models and we do not seek to ‘apply’ anything external to architectural or design practice.

…we all seem to specialize in what might be understood as monstrous evolutionary deviations from common or standard types. The crux here may be found in the word ‘evolutionary’.

The ultrahybridity, the teratological, in relation to a norm, is commonly said to present a ‘pathological’ phenomenon.

Herein lies the key to a successful escape velocity: let research follow the real, let it be encumbered by no moral and aesthetic preconception

and design follow as an integrated process.

The late twentieth century may one day be known as the dawn of the age of the algorithm.

Ours is a transactional world, not a deterministic one, though we do not deny the efficacy, the economy and the beauty of the mechanist, and ultimately classical methods that have brought us to where we are.

Evolution is nothing but the gradual insertion of more and more freedom into matter. In that sense, we humans, custodians of the most advanced form of Mind, are simply the most free material entities in the universe.

The computational paradigm that is overtaking us -and this paradigm has nothing to do with computers- has extended our concept of materialism to regions of reality.

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