Mind Games Response

I thought about this lecture as a prerequisite to understanding representation of others and then one’s self.  While the discussion was centered around painting I think a lot of the ideas are central to understanding all art forms including architecture.  Most interesting about modernist painters is how they used their frame and their materials to ask the question “what can be done with the canvas?” I believe architects are always engaging in the same question but of several different nouns. “What can be done with a room? What can be done with a wall? an aperture?”  Challenging notions of the conceived is essential to the discipline as a whole in order for it to progress.  However theres a balance between everyone trying to act outside of the box and no one acting out that must be struck in architecture.

The question of signifier and signified and sign and connotation and meaning is one I think of as being less pertinent to our field.  However, these thoughts are in line with abstraction, which is something architecture relies heavily on.  Since the first shelters of man were made in nature, architecture has generally abstracted its forms from nature in one way or another.  The understanding the degree to which a project is abstracting from nature or another form is I think central to not only its progression from concept to completion but also to understanding how the general public perceives a project.  

Finally, what’s lasting for me is the idea of speech and writing as being supplementary to self presence.  We’re always told that a project is good if someone can understand it through graphical means only, that is it does not need to be defended or explained in speech or writing.  This statement, reiterated as a pedagogy in our school, is one that challenges both ends of the spectrum of semiology and phenomenology and would tend to suggest that good projects must rely on leaning heavily in one direction so that a total experience can be felt or a message is undeniably driven home as it is in Venturi’s “I am a monument” sketch.

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About mhgoblue

Architecture Undergrad University of Michigan

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