MOVEMENT + FLUX
Architectural and artistic dialogues are unequivocally linked to design. We do not create in a vacuum, we do not learn in a vacuum, we do not teach in a vacuum. This does not mean we must be ruled or conform to the teachings of history, but we must know them, must acknowledge them if we are to create for the future. If we do not, we are likely to repeat the past. It is our responsibility, our duty, as architects, artists and designers to build for our own age and for what is to come; to create valid design for our times.
In the contemporary city, the relativity of time must be recognized. Historical time is not what is defined in a Classical sense before the world knew the science of Einstein, past and present are not mutually exclusive. The contemporary metropolis and the metropolis of the future exist in this state: they do not arise via tabula rasa, but exist as a simultaneity of what is, what has come before and the potentialities of the future. As architects there is often a desire to create from a clean slate. We like to break things down, organize them, categorize them. Often in doing so, we suppress their relational qualities, the truth of their complex and interconnected existence and the way in which they came to be.
If we approach design from the standpoint that the creator’s duties are in large part rhetorical, then we are able to re-frame the way in which they think about our work: how we design, the media with which we present our ideas. If we consider that an individual’s experience of the world is undeniably multi-modal, we might begin to set into place a very useful tool for design and fabrication. Designers’ abilities to consider the possibility that rhetoric can create artfully constructed counterparts of one’s experience of the world can be harnessed to the point that the experience of the rhetorical maybe indistinguishable from one’s ‘other’ experiences of the world.
We must utilize visual and aural media, concrete objects (these can be traditional models or more exploratory diagrammatic objects), drawings (both traditional + digital), statistics, quotation and all other created or preexisting ‘proofs’ to advance our positions.We must hone our abilities to pick and choose evidence that might appeal to one of more senses or sensibilities—discursively or indiscursively—in support of a given discourse’s aims-in this case, the proposed project. In addition, where appropriate, we may learn how to construct messages using emergent communication technologies such as video, digital photography, sound recordings, and animation. Electronic media are particularly useful in the qualities of presence they induce. The engagement of emergent technologies both in production in the studio as well as the ability to hypothesize or utilize these technologies in the field enables us to creatively exploit their potential to serve rhetoric’s traditional aims in new and unanticipated ways.
Part of the duties of emerging architects is rewriting the weltanschauung. If architecture is to progress, to improve the general condition of humanity’s existence, then we must not choose to be confined by preexisting definitions of how we must build. Change is uncomfortable and for most unwanted, but the studio, the educational institution, the firm must be the seat of freedom in creativity and design. Though the economy may potentially stifle some, it holds unforeseen possibilities that have the potential to be unlocked and reveal designs based on means, necessity and new methods. There is no other time in an architect’s career where risks can be so unabashedly embraced; to feel free to use this knowledge in unprecedented applications; to create and capture the zeitgeist.