University of Texas at Arlington (Michael Garrett)



Feb '05 - Jan '08

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    a notation of experience

    By michael garrett
    May 2, '05 1:42 AM EST

    during a recent conversation with my friend chris, he brought up an interesting point - the possibility that design is pulled from a collection of thoughts that are already in place, that all ideas already exist. this relates heavily to all the discussion of memes in my studies this semester. what was the original meme set? the grouping of thoughts that lead to the formulation of all proceeding thoughts. is it true that we are really rearranging the same elements over and over?

    neither of us fully knows the validity of that statement. we were in agreeance, however, that good design is an individual mode of discovery. even if the entire spectrum of possible ideas is already in place, it is in fact the act of personalization that constitutes design.

    architecture has been, and always will be, the art of appropriation. but the nearly infinite number of combinatory possiblities keeps us from regurgitating the same things over and over. or does it?

    what makes any work inherently unique? perhaps it is the nature of imperfection, which serves to map out a narrative of use or misuse. the authorship of the architect extends beyond the title block of a drawing. most of us put pieces of ourselves into our work (sometimes literaly, when sleep deprivation and x-actos refuse to work in tandem). the point is that design is one of the most intimate expressions that i can think of.

    another thing chris mentioned was the idea of extraction. the sampling of precedence, influence, inspiration, whatever you wish to call it. i think sampling and editing are the essence of the profession. and that in itself implies that you have to have the raw elements to sample from.

    so - are new ideas ever really created? or are we merely updating to more efficent versions....

    something to think about.


    • siggers

      Interesting reading, I would generally agree; we all use basically the same ideas and assumptions, yet it is through our personality and enormously varied beliefs that we craft them into what we hope would make a good design. I suppose a unique design comes from a unique individual?

      May 2, 05 7:29 am

      The unique is rare in occurrence, within our societies it is often frowned upon or openly attacked. Yet it is the “unique” which we eventually follow, whether in science or the arts.

      To postulate that architecture is based on appropriation is in my opinion shameful …however right you may be.

      This concept itself is only an excuse for mediocrity.

      Appropriation of line or form is better termed as theft.

      It’s only when one gets away with it, without citing influences, that one is able to think it’s wonderful in concept. In my country when you get busted for a crime the locals call it a mistake. The ‘mistake” is that they were caught. (it’s an in joke)

      New and unique ideas and forms come from individuals or groups of individuals seeking excellence. Not by looking at the answers on the other persons desk in exams.

      Looking around the globe I’d say mediocrity is the new unique and perhaps that’s what we deserve when we try to validate such an inane and woefully transparent excuse for a design philosophy which by its own terms is a “mistake”.

      May 3, 05 12:37 am

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