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    Passive thinking and a Slight Paradox

    By Sir Arthur Braagadocio
    Sep 19, '06 3:02 PM EST

    just read the Detlef Mertins interview...excellent article and very representative of the school (as I am finding out). unlike a friend of mine who attended Colubmia recently I will not be saying "I spent 70 grand to learn Maya.", but he also said everyone listens to him when he speaks now. I wonder if Penn on my resume will have the same effect? via Passive thinking I believe I made the correct choice on grad school. "Passive Thinking" is a very important part of Peter Leeds stock investing strategy, I mention him since his advice has helped me make turn my school loans into a form of income. Look, I've been investing in small cap stocks for years and this guys name always pops up: he is canadian, does not watch tv or read news reports, and is a self-made millionaire, so if this guy says choosing a stock must also be agreeable in your mind via passive thinking then there is something to it. if you only actively use 10% of your brain then whats the other 90% doing...

    this leads me directly into the slight paradoxes of being an architect... if you were to read the table of contents of Joan Ockmans' "Architecture Culture 1943-1968" and then K. Michael Hays "Architecture Theory since 1968" you might get a list like this, which could summarize the theoretical evolution of architecture:

    Nine Points of Monumentality
    Designing a New Industry
    Eight Steps Towards a Solid Architecture

    The Seven Crutches of Modern Architecture
    The New Brutalism
    Architecture and Ideology
    Form and Function in Architecture
    Semiology and Urbanism

    Everything is Architecture

    Toward a Critique of Architectural Ideology
    Linguistics in Architecture
    Design versus Non-Design
    The Architectural Paradox

    Post-Modern Architecture
    Architectural Design as a System of Research Programs
    Weak Architecture

    Architecture and Politics in the Reagan Era: From Postmodernism to Deconstructivism

    One or Several Masters

    ----having presented this in a poetic fashion you have probably 'passively' formed an idea in your mind of what I might be suggesting. for you to have actually formed an 'active' thought you would have actually had to read all those essays within the last 24 hours with no rest, so that all the memories are still accessable in your mind. they say you loose 80% of your memories formed in a day when you sleep, which is why you should never sleep before an exam. now the first 'stanza' of this poem lists extremely short texts that in very plain english give architectural theory a clear direction ideologically. a clear direction of ideology is something we all can access via active thought (10% of the brain). jump to the second 'stanza', the question arises, is 10% of the brain enough to create ideological directions for architecture... the answer is still yes, 10% of our brain pushed in other directions may still be enough. and then bam, the third one line 'stanza', kind of like the statement 'fuck it', maybe everyting can fall under our 10%-brain actively-created-ideology or maybe everything can't. fourth 'stanza', look its complicated but we can still do it with only 10% of our brains. fifth 'stanza', its way too complicated and we just proved it with 10% of our brains, we need to access more somehow, but we can still at least talk about it even though we really can't...sixth one line 'stanaza', 'fuck it' its so damn complicated now that maybe we don't even have 10% of our brain to think about the 10% of brain thinking about architecture. 'what?!' exactly, its beyond the 10%, and even a mutliple of people using their 10% really isn't enough, a social ontological project does not really help...

    meanwhile, the architecture being built from 'stanza' 1 to 'stanza' 7 is revolutionary, pushing all trades and technologies to new limits and one the biggest names in this revolutionary architecture is Frank. O. Gehry, who clearly uses his 90% of the brain to create and the 10% of the brain he uses to talk about how he does it is rather vague, just emphasizing my point about 'stanza' 6. but then there are other people using 10% of the brains to talk about the architecture, but really more after the fact instead of in-the-facts-becoming.

    so what is the slight paradox?

    - with 10% of our brains we realize we can not just use 10% of our brains to make architecture
    - by admitting we can not use just 10% of our brains for architecture we admit that any comprehensible theory of architecture is ultimately impossible.
    - by admitting there really is no comprehensible theory of architecture our 10% of the brain then argues: what is the point, lets just quit thinking and start doing.
    - then we just start doing architecture and all of sudden we do not know what we are doing and we ask a question.
    - we start actively thinking about architecture again, but we are talking about the process of thinking about architecture at another level. for example - we've been here before so lets analyze this from afar.
    - so we admit that architecture is not linear in that it does not happen from thought to production in the way we envision it.
    - we admitt non-linearity
    - our 10% of the brain then argues again, what's the point if its all non-linear, we will never get anything done in a timely fashionanyway, so lets make non-linear architecture linear somehow.
    - but then non-linear really isn't non-linear anymore, its a complex style that is performed in a linear manner, start to finish.
    - to keep your 10% on top of this issue you then find it excuseable you can not think about everything actively and admit passive thought is cool.
    - so you just start actively doing stuff in various directions hopeing what you are currently thinking about passively will come to fruition in a manner you can actively understand.

    - so architecture becomes this process of active thought with fuzzy directional ideology that is being DONE in hopes of bringing forth the passive thought behind the motion of DOING, which in turn will clarify the fuzzy directional ideology. by claifying the fuzzy directional ideology, the DOING is DONE, and the ideology has no more direction, but it becomes a finished experiment, a memory in active thought but of little relavance to what you are DOING now or passively thinking. that even a paradox?

    here is a quote from our main man Jacques Derrida which kind of sums up what I am trying to say - (i replaced the word philsophy with architecture)

    "For Architecture, during its history, has been determined as the reflection of poetic inaugruation." (p.28, "Writing and Difference", The University of Chicago Press)

    final note: this all very relevant to my studio and forms and algorithms class.


    • 10% of my brain hurts...

      Sep 19, 06 3:30 pm

      The average American adult spends 61 full days a year in front of the TV, or about 13 years of an 80 year life span. During each year they will experience approximately 1,277,500 advertisements. About 210,000 of these advertisements will be experienced via television. The human brain is less active during television watching than during sleep. Thus, if we take sleep into account at 8 hours a day for 80 years, we have another 27 years. Americans spend one-third of their life asleep and half as long in a state of less-than-sleep. In total, this encompasses half of an American life span. I am beginning to see why we are a nation of idiots.

      Sep 19, 06 4:41 pm

      interesting stuff metamechanic...i think this thought (or non-thought) process applies to any creative endeavor.

      in my other life as a songwriter, i don't really know what the song is about when i start out. i'll start with a few phrases that move me (an interesting turn of phrase or chain of words). i'll start linking them structurally and melodically into the song and gradually that handful of lines becomes a framework. at some point the framework reveals the subject matter for the song and writing the rest of the lyrics becomes more a matter of craftsmanship (active) than inspiration (passive).

      in creating "busywork" for the active part of your brain, you free up the passive part to do its thing.

      Sep 19, 06 6:25 pm
      vado retro

      what is architecture, but advertisement. its all a media event, a background in the latest bond movie. a backdrop for our vacation pictures a stage from which to sell our products. turn off the tv and you turn off contemporary architecture's raison d'etre.

      Sep 19, 06 6:46 pm

      the idea that architecture is part of pop culture and therefore we must read comic books appeals to me, but then i see sejima's work, and am reminded that she (reportedly) does't read or watch even the news, never mind the latest from adam sandler...she just DOES architecure...

      Sep 19, 06 8:04 pm
      vado retro

      advertising is really no longer popular culture but has become part of contemporary culture's collective memory and therefore symbolic. this has been going on full tilt since the fifties. the shock and awe of contemporary architecture has nothing to do with space light material really but with the event. and all the event needs to succeed is the right publicity. its a bit complicated to explain especially since im watching my shows right now.

      Sep 19, 06 8:12 pm

      vado -- basically debord's 'society of the spectacle'?

      Sep 19, 06 8:33 pm
      vado retro

      is that on cable???

      Sep 19, 06 8:46 pm

      no, that was well explained vado.

      i choose not to believe it because it is against my religion, but you might be right.

      Sep 19, 06 9:16 pm

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