Architectural Association (Michael)



Sep '09 - Aug '10

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    Chaos is the Content

    Michael Rogers
    Oct 20, '09 5:37 PM EST

    ‘You have to do the readings. That is where the answers lie.’
    (paraphrased wisdom from phase two students)

    Every critique, seminar, lecture and project assignment creates a myriad of new questions that seem to push this program farther out into foreign territory. As you have read, it is production time now, which means exploring and understanding the concepts at play well enough to formulate arguments in public and under criticism. This process necessitates a serious survival strategy: READ. Each of our 3 seminar classes eventually handed out at 2’+ thick binder of readings that contain the secrets to success, happiness and riches in the DRL. Never have I been in a situation where reading was more important or productive than designing but this is entirely the case. To do it right means attacking these formidable binders to the lovely round number of 18 hours a week. It is incredibly hard to put down my studio project, neglect my baby, and read but it is essential. How essential you ask? This essential. Before reading hard core I was making catenary models out of chain like a good little literal boy. After reading I am making catenary models out of pasta, boiling them, drying them with a hair dryer at 8 am in front of my incredulous housemates and by 10 am referring to these soggy pieces of pasta as a ‘uniform modular stacking that, through the agents of water and time and gravity, radically deform to become hyper-specific modules adapted to the double curvature of complex geometry.” (Obviously, this soggy pasta has a long way to go on its path to brilliance but lets not critique it too harshly yet)

    I give you this example not to show how smart I am trying to be but to tell you exciting it is to begin to see the logic behind the chaos of DRL slowly emerge. The readings are the only tangible resources that articulate the ideas and terminology that are being developed so fervently here. For me they are the ticket that allows me to jump onto the DRL ship and they are fascinating. Primarily, chaos is the content which is why they are so helpful in the beginning. I mean this quite honestly. The first 24 hours of reading are all concerned with different ideas of organization taken from ant colonies to bee hives to virtual reality thought experiments. They study chaos, or what appears to be chaos quite seriously here and this line of research begins to unravel the mystery of why this place operates the way it does. You can imagine my surprise when I realized that the DRL makes much more sense when seen from the perspective of an ant, but hey, an answer is an answer and that is a place to start.

    P.S. After a week to mull it over, I find I rather enjoy thinking like an ant. In the DRL, you have to just give these things a try.

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