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Post-Structuralism

.dwg

Can someone explain to me what this term means, in clear plain English? I always come across it in readings but never precisely understood what it referred to, moreso in architectural discussions.

 
Jun 22, 04 5:42 pm
Mason White

architecture is almost always borrowing terms. this is a classic case of borrowing from literary theory.
Poststructuralism emerged as a reaction to structuralism's reductive methodologies. Structuralists argue that things occur in relation to other things rather than in isolation. Pretty hard to disagree with that, but poststructuralist sought to clarify that further. This was intitiated primarily by De Saussure and Levi-Strauss in the 1920s and 1960s respectively ...
I think in architectural discussions structuralism usually revolves around the idea of binary thought, such a building/landscape, inside/outside, floor/wall, etc. ...
Post-structuralists refute that way of thinking and argue that it is too reductive. Poststructuralism argues that phenomena occur in a more multifarious guise. In other words, things are not so black and white, there are in betweens and tangents and ambiguous non-binary associations. Derrida is probably the most well-known instigator of this. [This also gave rise to the rather unfortunate formal "deconstructivist" trend].
It is hard to say who best represents this thinking in architecture, but maybe Herzog and de Mueron are closest in the way that they manipulate reductive readings of experiences in buildings (both inside and out)in a phenomenal rather than exclusively formal way. THink of Prada Tokyo, Dominos Winery, etc.

Jun 22, 04 6:11 pm  · 
 · 

Small note - actually isn't Claude Levi-Strauss an anthropologist who developed a theory of structural anthropology And Ferdinand de Saussure was a linguist who began the structural study of language - these ideas then were brought into literary theory?

Jun 22, 04 6:39 pm  · 
 · 
Mason White

That is true, though levi-strauss is probably more relevant to architectural thought / theory in his analysis of the structure (over content) of myths, which is whay i was indicating literary theory. Both linguistic theory (Saussure) and the study of myths overlap in literary criticism. And it is through their association in literary theory that Derrida attacks structuralist thought (see "Differance") .. AND it is through Derrida that architecture jumps on the post-structuralist bandwagon.

Jun 22, 04 6:59 pm  · 
 · 
Mason White

sorry .. just to complete that.
Derrida (Of Grammatology) asserts that texts are not a natural reflection of the world, but that instead text structures our interpretation of the world, therefore language shapes us, rather than the other way around. He argues that all text are, therefore, ambiguous, and open to interpretation .. this was part of the fuzzy foundations of deconstruction in architecture, in which form was the primary vehicle for an intentional ambiguity.

Jun 22, 04 7:10 pm  · 
 · 

Doesn't it start with the Chomsky - Eisenman connection? Chomsky's book Cartesian Linguistics and Syntactic Structures from 1966 and 1957 respectively, with his theory of "Deep Structure" (deep structures that contain the meaning of the sentence.), which was adapted into Eisenmans, own theories of Deep Structure of Architecture... Even though these structures are leaning toward a quesi-structuralist point of view within the realm of aesthetics - wouldn't Derrida's theories from Grammatology relate or enhance this argument? And isn't this bridge of Eisenmen's from Chomsky to Derrida also profound (and perhaps political)? I wish someone would delve into this topic more often.

Jun 22, 04 8:12 pm  · 
 · 
uneDITed

the poor individual is not getting an explanation that s/he can't get from a basic google search. Do you see the lack of intelligence on both sides? :0)

that aside...Mr. Mason White ...
'It is hard to say who best represents this thinking in architecture'
' they manipulate reductive readings of experiences in buildings '

Now...I kind of asked myself why I found these statement distateful. It took me a few minutes to figure it out after some indigestion. The former I do not understand because firstly I do not know whom/whose architecture you concider to be reductive/black and white/non-multifarious...secondly, your division of the structuralist and poststructuralist seems ro be that of distinct geographies..not intermingling moments (Foucault, Barthes, Lacan..)..thridly, why would u want to nominate a 'best representative' in the first place....finally,and more fundemantally, the simplistic manner which you view 'thinking within architecture' and ultimately architectural history itself...as if only suddenly is their a realisation of such a thing as a 'phenomenal' deliberation through devisive architectural effects or whatnot...

Interestingly, though you go on about derridean post structuralism. you frame your review, your language, the flow of revelation and argument, in much-more-structuralist manner...

Jun 22, 04 8:14 pm  · 
 · 
the righteous fist

well otherwise it'd sound like "blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah" get it?

Jun 22, 04 8:54 pm  · 
 · 
Mason White

uneDITed:
1) I dont see what is unclear about the quotes you have cited from me, "Mr. Unedited". If you will notice, the original poster, .dwg, asked the question because of its vagueness in context of architectural discussions. Look at the orignal post. That is why I thought it might be useful to have a reference to a specific architect's work in relationship to both structuralism and its reaction, poststructuralism. You know, to put it in the context of architecture. As for architects that operate within a structuralist logic, how about Richard Meier. Not much ambiguity there, (but this is obviously arguable).

2) As for the division between structuralism and poststructuralism as isolated geographies, as you call it. Sure that is what there are, polarized ideologies on which architects are aligning themselves, so you are right I am indicating that they do not necessarily intermingle.

As for my written tone, it is more an attempt at clarity rather than an indication of my personal alignment in the argument ... i aint trying to write structuralist and i aint trying to write post-. Think about it, Derrida doesnt try to write in a post-structuralist way, does he?

And spekaing of clarity, can you please explain this nonsense: "finally,and more fundemantally, the simplistic manner which you view 'thinking within architecture' and ultimately architectural history itself...as if only suddenly is their a realisation of such a thing as a 'phenomenal' deliberation through devisive architectural effects or whatnot..."

Best of luck with your indigestion.

Jun 22, 04 11:30 pm  · 
 · 
.dwg

...sigh.

thanks you guys. i'm digesting... slowly, but i'm digesting...
it's refreshing to see discussions like this spark in this forum, no matter how boggled my mind is...

Jun 22, 04 11:56 pm  · 
1  · 
crillywazzy

righteous fist: hehehehe.

Jun 23, 04 1:09 am  · 
 · 
uneDITed

re:clarity..you are correct...
'the simplistic manner WITH which you view 'thinking within architecture''

'as if only suddenly is THERE a realisation...'

I hope this is enough clarity.


Re: Meier...as you suspect .. there is as much substance to argue over and about as there is about H&deM. Why is it an architecture based on structuralist logic? I could construe an argument that in fact ..there is a possibility of the poststructuraist (As you frame and phrase it). In the shadow patterened world of whitness(greyness..) and geometric rigour, there is a labyrinthine indeterminacy between the circulation routes and the spaces of substance. IT feels as if a piece of that space has been wrapped, bent,dissected from the rest (virtually a universal space crumbling into a labyrinthe of spaces/light/columns/walls) to lead you elsewhere. It is a Le Corb sediment . It is actually a universe of white ambiguity, where light obscures rather than simply reveals. Where the many shades of white puzzle and confuse
Then there is the moment in his architecture when he inverts solid and void gestalt and your eye wanders over the repetition of 'absences'. . ex.Espace Pitot
The ironic tension between the simplicity of pure planarity (&glazing) and the complex, sometimes discordant, interlocking volumes. Hoffman House

Eisenman took that and more to a certain rhetorical extreme..but this is my point regarding 'intermingling moments'. Eisenman is a sarcastic moment within structuralism as is Meier a hermetic reserved moment within poststructuralism. Poststructuralism is not a seperate entity, it is a self-confessed structuralism-taken-to-a-logical-conclusion. In terminology, it has to be seperated for a definition of that extreme...but in theory and practice it is not a seperate entity. That is ,of course, not just the case with architecture...though in the verbal-written texts, it is a much more complex affair...

This is why your seperate geographies thinking is simplistic...That thinking don't have the sensitivity or sensibility to hear and recognize different interpretations within one tune.
And that explains why I noted your 'written tone'
. Your explicit personal alignment is irrelevant...want it or not, thats how its reads...

and that brings me to the last nail in this posting (phew phew).....your derridaesque poststructuralism (and I find it annoying and again..simplistic of you..to just exhibit Derrida ) is firstly and lastly a reading. It is not an organized 'thinking' ('thinking within architecture)in a grand gesture...ideally, its only organization is the text it reads. It will recognize sympathetic readings in history and even cite them. Even if it is seen as a new perspective ...it wil not see itself that way because it is far too aware of how trapped it is within the strains of language to utter anything new....So...how can u simply cite H&deM. as the 'one of the best' in the sense that such a phenomenal approach (rather than technique/technology) and its underlying principles are a contemporary discovery...
Distateful....go away...I'm going to throw up now!

Jun 23, 04 8:39 am  · 
 · 

well otherwise it'd sound like "blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah" get it?

If only Meier and Eisenman knew the promenade architectural formula, then there wouldn't be so many designed and executed misinterpretations.

Jun 23, 04 8:50 am  · 
 · 
Mason White

Unedited>
Your attempt at an argument is both cluttered and full of overcooked assumptions. I find myself spending more time trying the clean up your statements than take in your meaning, which takes the pleasure out of the "discussion."

Let me say though that I am not so naive to believe that -isms happen in isolation. That moderism, structuralism, or fauvism for that matter occur at a specific time out of the air. I am aware that there are historical, political, cultural, and even unpredictable conditions from which they emerge. And, yes, as I had written earlier, post-structuralism (like most -posts) was borne as a reaction to structuralist thought. I am not an advocate of linear historicity. I think that was clear.

I appreciatate your verve for promoting non-simplistic classification of things, I am on board with that. However, these positions are at odds with one another. Perec is reacting to Foucault. HdeM is reacting to volumetric architecture (Meier) with phenomenal / ambiguous architecture. That is just the way it is, sure one can sit on the fence on the subject of structuralist / binary thought processses, and try to embrace qualities of both (Koolhaas), or seek out other ways to operate in design. I am not saying you have to pick one or the other, but simply trying to find the edges or extremes of the positions.

I believe that both HdeM and Meier could be debated endlessly in terms of their READING (as you found you could easily ramble your post-justification of his work) as either structuralist of poststructuralist. BUT, the point is how they see architecture and how their work process and ultimately the projects themselves exhibit this thinking. In other words, it aint about your reading, but about how their intention manifests itself in the work. Anybody could read anything into anything.

SO, I think there is very strong evidence that their design METHODS embrace extremely different intentions. For example, Meier is very much a solid/void, glass/concrete, black/white thinker when it comes to designing a building. Think about the Barcelona Museum, glass is glass, white stuff is white stuff, floor is floor, wall is wall, shadow is shadow. Sorry, but that is just evident in his work process, thinking, and the final product. HdeM, however, through a work such as Tokyo Prada, have embraced an ambiguous understanding of skin and structure in its external mesh, in which they are linked but yet it is not a curtainwall becuase it IS the structural envelope. Also their use of glass promotes a less distinct reading of scale. And especially evident in their design method for spaces within the floorplates of the project. Glass is not necesarily glass but a magnifier, wall is not necessarily wall but structure, and floor is not necessarily floor but a room, a space. These are all design intentions, I would argue both Meier and HdeM have structuralist and poststructuralist leanings that stem from their thinking about what role architecture has and what it can be.

I stand by my argument that:
A) It is necessary to understand the differences between structuralist and poststructuralist porponents at the risk of creating reductive categories, at least in order to find the edges of the argument.
B) The need for specific representatives to support that to promote clarity.

Dont forget to clean up your throw-up, you dont want someone to 'discover' it by accident.

Jun 23, 04 4:05 pm  · 
 · 
uneDITed

I'm ok with clutter..I let it out in spurting flows here..otherwise, I am nonchalanbt...I find it quite brattish of you to demand a narrative that -you- would find uncluttered..who are u,child?

I also think you cleaned away the parts that would find themselves in the response to your response to mine.
I do not not state that a who is reacting to a whom
I do not say that there is no such thing as post-structuralism..
I do not say that there is not a feeling of antagonism towards structuralism that led to post.st. conclusions..

I say that that who and that whom always have a relationship that transgresses the who=>whom. One thing can be seen differently in different planes of reading. One thing can exhibit different hermeneutic patches.

I do not see where you can seperate the intention of their architecture and the readings into their architecture. After all, their intention (the initial reading, the author's stamp of approval) is just another one in the catalogue of forthcoming readings..it is on par with the rest. It might frame the 'truth' of the architect and his/her era..but there are other truths. The Barcelona Pavilion was read by some as an insignia to the nationalist spirit of early 20th century Germany , nowadays it is read as a universal piece of architecture..one that, in its realm of abstraction and divorcement refutes the basis of the former reading. The original reading is only helpful as an 'etymological' imprint in a succession of readings.
Read this...a parallel example
Richard Meier is a die-hard modernist.
Richard Meier is ultimately a post modernist ... modernist motifs are self consciously used over and over as a vocabulary. He copies Le Corb, then copies himself(Meier) into a white hole.

Both readings are possible. HE might have seen himself as modernist..he might still see himself that way. But ...

Now, your reading is possible..but because it is not aware of other paradigms..u havent tried to contest your own (a bit hackneyed & regurgitated) rationale...

You succumb to a simplistic idea of reading in the originary...u r a bible-bashing reader. Your simplistic logic sets one thing against another, an author against the other...It is not Meier who is black/white..it is you. How could u possibly isolate Foucault in a binary relationship with Perec....Foucault is quite a few things...he himself refused to belong to the structuralist camp and yet found sympathy with some of their ideas...If we really want to be stupidly pedantic about it..sometimes he passes in a structuralist camouflage..and sometimes in a post structuralist one. What, within Foucault , is he reacting to? Wy cite Foucault? ? An idea within one that opposes the other?
...and Perec too stands in the boundary of structuralist vagueness that others like Calvino and Cortazar occupied. Had foucault been a fiction writer...he would have stood alongside. He already does in the geneological puzzles that he draws up..continuity and rupture....an isotropic logic and


I agree..it is necessary to understand what makes structuralism struc..and post structuralism post.st. But then....its just the first base.
Why do you want to draw up the edges of the argument? By doing so...there is NO argument or discussion anyways..you have already reached the end through the entrance door. You have a prepackaged answer..with all edges drawn in....this is also rather selfish of you. We wanna join in.

Just because the Prada building plays on self-deferring allusions...does not mean that previous architectures havent profited from such play. Hence the connoted stupidity of your remark 'It is hard to say who best represents this thinking in architecture, but maybe Herzog and de Mueron are closest '
It is your reading (as a specified conventionalized practice) that is relatively contemporary ..not that sort of 'thinking within architecture'....need I bore you with the standard case of Greek architecture and optics/visual perception-that is pretty much ArchHistory 101?
There is no 'closest'..its not a competition, different architectures..different allusions..different play..different blah blah

And your apologies have not been accepted...

Jun 23, 04 6:37 pm  · 
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uneDITed

u succumb..etc..of..the 'original' (of a primary endemic reading)
had my english been utterly crap, I could have apologized
I am now only slightly embaressed
:|
Also there might be some ambiguity regarding 'allusions'..its close but not exactly what I wish to say.

Jun 23, 04 6:43 pm  · 
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Mason White

Again, your garble presents an unpleasant exercise, but lets just take this in pieces:

You write: "I do not see where you can seperate the intention of their architecture and the readings into their architecture. After all, their intention (the initial reading, the author's stamp of approval) is just another one in the catalogue of forthcoming readings..it is on par with the rest."
Let start with where we overlap … I think it is pretty safe to say we agree on one thing: That a work can be read in many diverse ways. That is easy to say and easy to argue. What I am saying is that READING is very different from INTENTION and design PROCESS. Intention is not simply an 'intial reading' as you put it. Intention is wrapped up within the authors/architects view of the role-or possibility-of architecture, context conditions of the project, and several other boring things like budget, scope, program, etc. Intention is wherein architectural thinking resides (if even subconsciously). This could extend to just about anyone right. Lets take John Hejduk. Sure one could look a Hejduk drawing and talk about the presence of pure forms, weighted materials, and symmetry. But isn’t that missing the point, or the critical aspect of his work, the aspect that created a spawn of similar thinkers inspired by that nugget, such as Libeskind, Diller, et al. Sure I can read into his work about those things like pure form, or even shadow blah blah, but it is the role of narrative, the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants obsessive cataloguing of masques, characters, and places, and where does architecture begin and fantasy end, and are these unearthed or lost myths of the world or where they already there just re-presented … That is the root of his architectural thought.

The intentions of Meier and HdeM, and therefore the resultant works, are coming from entirely different camps. Readings are the easy role of rambling armchair critics, as you have demonstrated. Do you disagree that Meier and HdeM methods and intentions in architecture originate in very different and potentially opposing camps? Do you disagree that a critics reading and authors intent are not frequently contradictory? This is not to indicate that the intention sits hierarchically superior to readings, but that in talking about architectural thinking (such as structuralist of post-structuralist) and design process, it is INTENTION that is at stake. Reading is completely subjective. One could read anything from anything, right? Even in principle outside of this structuralist debate, these architects operate extremely differently. Meier’s work predominantly focusing on mass and HdeM work predominantly focusing on surface. Eisenman could be more placed more easily in line with Meier (though he wishes otherwise), and Sejima could be placed more easily in line with HdeM. Again, I am not trying to be reductive but illustrative that your agenda seems more to want to cloak and smokescreen the argument and present some slippery argument that anything can be read in anyway. BUT the issue is not about READING.

You write: “What, within Foucault, is he reacting to? Wy cite Foucault? ? An idea within one that opposes the other?”
I have chosen these two to illustrate the difference because Foucault is a useful hinge figure in the argument. Read Perec’s “Think/Classify” essay in which he posits to upset both the system of the alphabet and the very order of the essay itself, which is a series of idea fragments structured in a non-linear way. Perec embodied what Foucault could only allude to. Perec’s obsession with minutia (see “life: a users manual”) and chance (see “subway poem” studies) are in direct opposition to Foucaults archaeology of order as being discernible from measure. Foucault: “There exist two forms of comparison and only two: the comparison of measure and the comparison of order.” That, my friend, is structuralist thought, of which you will find none in Perec. That is called difference. Again, if you want to play the i-can-READ-it anyway-i-want game, I am sure you could find sizeable pieces of poststructuralism in Foucault’s later works, BUT at their root, at their INTENTION, Perec is decidedly more poststructuralist leaning than Foucault. Do you disagree with this?

You write: “Just because the Prada building plays on self-deferring allusions...does not mean that previous architectures havent profited from such play.”
Again, I made no such assertion that HdeM are the ‘inventors’ of this phenomenon. Sure, we could bring in the several architects across several eras and cultures, but still you have not unseated this architect as representative of post-structuralism (in some degree) or in opposition to the work of Meier. That is my point. And yes I was gravitating toward contemporary practitioners as examples because it is only in the 1970s that this argument even surfaced in architectural discourse through a cross-disciplined heritage. I think to offer Classical-era architecture from Greece into the structuralist / post-structuralist debate--as you proposed--would be both naïve and futile. Whats your beef? Do you disagree with the selection of HdeM as a representative of poststructuralism and if so what is your argument?

You write: “Why do you want to draw up the edges of the argument? By doing so...there is NO argument or discussion anyways..you have already reached the end through the entrance door. You have a prepackaged answer..with all edges drawn in....this is also rather selfish of you. We wanna join in.”
Please by all means, push the edges further. I welcome a proposal from you of other representatives of structuralist of poststructuralist thought that extend the understanding of their differences. Please, 'join in.'

I think the fundamental difference between your (often cluttered) method and mine is the role of critical readings and authorial intents. I believe that reading and intention are differing entities in the scope of thought. I do not believe that intent is ‘just another reading’ as you put it. Reading is not solely a subjective exercise as you seem to desire from your armchair, but authors and architects and their works have discernable embedded methodological leanings that betray a greater affiliation with one system of thought OR the other in VARYING degrees. Post-structuralism and Structuralism are in opposition, which is not to say that there only exist one or the other. I am aware that there are varying degrees of hybridity in this thinking.

Jun 23, 04 9:59 pm  · 
 · 

nice. I like the way in which you both write. good discourse lets just keep the ad hominem attacks to a minimum unedited. obviously Mason has some very strong points and there is no reason to address issues or statements as "stupid" when they are not.

with that said I'm still curious on what both of you think of the structuralist and post-structuralist overlap within Eisenmans rhetoric and work. Even though the ideas of liguistic "deep structures" have since been disproven is there a development or a diverigent link from Chomsky to Derrida in the work of Eisenmen? I wonder if this change from a structuralist to post-structuralist view point can be traced or followed through Eisenmens work. Or is it that Eisenman is still trapped with a structuralist frame work as you elude to Mason?

Also how do forces penerate this discussion - it seems to me that there can be structuralist "forces" and post-structuralist "forces" which can affect the outcome of everything through a development or reconfiguration.

Jun 23, 04 10:36 pm  · 
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[I think] None of this is nice or a good discourse. What exactly about architecture has been discussed here? Almost all of the above exemplifies pseudo-intelectualism as a superficial veil over what is really nothing more than an 'almost argument' over aesthetics.

Perhaps I'll someday compose a documentation on SO-CALLED ARCHITECTURISM.

Jun 24, 04 7:10 am  · 
 · 
uneDITed

"that Meier and HdeM methods and intentions in architecture originate in very different and potentially opposing camps"


see, I already believe you're sinking into simplistic rhetoric. Yes..they are different, but their difference does not warrant such an unsubtle marking of contraposition. If my method is cluttered, yours does away with the clutter to present itself as an unsubtle cliché. You reduce both groups to mere atagonistic (and therefor parallel)statements by adding a usage of floor here and a glass there....
My point is that your point might be valid..but only to a certain extent, in a certain way...you do not seem to recognize that you are reading as much as I am. Your cheap pejorative remarks concerning my armchair do not negate yours into nonexistence.

Next..we reach what you deem to be the foundational difference between us. ...That my reading is rather whimsical and based on subjective associations, and yours is based upon the all absolving power of Intention. Well....though I think this is a rather childish accusation on your part and quite overworked (the 'by relativity' argument) since you havent really shown what is subjective and what is not (floor that looks like a room?) ....I don't actually mind that accusation...I have a enough of a sense of humour to disbelieve half of what I say. Apparently unlike you, I do not really care about playing the prophet of truth. Architecture is a plaything for me...even as a topic...I don't expect to find inherent truths within it...I do not wish to find a secure end at the end of an argument... Your simplistic readings..yes readings...unimaginative, even in the pedantic sense...go side by side (or bottom to bottom) with a wrinkly anal righteousness, il respire,humblement tapi panni la mousse

Jun 24, 04 8:08 am  · 
 · 
Mason White

uneDITed.

I don’t know what to say. I have had enough 'conversation’ with you. You have not even addressed my direct question in the previous post. Do you disagree? Do you disagree that intention and reading are different, that Perec is leaning more toward poststructualist thought than Foucault, the HdeM is leaning more toward poststructualist design conception than Meier? If so, back it up, child! Address these rather than my character (of which you know so little). I claim not to be the arbiter of truth as you seem to characterize me, but the facts just point this way. Why don’t you refocus your efforts from critiquing me to confronting the issue. As stated before, do you disagree?

You have made this discussion a personal attack on me. If you look back at all of our dialogue it is you that has turned the discussion from the subject at hand to an attempted critique of me. What is your beef? Each of your posts from the outset has included some potshot at me in some form. Is this how you talk, or is just because there is the comfort of hiding behind the code name: "unedited" rather giving your true name and where you live as I have? Do you not have the balls to talk in that manner and reveal your name and where you are located?

Some of your unnecessary posts have included:
"that aside...Mr. Mason White ..."
"Now...I kind of asked myself why I found these statement distateful. It took me a few minutes to figure it out after some indigestion."
“Distateful....go away...I'm going to throw up now!”
“..who are u,child?”
”...u r a bible-bashing reader.”
“Hence the connoted stupidity of your remark…”
“…And your apologies have not been accepted...”
“…though I think this is a rather childish accusation on your part and quite overworked”
“Apparently unlike you, I do not really care about playing the prophet of truth.”
“go side by side (or bottom to bottom) with a wrinkly anal righteousness.”

Don’t get me wrong, I have a sense of humor, but would you insert these little jabs into conversation with a stranger? Remember, you don’t know me. Who are you!

In terms of who is pedantic though, i will gladly accept that over dilettantism for which you classify in first class style, just re-read this post of yours:
"I could construe an argument that in fact ..there is a possibility of the poststructuraist (As you frame and phrase it). In the shadow patterened world of whitness(greyness..) and geometric rigour, there is a labyrinthine indeterminacy between the circulation routes and the spaces of substance. IT feels as if a piece of that space has been wrapped, bent,dissected from the rest (virtually a universal space crumbling into a labyrinthe of spaces/light/columns/walls) to lead you elsewhere. It is a Le Corb sediment . It is actually a universe of white ambiguity, where light obscures rather than simply reveals. Where the many shades of white puzzle and confuse. Then there is the moment in his architecture when he inverts solid and void gestalt and your eye wanders over the repetition of 'absences'. . ex.Espace Pitot. The ironic tension between the simplicity of pure planarity (&glazing) and the complex, sometimes discordant, interlocking volumes. Hoffman House."
Sorry buddy but this is just confused, unqualified, and all-too-proud verbal vomit borne out of dabbling dilettantism. It don’t make sense, it just don’t.

You write: "Architecture is a plaything for me...even as a topic..."
I think that is apparent. Play somewhere else. There is plenty of room in the "Best Beer" discussion for you to play.

Jun 24, 04 2:00 pm  · 
 · 
Mason White

J Jourden:
I am wondering more about your comments on “Deep Structures”. I do not know of the Chomsky / Eisenman connection. Is there a text or project of Eisenman’s that illustrates this best? But i think you are probably right that Eisenman is the hinge figure in architecture from structuralist to poststructuralist thinking. I mean, the Wexner Center's postmodern allusions to contextual metaphors (the turret) and ambigous geometries (the angled matrix) vary radically from the DAAP only a few years later and its oscillating intersecting plan. But I wonder how his recent work, Staten Island, IIT, Berlin memeorial, etc. could figure in this?

Jun 24, 04 2:07 pm  · 
 · 
BOTS

in clear plain English Post-Structuralism is only a step away from Deconstructionistism.

Jun 24, 04 2:16 pm  · 
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CREAM

woah there. i don't think chomsky and derrida should be used in the same sentence. chomsky mentioned once in an interview that he thought 'of grammatology' was a sloppyt piece of scholarship. trying to connect/ bridge chomskayn linguistics with lit theory is like trying to span the atlantic.i think eisenmann was/is all about throwing around neat ideas that are in vogue, and not really getting anywhere with them. i think it's important for architects to keep abreast of current developments in other disciplines/ areas of inquiry, but when architects try to develope themselvles nothing seems to get 'built' haha get it.

Jun 24, 04 4:47 pm  · 
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the righteous fist

"i don't think this is in the exam" or "why does it matter?"

even if post-structuralism is relevant to architecture, this discussion isn't and if this is what post-structuralism is in plain english, god forbid the architectural ramifications.

Jun 24, 04 8:25 pm  · 
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.dwg

perhaps if i didn't run into the term so often within readings, i wouldn't need to ask about it's definition... it's all a vicious cycle... how it is relevant to architecture? yeh.. the question i ask everytime too...
arch styles/periods seem to be all post-this and neo-that... maybe there is no definition. maybe it's just writers trying to make sense about where our period is going. reaching out to other realms rather than architecture is the only way to explore the range of thought and interests that designers and thinkers are leaning towards.. i think...

but do keep talking.
it's interesting.

Jun 25, 04 12:26 am  · 
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adamlars

Dwg, I think I may take a stab at this, now that the discussion has wound down a bit. I am as far away from undergrad as possible while still having a paycheck like mine, but here is my reductive attempt to define these terms. Structuralism came about in the first half of this century within the fields of linguistics (Saussure) and cultural anthropology (Levi-Strauss). It is essentially a theory of meaning and culture that posits a direct relationship between a symbol and that which it symbolizes. While a symbol, be it a word, a painting, a book or a photo or a suit or a hat, denotes a specific meaning, and at that same time connotes one or more other meanings. A symbol may have many meanings, but that relationship between symbol and symbolized is fairly stable in structuralist thought. I think, but I’m not sure, that early Roland Barthes is a good example of how structuralist thought is appropriated to talk about pop-culture. Post-structuralism questions that direct and stable one to one relationship of meaning, and posits that meaning is not infact stable, but changeable. Foucault talks about how meaning changes in relation to power. Barthes talks about how “reading” becomes as active a pursuit as “writing” in that a reading produces a reading of a text which my produce many more meanings. This point may lend itself to the discussion between Mason and unedited about the difference between the intention of the architect and a reading of his/her work.

So that’s my very concise and very reduced explanation of these terms. I remember seeing a series of books, though I don’t who publishes them, that did a series on “what is…” There’s one called “What is post-structuralism?” But for something that won’t bore you until you want to drown yourself, read Fredric Jameson’s “Postmodernism..” That’s a sweet read, and he’s great at folding in just about everything, including and especially architecture.

Jun 25, 04 10:42 am  · 
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Mason White

righteous fist...
I am interested in your cavalier dimisal of this discussion. I cannot thinkof anything more relevant in architecture (even if more in academia than practice) than the issues between "reading" and "intention" and between binary thought (structuralism) and non-associative thought (post-structuralism). This has been the subtext for several crits i have sat on in schools in US and UK and has been the underlying foundation of various studios. I think it is also at the heart of 'real-wrold' projects as diverse as the WTC redevelopment (all anyone has been talking about is, how relevant is Libeskind's INTENTION since Childs took over) and the role of structure and surface (as opposed to mass/volume) in OMA's Seattle library of HdeM's Prada Tokyo.
Why do you believe that this discussion and issues surrounding post-structuralist thought not relevant? Please elaborate beyon your short comment. Are there other issues that you think are more at stake where you are? I am interested to know.

Jun 25, 04 10:55 am  · 
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