The Crisis of Aesthetic

Behind the Scenes: The Making of my Master's Thesis

  • The Aesthetic of the Machine

    Joseph Raffin
    Nov 11, '13 11:21 PM EST

    My readings of Jean Baudrillard and Francesco Proto about the Pompidou Center have been something that underlies many of my ideas.  He refers to the building as a kinda of monument (or anti-monument) to the ideas of late modernism.  Beaubourg has become a pure object, aesthetisizing the machine.  He describes the building as being unwrapped - an unwrapped object.  The building has been stripped of it's facade allowing it to become solely and expression of it's internal workings as a smooth agent of circulations steps up and across it's facade. 
    The object of the structure has become the sign of the structure as well as the sign becoming the object.  The sign and signified are one in the same.  The building symbolically folds in and out of itself continually. It is almost completely autonomous. There is no reading other than the workings of the machine itself.
    Beaubourg is a daunting expression.  Baudrillard describes it as a machine or thing that devours cultural energy.  Francesco Proto compares it to Frank Ghery's Guggenheim museum as and unwrapped object and a re-wrapped objects.  Ghery's smooth stainless edifice is an attempt to re-wrapped the autonomous language of the Pompidou center.  The wrapping paper can be seen as a present to the world of the new globalist language that the facade insinuates. 
    This instance is seen in many buildings today considered progressive.  Etienne Turpin speaks a little about this in his writing about the effects of the Anthropocene.  The Anthropocene is the current speculative geological age talked about by theoretical geologists.  The aesthetic of stainlessness and smooth buildings may be a reflection of how humans smooth the surface of the earth through our continual technological appropriation of it. 
    It seems likes steep advance of technology erodes our tendencies to be regional and cultural. The following image is a chart.  It maps a curve that indicates the beginning of 113 identifiable architectural styles over the past 8000 years.  As we reach today, the curve becomes nearly asymptotic. It seems like architecture in general has struggled to identify itself over the past 100 years or so.  It could be a reaction to the extreme speed of technology.  Caught up in the autonomous language of the machine, we turn away to identify and find ourselves. We turn away for relief.  Regardless, the machine trudges on, at faster and faster velocities pulling us along with it.
    My thesis is an attempt to speculate on such futures.  Seeing these as problems is a bit self defeating; thus, thinking up solutions may be like trying to fight off tidal waves.  The idea however, is to speculate and investigate, through narratives and both Utopian and Dystopian language,of the future of humans dealing with their inherent desire to define themselves among ever increasing technological velocities.
    I'll be posting some further images next week about some narratives I've been composing that further speculate on the issue.  I've also undertaken some drawings that investigate signs and symbols withing the language of autonomy.  Maybe they might help answer some questions I've had about classical architecture.
    I appreciate the feedback and definitely take comments into consideration. Sorry if the language rambles a bit.  These blog posts are written more or less as trains of thought.

    View full entry

  • The aesthetic of the Machine

    Joseph Raffin
    Oct 25, '13 4:20 PM EST

    I would like to prematurely call my thesis, “the crisis of aesthetic”.  This is because throughout my research I try to deal with the new paradigm and the future of architectural language as the basis of my interests.  The term “crisis” is in reference to a few... View full entry

  • ×Search in:

About this Blog

I am a few months into the beginning of my thesis year at the University of Detroit Mercy. The thesis is an investigation in how dominant culture and technology shape the new paradigm. The blog is a good way of documenting and organizing my thoughts throughout the process as well as sharing my ideas with the Archinect community. It would also be a cool look into the mind of a student working though a thesis. I intend to post images I've been working on and thoughts about them.

Affiliated with:

Authored by:

Recent Entries