BLOGGER



Youngest kid of six with an inferiority and black sheep complex, but determined that God saves not just his soul to heaven but the remainder of his manic-depressive life, so others won't say he became a Christian and remained a jerk.


MAIN THEMES

On identity
i won't be transparent before i'm opaque. and you'll get to know me starting from the small things: who my favourite bands are. what kind of movies i like. who are my heroes.

On Christianity
I’m convinced that when confronted with sincere, real love, the Jesus factor will become obvious. But let’s not plant the cross before we carry it. I’m not trying to con you.

On dreams
Some dreams are meant to be achieved. I know that. But maybe other dreams are meant to drive us, privately. Never known to anyone but ourselves.


OTHER THEMES

On melancholy
It is a sadness that, when choosing between crying and sighing, will choose sighing. I'd almost say that melancholy is being sad about sadness itself.

On memory and nostalgia
It saddens me when life moves forward and people decide that certain things are worth forgetting.

On language
I've learnt that the word irregardless is filed as a non-standard word in the English language. That's a lexicographer's way of saying it's not a real word.

On politics
Crowds are fickle things. So when we stand in the thousands and cry against the present government, do we know who we're actually crying for?

On society
People always want the best for themselves. But I want to sometimes take second or third or fourth best, just so that the loser down the road doesn't always have to come in last. It must feel like shit to always come in last.

On growing old
Leasehold property make me feel sad. It doesn't matter how old the family photos are that you put on your wall. It's your family but it's not really your wall.

On philosophy
I ask you, if God loves everyone, and if God is also incapable of loving evil, how can there be such a thing as an evil man?

On a daily basis
One line quips, like this.


CHAT





Wednesday, October 25, 2006




Studying in Delft has its own philosophical disadvantages. One of which is the Burden placed here on the students to question, and to question incessantly, the whole connection between theory and the making of architecture. While that in itself is a pure and noble thought, it seems like the selection of intellectual feed we are given (in terms of readings, tutors and speakers) all point away from the most fundamental thing of all- Truth.

Now Michael Speaks is the new star in architectural talk. He has one tune to sing- Design Intelligence. He argues how the Modernist search for the ideal, and the Post-Modernist search for ideologies, are obsolete, and, by looking into the business world for a new model, we should in fact be pragmatic, and search for plausible truths instead of the fundamental truth. He literally uses Heidegger (who questions the whole built-up of Western metaphysical philosophy) to discredit the search for ideals and ideology.

This morning, he talked about Heidegger and Heidegger's search for the Being of beings. Heidegger was in fact quite close to comprehending the notion of God- he said that we human beings should in fact be responding to the call of the Being to us, instead of asking what Being is (in terms of western metaphysics). Speaks mentioned how another writer writes about this call metaphorically as a telephone conversation. But this writer mentions how the Being retracts when we answer the call, and all we can do is wait for the call again, and the Being retracts again. And I thought about Jeremiah 33:3, and felt really saddened at the whole convoluted notion. The philosophers so sadly do not know the God that responds to their call...I was praying that my friends' minds will be protected from all that rubbish.

So after the lecture, I came down and saw a friend's email on Jeremiah 33:3, and I am heartened...it is so great to serve a living God.

People here live in the desert. It is particularly dry, in architecture, because philosophy and theory is a big thing here. Architects are obsessed with meaning, not only technology and advancement. And the scary thing that Speaks is proposing is the abandoning of meaning and the pursuit of progress. He ended today's lecture with this epitaph: You either have ideology and fall backwards, or intelligence and progress.

So what is this Intelligence, or rather Design Intelligence, that he proposes? He starts by explaining it in terms of the scientific understanding of human intelligence- the brain and its selective connections. He goes on to use the Pragmatism philosophy- Intelligence is keen on creating new plausible truths (as opposed to the search for fundamental truth). Thinking and doing becomes reciprocal, you think and do and think. This is exemplified in the architecture practice through:
1. The creation of scenarios
Let's say you are designing an airport, you need to speculate multiple plausible scenarios that might happen to that airport, for example you think that the airport grows to become international, double its capacity, gets demolished in 20 years etc
2. Rapid prototyping
The idea of testing. Of making lots and lots of models to see if it works.

Now the problem with this whole intelligence thing is that it is so seductive- it is like chocolate, it can give you the high, but it is essentially shallow. What then is the guiding principle for selection? The answer- respond to the market. Just taking great companies operating in the market; eg. Steve Jobs and Apple, Apple was not just responding to the market, it was creating a new market for a product that was, in the beginning, never in demand. This comes down to ideology- Steve was crazy about making the most beautiful and sexy music player that ever was. Ideology drives intelligence. Ideology is not, in my opinion, in opposition to intelligence. Ideology becomes the filter to the noise, the chatter of information, that although intelligence tries to narrow down, it does not narrow down sufficiently for choice, because the premise here for intelligence is the multiplicity of options.

Then there is also the question of ethics. A company which is ethic-less is a company that might play well in the market, but will never make a great company. Great companies thrive not only on clear ideologies, but good ethics as well. Google’s motto of Don’t be Evil lends a lighthearted (yet fundamentally serious) question of ethics to decision-making. Ethics (and of course the fear of God), narrows down again the type of options one can have, and guides towards the final selection.

Now I am hard pressed to believe that the forefathers of architecture, with their search for ideals or ideology, do not engage also in the kind of Design Intelligence described by Speaks. Just because he talks about it now, and uses snazzy words like intelligence, does not mean the process he describes is anything new. It is just given a new name, or given a new boost by technology. The creation of scenarios, for example. Please, architects have always been thinking about multiple possibilities. That is their job.

Replacing the search for meaning with a “Just Do It” philosophy is worrying. It has no meat.

T.B.C.

Tomorrow- Lecture on Eisenman.

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oomoo [ 7:13 pm ]

2 Comments:

  • I think one day, i really want to study architecture. not "how to become an architect" but to be a student of the field of architecture. contrary to your position in this post, balance will mean nothing to me; and opposite to Speaks, intelligence and progress will mean nothing, since it is the idea of architecture that fascinates me. i think one day, i will get really studious about all these things. please recommend me a good book on architectural philosophy for beginners. when shooting is over, i might just go grab it.

    By Anonymous Fergs, at 4:23 am  

  • We study 3 movements
    The Modern movement- grab any book you can find by Le Corbusier. He was the godfather.
    The post modern movement (a.k.a. critical movement)- a heavy dense compilation by Michael Hayes "Architectural Theories since 1968". Or just read any Peter Eisenman book. He applied Derrida's deconstructivist techniques to architecture.
    The supermodern movement (a.k.a. post critical)- not clearly defined landscape. Sent you the Design Intelligence text. Or read Hans Ibelings' "Supermodernity".

    By Anonymous oomoo, at 7:10 am  

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