ENGAGEMENT NOTES

GUT, TOE:

Two levels, deep and shallow, two styles of analysis: fox and hedgehog

Architecture uniquely (?) straddles them, as it is in the world, but makes a world

Syntactic, symantic

Eisenman, venturi/koolhaus

Gestalt/topology, culture

We think of the deeper level, the syntactic level where epistemology rules, as accessed only by value neutral thought systems like mathematics or logic, and names like Russell and Whitehead come to mind. But there is also the example of Heidegger, whose interest in Being is as deep, but who accesses this terrain through poetry and language.

 

Rorty-metaphor as way to innovation

We keep returning to the idea of architecture as a language because it is natural to do so: to an entity who expects meaning in everything it sees, attuned to reading everything, whether as a survival skill or amusement, architecture’s emphatic presence alone sets it up for this expectation. But of course its more: as an intentional act, accomplished with great effort and expense, it piles on the expectations. This says less about architecture though than it does about that entity, and perhaps that entities relationship to architecture. [reading vs affect?]

See rorty on H. (immerse before continuing, to understand what this is all about) and his discussion of metaphor as the way language expands, relate to discussion of Shakespeare and how expansion of language leads to expansion of thought, consciousness, experience.

How does this work in architecture? From rorty relate distinction between meaning and use, and how metaphor actually belongs to use; what is related architectural phenomenon?  How can this relate to idea of architectural novelty, expanding its universe? Talk about difference between “formal” utility or use, and programmatic or functional use. Distinguish between use as rorty and others in philosophy “use” it and the architecture misrepresentation of it as “function”—ie introduce new, more productive sense of use into the discourse that is more aligned with the philosophical sense and less related to the traditional architectural flattening of it into the hygienic concerns of functionalism, which rorty/Heidegger  would relate to the Husserlian scientization/mathematization…

All of which becomes a way to introduce “engagement” as the preferred way of relating to architecture, over affect/mere experience/contemplation.

  1. we are obsessed these days with a sense of novelty and progress, that excuses the former on the basis of a presumption of the latter; what do we value of about this novelty? Does it operate on the level of “meaning?” does it really extend architecture’s envelope in the way that rorty claims of metaphor?

1 What do we mean by “meaning” in architecture?
2. What does rorty mean by “meaning?”
3. How is the interest in affect a challenge to the traditional interest in meaning in architecture?
4. How does this then bring us around to rorty/davidsons discussion of use?
5. How can their sense of use be understood in architecture? Can use in that sense be put forward as a standard of judgment for architecture? Can we call it engagement to distinguish between in and functionalism?