Wednesday, July 23, 2008

random rant on architectural drawing

i am sick of repeating the cliché that all representation is inaccurate. that it involves a distance between the object and its signifier- the drawing or model. this distance is a necessary but difficult distance, as we are learning in both architectural design and graphics in the second year. for architectural design (the cyborg project where a locust and a light bulb are to meet at the dindoshi sra) the struggle is to be able to look at the concrete fact of a site through the act of mapping and representing a phenomenon. in graphics where flats in rehabilitation projects are to be drawn to understand them as homes,on the other hand the concrete has to find its accurate mode of representation. the presence of the object in its reappearance in another medium (what is the medium of experience?) is naturally fictitious. it’s a fiction whose codes we seem to have agreed upon depending on the utility of the representation. like a working drawing is useful to make a building. the codes are inbuilt within our culture and allow only knowledge of a certain kind to be represented.

but back to the gap mentioned earlier between the real and the represented. i think we are now quite comfortable with this gap. however, when the gap between the real and the represented increases beyond a certain point the representation devolves into an illustration. these illustrations have very little value of their own as independent knowledge generators. they merely replicate information that already exists in text or at the most as a diagram- (and since we are talking architecture- it ends up being abstracted aspatial information) these abstractions are useful, but only as generic understandings of the phenomenon we are trying to map- i.e. pin down to specifics.

after all, doesn’t every phenomenon differentiate itself into specifics when played out in particular space and time. and that has to be drawn. the particulars. somehow the language that is to emerge for this representation does not seem to exist and has to be created- especially if one has to intervene because the intervention exists within a conceptual apparatus working in the concrete- or vice versa.

privileging the concrete would be reducing the complexity of experience down to some base empirical data, while sitting on the ivory tower of abstract thought seems irrelevant to the world. for architects drawing is to help bridge the gap.

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