Yale School of Architecture
Disheveled Geometries Seminar, Spring 2015
critic: Mark Foster GAGE.
Last year, the focus of this course was on digitally re-inventing the analogue technique of “kitbashing” to, as a class, produce a single large-format 3d-printed prototype that illustrated potentially new territories for architectural form. . . .
image: Graham BRINDLE.
students: Graham BRINDLE & Robert HON.
Kitbashing originally emerged from the hobby of plastic model building, and involved using pieces from multiple model kits, glued together in unexpected arrangements in order to produce objects that seemed strange and otherworldly. This technique was adopted heavily by designers of 1970’s science fiction films such as Alien, Star Wars, Blade Runner and numerous other films that predated the emergence of digital special effects. The 2014 Disheveled Geometries seminar relied on existing forms that were radically recombined in novel and creative ways. For this seminar we will be building on this research, but directing it in more nuanced formal and theoretical directions involving slippages of perception between forms and figures, and figures and content.
Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Judgment outlines how decisions involving aesthetics are conducted separately from decisions involving intellection. The 19th-century art scholar Konrad Fiedler extends this observation and notes that aesthetic judgments occur, in fact, in the brief moment of time prior to a form being recognized and namable linguistically (in Kantian terms “subsumed under concept”). What these philosophically significant observations rely upon is the fact that there is a moment in human perception where a form shifts from being unrecognizable to being recognized as a complete entity, or in aesthetic terms, as a figure. This moment prior to recognition is where aesthetic judgment, for many, is thought to take place—and that once a form is recognized (subsumen), it is then beyond the reach of purely aesthetic judgment—as it has then been tainted by individual ideas about context, linguistics, functions, relationships and expectations. That is to say that you judge a blue vase to be beautiful or not before you linguistically identify it in your mind as a “blue vase,” and understand that its function is to hold flowers. If a form can exist in two states in the human mind—unrecognized and recognized/completed, or in other terms, alien or familiar, then this course assumes that this moment of perceptual shift can be elongated and confused. Given the immense progress in the control of form enabled through computation, we will work under the assumption that architects can now access the flickering zones between these binary opposites in an attempt to produce new languages of the uncomfortably unfamiliar.
This course enlists readings from a wide range of sources including the history of Aesthetics, Object Oriented Ontology, Deleuzian formalism, Deconstruction, linguistics and art history. While the background is theoretical the output is be physical. Accordingly, this course builds on the techniques discovered in the Kitbashing seminar and re-invents them toward stranger, recombinant, and partially figural ends. For assistance we enlist the work of artists and designers from a vast wealth of disciplines to help identify and move forward the techniques that produce these figures that exist on the faultline between the figured and unfigured, recognizable and unrecognizable, familiar and alien.