and now? and now?
and it's 2:30am morning, and I have so so so much to do. I think that I will sleep in the studio tonight. across some chairs. but it is okay. come saturday I will kill a chicken and play tennis with painted balls and send a friend off to geneva. it is okay. I'll walk around in a state of not-knowing-exactly. there is music.
sometimes you're okay and then sometimes a few words will make you spend the rest of the afternoon, wandering and wondering.
post-mortem, midterm reviews for project 3.
I really didn't like what happened with this project, both in the meta-process and in the process. one thing that I've acutely aware of since the start of this semester is the way in which I go about curating my own processes and my own methods. meta-process. and it's funny, this blockage, when it happens, the inability to move forward, and I think I was there for a good week, which set me back. by the time I realized what I really should do, I had a day and a half left.
it's funny, this blockage, this immobility. most of it comes from the paralysis of perfectionism, I think, the dread that choosing a singular path of venturing-forth, a single angle of attack might be a dud, fall flat, not open up with any depth. you go forward and the enormously lush jungle turns into a shallow forest. oceans turn into ponds, mountains turn into hills. or at least, that's how is it for me, and I find myself circling around and creating new ideas, more and more ideas, which are all interesting in their own right but not quite so applicable to what I'm doing. a mosque at the antipodal opposite of mecca, so that anyone can pray in any direction. a building as an acoustic bandpass filter, so that the structure itself performs to hone, focus, tighten. and so on. trying to implement a genetic algorithm, so that the structure I designate mutates and grows and warps, leaps out of the confines of the cupped hands that I created it within, starts to take over the field.
and speaking of scripting, algorithms, generative processes: I'm also acutely aware of the degree to which scripting and 'parametric' architecture (oh, how I hate that word) can leap out and have a life of its own. an algorithmic formalism, so to speak, where the computerized techniques themselves are cherished for what they are. a sort of medium-specificity of parametric architecture that's not borne out of an intrigued distillation and a lustful (and archaic) desire for essence, but rather out of a childish sense of wonder, which is both good and bad. it's: "look, I made this with a computer, isn't this crazy?" encapsulated, which is good for the initial moment of shock, but for nothing else. blobby nonrectilinear organic non-pattered aformal, the surprise of the new. in my opinion, it should be more of a "I sought out to create this, and here it is." or even "I sought out to create a new way of creating this where there is no singular agent, and all objects are subjects" or such.
and so yes I'm really aware of this, very sensitive to that; it is what it is. I also recognize fully that turning recourse to scripting and algorithms is this way of deferring a decision; that, unlike creating endless amounts of study models (like sanaa would, for example), the iterative qualities of tweaking an initial variable and 'letting the program loose' is a little more free, I am absolved of the decisions necessary to make this structure necessarily imperfect and necessarily decided. it is symmetrical, honed, absolute, perfect, untouched, unblemished, and altogether uninteresting. not always, but it can be.
and so when, three days before the final crit, I suddenly switched over to coding this genetic algorithm, I knew exactly what I was doing. it didn't help that my building was initially amorphous anyways, that I wanted it to be like an igloo maker or a snow angel, much less a structure than a technique, or an object that generates a technique.
the initial parameters of the structure was to build a 'cell' for a climatologist operating within for twelve-hour shifts; certain bodily functions such as napping, going to the bathroom, computing, and so on had to be accommodated for, but the cell could only be about twice the size of the body. the eventual cell that I created was a 'deployment kit' for the LTER network, an long-term ecological research network devoted to facilitating long-term research experiments and studies. as such, the cell was supposed to be mobile, low-impact, and formulaic, in order to fulfill the scientist's ability to travel and encompass several different timescales of observation, to not disturb the subject of observation itself, and to create a stable, repetitive structure.
the idea was that the cell would exist over long periods of times -- decades, or centuries, and would be this homogeneous, standardized technology to enable similarly controlled experiments. more importantly was the initial spark of the idea modeled after conceptual art, or the launching manifesto within conceptual art, where tehching hsish says "I will not talk, read, write, or listen to radio or tv", or when bruce nauman says 'press your body against the wall and imagine the wall to be another body pressing back', or something like that. that the building would exist as an initial text out of which everything spirals out of. and as such, a series of statements instructing the creator to do certain things: "place a pole at arm's length", etc, would then end up creating this cell, a) a single repetitive unit, b) created directly and intimately in relation to the creator's body size.
what I didn't really realize until later was that the spark of the initial idea in the projects that I mention comes from the impossibility of the statement, or the deliberate omission of certain conditions. a structure _really_ akin to the 'micro-manifesto'-driven performance art/conceptual art that I mention would be something like: "dig a hole in the ground with your bare hands. stop when you are bleeding from all ten fingernails. The hole you have dug is your climatologist's cell for the next week, or until all your nails are healthy again. move and repeat."
the simplicity of the statement generating loamy, rich, dense ideas and conclusions. a little bit of surprise, a little bit of shock, and then the imagination climbs all over itself to spill out, and you generate an image, and that image itself is part of the structure of the piece, I can see it almost, everyone's heads leaning towards the ground and spilling out various of ideas of what-it-would-be. that's the reason why tehching hsieh's declarations themselves are so powerful, typewritten text on a sheet being magnetically generative. out of that comes everything. I wanted this everything-coming-out, of my project, but did not have such a core.
In addition, having a nomadic/portable structure that hopes to have some sort of emergent form generated from the accumulation of structure is a little bit of a self-contradiction: portability implies a fluidity of physical presence, movability, the parts being easily detached. (that, or the parts that create the structure are found in the surroundings; the same way that a nest is portable and created of scraps from nearby, etc). but emergent form depends on a vast, complicated accumulation of various objects that come together and, through minute differences, create patterns and influences on a larger scale. the collection of various objects that are portable? wasn't going to happen.
and I could go on and on. on and on. in some ways, I'm glad I took this project on, because it taught me (in a meta-procedural way) that I should rein things in, that I should concretize certain constraints not because it's easier that way, or because it's less radical that way, but because kites only fly when they're tethered in just the right way; twin dots on a plane generate ellipses; I feel like much of my project was driven by a desire to have a central conceptual idea hold fast and break through to the end. it's as if I leaned too much on the central core of the idea. part of the interesting stuff comes from the detail, the 'how exactly', the 'what exactly', because I do the 'why' and the 'what' and and the concept too hard, maybe.
and that's not even what I really want to say. that's just the simple obvious stuff. I could go on and on. about the silent appreciation for aesthetics, about the unspoken way in which it functions as a glorifier. and if aesthetics does this and I notice it, what else am I not noticing that is not spoken about? is there a quality of diagramming that I am missing? is there anything else?
there is so much I would like to say but sometimes lately I have trouble taking it out because I worry about the solidity of my words. do you know what I mean? it's not that I worry about saying the 'wrong things'. not at all. it's that I require someone else with a baseball bat, a tennis racket, someone who understands the fluidity and the playfulness of these statements for what they are, I need a dialogue, a game, the thrill of rallying, sparring, someone who I can toss a stone baseball to and who will catch it with their marble glove, someone with whom I can dig deep, a friend, acquaintance, colleague, student, teacher, anybody. but I am also busy, busy, busy, busy, busy.
= happily drained.