27 September 2011

Week 4: Index

Notes on the Index:

Part 1

  1. Krauss describes the shifter as a device used by Acconci to shift the viewers perception from viewing art to being self-aware. When in architecture is it important to make the user/viewer self-aware?
  2. What is the index and how does it relate to the shifter?
  3. Can architectural photography act as a valid index of space and experience?
    1. In Krauss’s view, this ‘snapshot’ is the ‘readymade’ which in her view is empty. Do you agree or disagree?
  4. Krauss clarifies the idea of the index by Duchamp’s ‘With My Tongue in My Cheek’. In this example, she uses the casting of the face as the index, and the self-portrait as the icon. How can this duality be applied in architecture?

Part 2

  1. Describe what Krauss means when she says a photograph is like a ‘message without code’.
    1. When a text is provided as a supplementary description to a piece of art, does that explanation become one that guides or misguides the audience? Or both?
  2. Krauss juxtaposes the art work of Pozzi and Kelly to help define the index in its immediate context. Is this something that we as architects can liken to the idea of site context? Should our design intent be as obvious as Pozzi’s panintings?
  3. Krauss describes the work of Gordan Matta Clark at p.s.1 as: “bringing the building into consciousness of the viewer in the form of a ghost”, in this example does the building represent the index?
  4. The photograph can be seen as a paradox – “presence seen as past” Explain Krauss’ argument/examples.
  5. Can we use indexing to sub- consciously affect our audiences understanding of our design?

20 September 2011


Visual Certainty – 02 The Agency of Mapping
1) Tufte talks about the importance of scale when mapping or diagraming. How does this apply to us as architectural designers? Does the work we do always need scale?
2) Tufte sets out to separate the diagramming of Loran and Hockney from the mapping of art images by Mossel – he argues that Hockney and Loran are credible because they are explaining something coherent about the image, conversely he speaks of Mossel’s diagraming as “explains everything and therefore nothing”. Would you agree/disagree that as architects we need to be equally aware and critical of our own design processes?
3) Are modern day mapping techniques lacking in innovations? Corner argues that other fields have been progressing while mapping and cartography are stagnant – the focus and standard being tracings vs. representations of place, time and movement.
4) A key term for Corner is the French term ‘Milieu’ meaning; surroundings, medium or middle. He goes on to describe the process of cognitive mapping happens within a field that is encompassing a series of points or interactions. How does this apply to design process at the building scale vs. city scale?
5) Corner goes on to give examples of how mapping can break the barrier of simply tracing. He separate's them into the categories; Drift, Layering, Game-Board and Rhizome. How are each of these techniques different and what are the merits of each?

1. Maps can convey a great amount of direct meaning but can also give a bias towards a certain type of agenda or to make a certain point. In what ways can maps be bias and skew information to make a certain argument or push for a certain agenda?
2. Since maps can convey certain information should they be an accurate as possible depiction of reality or is it OK for them to highlight only certain amounts information that benefit the authors intent. For instance should it be more research like in that you are given all the data and decide yourself or should it paint the picture for you?
3. Tufte said that, “mappings become more credible if constructed independently of a favored result.” How do you construct a map independently of a favored result if the goal is to usually make a point or show something?
4. Is it possible to show too much information on a map? And if so how can it affect the meaning of the authors intent? Can it be damaging to the effectiveness of the map?
5. Does anyone disagree with the fact that mapping should come before planning and if so why?

13 September 2011

Abstraction what is not and is?

Jacob Walker and Roberto Jaimes


1) Under harmful dichotomy abstraction is said to be described in terms of words, but could one say that abstraction can be described in the physical form or art and design?

2) Is abstraction possible without precedent?

3) What is the difference between perception and abstraction?

Does the idea of harmful dichotomy enrich abstraction or cloud it?

4) If a sound is not an abstraction to a blind man, how can a blind man abstract sound?

How can extension presuppose intension? How can intension presuppose extension?

5) James describes confusion as a lapse into an undiscriminating state, where the author argues it is a result of special conditions.

Are these conditioning ideas?

Is there a more valid explanation?

6) Does fusion create or facilitate confusion?

7) If abstraction can be understood as, "A smaller quantity containing the virtue or power of a greater," How can we know if there is still too large or too small a sample to accurately abstract an entity?

8) Do the three difficulties of simply removing elements clarify integrated concepts, or does it simply tell you what a concept is not?

Is it an effective explanation? Can you confidently abstract?


1) What is the difference between genus and differentia?

2) What makes a concept generative?

How do we know a concept is generative?

3) How can concepts be altered to accommodate qualitative differences?

Are qualitative differences always important for abstraction?

4) What comes first, A type or a container?

Can they be reversed? Does on inform the other?

Is the process of generating containers and types happen sequentially?

5)How can we make the distinction between a generality that is intended and a generality that is perceived?

6) What is a concept? How do we know when something has become a concept?

7) How do dynamic concepts allow for a lack of physical continuity?

8) What is generalization? How does it relate to abstraction?

10 September 2011

2011 Discussion Leaders - Chicago

Week 2 - Walker, Jaimes
Week 3 - Wesley, Gozdowiak
Week 4 - Kristo, Gozdowiak
Week 6 - Corbett, Tretow, Webb
Week 7 - Okeson, Burke
Week 9 - Hicks, Burke
Week 11 - Bartlett, Corbett
Week 13 - Bartlett, Tretow, Walker
Week 14 - Webb, Jaimes, Hicks
Week 15 - Okeson, Kristo, Wesley