The Socio-Temporary in Architecture: Territories of Second-Order Cybernetics

The Socio-Temporary in Architecture: Territories of Second-Order Cybernetics

Sana Murrani (Plymouth University, UK)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/ijacdt.2012010105


The temporary in architecture is a state of territorial instability that emerges out of interactions between transdisciplinary narratives and architectural theory and its practice. This article extends this notion to the socio-temporary, which is a state arising from constant synergies between the social context and worldmaking. Such narratives were originally influenced by the field of cybernetics and later on by second-order cybernetics reflected in the emergent participatory art practice of the mid-twentieth century through transdisciplinary research. Derived from the theoretical underpinning of this article a simulation is exhibited, which illustrates theoretically elements of Varela and Maturana’s autopoietic system behaviour and its close relation to temporality in the worldmaking of architecture. This is a theoretical article – with an element of practice – that seeks to highlight the temporality of the process of worldmaking in architecture.
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Worldmaking And The Experimental In Architecture

In architecture’s recent history, experimentations witnessing the involvement of current transdisciplinary praxis of cybernetics and biotechnology have contributed a great deal to the worldmaking of new design imperatives of semi-natural systems and theoretical discourse in the field. The article explores interim stages of such experimentations theoretically and practically derived from biology and cybernetics, based on the writings of philosophers, scientists and architectural critics such as Nelson Goodman, Francisco Varela and Sanford Kwinter.

The change and development in the media of representation in architecture under the influence of transdisciplinarity accounts for the emergence of various forms of past, present and future design tools, presentation techniques and drawings as well as the experience of architecture as a whole, and this has also been the motivation of this article. Both representation and individual as well as collective experiences of the emerging architectures have a direct impact on the development of the tools of design, generation, and generativity of worldmaking in the field. This is due to the influence of the technological/digital and biological advancements of the current age (Cook, 2008, pp. 177-178). In response this has had a great impact on the way we perceive and conceive architecture and as a consequence our experience of architecture as well as our consciousness is constantly changing to adapt itself to new trajectories of perception and cognition (Rattenbury, 2002, p. 1). The main two strands that shaped this article are: the experimentation of worldmaking in architecture under the influence of the biotechnological age and the territorial relevance of cybernetics on the field. Both strands are at the core of transdisciplinary debates concerning complex systems and technological generation that have contributed a great deal to the dynamism of the architectural system of generation, representation and experience (Kwinter, 2002, p. 11).

The relevance between the ideologies of worldmaking in nature and architecture is immeasurable. Nature like architecture builds entities composed of trillions of interacting components where the number of their interactions increases exponentially with the number of the components themselves and therefore these entities are inevitably complex. However, in architecture this complexity confounds conventional design methods. Thus, superficial attempts to copy nature in which rigid modularity is enforced - for example by claiming a correspondence between cells and bricks – will be certain to fail. Hence architectural design methods must have some kind of basis in natural systems in order to model natural survival, but the outcome of such methods does not necessarily have to be the same as that of nature. In fact, this article focuses on obtaining relevant knowledge from natural systems, analysing it, reconstructing it, and using it to build a new hypothesis, a hypothesis for worldmaking in architecture evoked by experimentation. Nelson Goodman emphasises the necessity of the ideology of worldmaking as a remaking process where making always starts from an existing world (Goodman, 1978, p. 6).

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