“Assemblage”, J. Macgregor Wise

Wise acts in response to Deleuze and Guattari definition of assemblage as a concept dealing with the ply of contingency and structure, organization and change. He states that assemblage is not a set of predetermined parts that are then put together in order or into an already conceived structure, not a random collection of things.  Wise himself believes that assemblage is how these pieces come together and break apart that creates an assemblage.

Wise addresses one of the most fascinating Deleuzian concepts: “Assemblages create territories. Territories are more than just spaces; they are a stake, a claim, they express. Territories are not fixed for all time, but are always being made and unmade, reterritorializing and deterritorializing. This constant making and unmaking is the same with assemblages; they are always coming together and moving apart….” he also mentions that assemblage and articulations are two different things; assemblages are not limited to objects, but they are qualities and they use ‘flow of agency’, not power. On the other hand articulation, is the ‘relations among and between elements’. Wise’s essay gives many pertinent examples of assemblages. I especially enjoyed the example of the young woman with her cell phone. Now that is an assemblage we are all familiar with.

Dec 4: Biosystems

December 4, 2009

The concept of coevolution draws our attention to the inevitable interrelationships between entities. Coevolution is therefore an appropriate metaphor to inform our thinking about partnerships in all their forms. Coevolution can defined as a concept within the concept of evolution. Evolution, (from the Latin evolution, unrolling) is the theory which explains the mechanism by which species change and have changed since life first started on Earth. The overall trend in evolution is towards greater complexity and diversity of species. Fitness in the biological sense is about adaptation to the environment, not how strong and fierce a creature is. Kelly argues that we are symbiotic with our technologies, that there is coevolution of humans, nature and technology, and that as our technological environment develops we ourselves evolve and mutate. This provides a stronger naturalistic metaphysics of the new technologies than, say, Jean Baudrillard who has no nature or biology in his theory Rather, for many postmodern theorists, technology becomes more and more a second nature, a new environment, in which technology and nature implode into each other in the creation of synthetic techno-environments and smart machines. While we believe it is extremely important to see the co-evolution of nature, technology, and human beings, we would argue the points differently and would make distinctions that Kelly implodes. Relating this back to architecture , I think it’s in architects hand to make this continual adaptation by the way they design in order for the space and the building to be adaptable and change and not rigid. But how? Is it by resolving the relationship of the space to its environment? As Kelly mentioned “The evolution of a species is inseparable from the evolution of its environment. The two processes are tightly coupled as a single indivisible process”.

“The Ecstasy of Communication”, Jean Baudrillard

What I have found interesting which also relates to architecture was Baudrillard  idea of public and private space. Baudrillard states that through the ecstasy of communication, the distinction of public and private space has been altered by our new networks which result in an individual not being able to “produce himself as a mirror” or an identity, but rather a hub of several different networks . According to Baudrillard, the combination and miniaturization of technology and spaces of life has make the human body useless, now that our behavior is primarily a series of small movements of the hands – clicking over buttons and keys on the computer. If anything is left of the human body it is the brain and its “operational definition of being” – our own miniaturized self – the warehouse of the infinite and first hard drive. The focus on miniature power centers correlates with our city centers, battling urban sprawl by building up rather than out. Baudrillard claims that public spaces are now becoming merely an “ephemeral connecting space” center on consumer consumption: “huge screens upon which moving atoms, particles and molecules are refracted” .As public space now only represents a place of transit and exchange, and private space is being interpolated by the public through this miniaturized and yet vast new network of possibilities, what happens to time? Although Baudrillard calls it “vast leisure time” it is valuable to argue that we’ve merely found more tasks to fill it with. While the efficiency of machines has shorted our work week, and in some ways have made our lives more manageable , our hyperreality comes at the cost of desiring speed to all aspects of our lives, and our need to be constantly filled with a task at hand. Can we say that we live in a stage and time that we are acting and living as machines?