Posthumanism, Cybernetics, and Artcrime

Aimee Mullins shows us her twenty four legs.

Further, Stelarc shows us his third arm.

Click through for more info from designboom. Please note, other images in this article deal in a surgical way with Stelarcs body. Youre an adult, you know if this is going to be too much for you or not. Its not anything too horrid, but dont say I didnt warn you.

Click through for more info from designboom. Please note, other images in this article deal in a surgical way with Stelarc's body. You're an adult, you know if this is going to be too much for you or not. It's not anything too horrid, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Find more Stelarc interviews here and here for the interested.

And finally, in an attempt to frame the escape from the human body in it’s most extreme terms, the artcriminals of David Bowie’s (wildly uneven) Outside commit guerrilla back-alley surgeries (and finally a murder) in the name of art.

Of course, the producer of  Outside… was the now inescapable Brian Eno.

But what brought this all up? Through a link from my tutor, Shaun Murray, I found Aimee, which reminded me of other work I’ve seen dealing with the possibilities of cyborgian extension of the human body, which was exactly the direction in which I was headed already.


Lavender Memories

I wanna walk you up lavender hill,
Everybody loves lavender hill.

-The Kinks

Here is my first thinking through of the ideas of ecology as pertain to the interrelated parts of a system, and our site on Lavender Hill.

Lavender Hill

This is very much a first draft. Heh – a lot of work for one, but there’s might be more that it needs…

Looking forward to wherever it goes though.


Our first week of school in September was a four day workshop with the incredible Perry Kulper of the University of Michigan We learned about the concept of design method being something controllable. Perry has identified at this point fourteen methodologies that can be seen as techniques for design, and maybe there are more. There are plenty of us who would love to see a book. I’ve seen subject monographs on less.

We were asked to work exclusively within one of four methodologies – analogy, appropriation, gesture translation, and syntactical notation. Knowing that strictly adhering to an appropriative method is the thing I’d be least likely to do, and that I am here to challenge myself, appropriation is the method I picked. So we were to design a motel on the site of one of three Edward Burtynsky photographs… So, fellow-Angeleno Mauricio Espinosa and I put together some ideas.

First – the strict appropriations. A different Burtynsky photo, the festival of Holi, Joseph Beuys’s Pack, Yves Klein, and Coop Himmelb(l)au all came together as a free associational formal / conceptual melange.


After talking to Perry, we decided to edit the number of ideas and hone in on them. We wound up creating a narrative of cheese. Ha – the sleds in Pack became these autonomous roving units with a “transformative machine” on the bottom that turned the oily range into cheese. The landscape beyond was a promised land of cheese, and cheese was used as a principal building block and currency, so the motel was full of cheese and has three sides with cheesy facades.

Ship-MDEDM tiny

Needless to say, our final presentation went swimmingly. And with a story like that, why not?

So – this was about 4 days – three days of work really – and we cranked out some very serious thought and had a lot of fun getting into the mindset we’ll need to keep on this year.

And many thanks to Perry for an incredible boot camp of how to be a great designer. It was an incredible way to start my studentship here.

The Eco-Pod

Check out this post over at NextNature for an interesting proposal from Boston architects Höweler+ Yoon to rehab disused buildings through giving them over to micro-algae based energy production, etc.

Check out more at NextNature and at Howler + Yoons Website.

Check out more at NextNature and at Howler + Yoon's Website.

I had seen this before, but I didn’t know that in the pursuit of archi- of the -viva I’d take such keen interest in it. Very nice though. Finally something that’s starting to get at the nature of an actual LIVING ARCHITECTURE.

Slime Mold and Other Delights

Our Tuesday lecture this week was by Rachel Armstrong on the subject of her very interesting work that bridges the gap between biology and architecture.

To oversimplify, she told a quick version of the story up to this point. Amongst other ideas, she linked electronic computation, the manufacturing processes of DNA material, biological formalism, and design part of the a short-sighted view of “nature” and its usefulness in architectural pursuit. She then said that this was all a bit trifling as compared to what will come next… And for that – let me be the first to say that a new manifesto of Living Architecture will be unveiled by herself and her team – including Neil Spiller – on November 4th. I’ve seen the talking points, and it is incredible.

She spoke of the different architecturally significant properties exhibited and used by some “lower” life, such as slime molds. Their non-hierarchical, self organizing properties reminded me of an animate version of the rhizome, only because I am in the midst of reading about them in a different context. That’s not to say it’s not a helpful mental analogy, even though not literal. She also spoke about the compelling features of Diatomic Algae, Bryopsis Algae, Coralina, Blue Green Algae (“Living Rocks”), bacteria, and of Proto-cells. She spoke of the robust nature of these forms of life, and how they are not controllable, but only persuadable…

I am being willfully cagey here, I want to let Rachel et al have the thunder when they unveil this thing in a couple weeks. I’m excited to see the new manifesto let loose on the world.

Once you start looking, there are so many starting points for the architectural ramifications of these forms of life that it’s staggering that no one has begun to explore them before now. And it’s heady, exciting, and almost intimidating that we get the chance to be fairly early explorers.

From the metaphysical implications to the structural and ecological, I am also excited by what these life forms imply and admit as generative concepts in the process of architectural examination and synthesis this year.

Robotic Skin Pseudopods

Not living architecture, but motile nonetheless. And it’s interesting that it works by a concept of deformation akin to – or at least parallel to – the locomotion of simpler animal life, rather than trying to replicate muscle/bone contraptions to move. Turn up the resolution, and this thing could be quite adaptable at crossing terrain and negotiating obstacles.

Plus, it looks sort of gross – and that’s always good in the advanced sciences, isn’t it?

Edit: Someone on the comments section of the boingboing entry where I found this turned me on to the Rover. Score one MORE for Sci-Fi.

What if God Was One of Us?

If God didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent him.


Our nature as a species groping its way through space-time and sentience as best we can is to ascribe the most abstract and challenging concepts outside ourselves. Since something “lesser” than we obviously could not create something beyond our ready comprehension, there must be something greater.

I am not saying I believe in God, I am not attacking your belief in a higher power. The nature of how we attempt to understand our own existence is hand-in-glove with how we presence our existence. It is in this relationship that I am exploring.

I am a Masters of Architecture in Architectural Design candidate at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, England. This blog is a chronicle of my time in this program, whose theme this year is “Living Architecture.” Hence the Archi and the Viva. [just surprised the name wasn’t taken]

I’ll start you off with one good link to how design and our metaphysical self-deprecation come together through the comprehension of our own power as designers.

I hope to foster some meaningful and fun conversations and most of all make some great architecture this year. And I hope you join me in the pursuit.


p.s. If you like this, check out my regular blog over at The Zero Of Form. It might take a bit of a backseat this year, but I’m still there. -d