Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Finding the Frame in an Animation

Since my video clip differs from my classmates for the fact that it is an animation, one with ambiguous spacial definition at that, I have decided to analyze the perceived camera change in one apparently static condition in the scene, studying the necessary changes in the set to comply with the characters' paths.

Thief and the Cobbler

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Autism and Film

I heard this report on PRI and found this video by MSNBC on an experiment using special cameras to track and compare the focal point of persons with autism and persons without during a scene from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf". I think this can be interesting when considering the interactions between viewer/cinematographer/storyline which we are studying in project 2.

Here is the PRI Report and the mp3 of the program

New York Times article on the subject

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My Video of Choice

So to begin on project 2, here I chose a portion of the Richard Williams' animated film, The Thief and the Cobbler. I bought the video of this movie around 1995, my sister dug it back out recently and we've both become mesmerized once again by the great animation and Escher-esque tricks. Out of curiosity I checked out wikipedia to see if I could find out the reason it was not as big a hit as it should have been considering the quality of the animation. Apparently it took close to thirty years to finish, edit, and release it, changing voices, songs, and patrons until the final commercial versions (Miramax's is the most popular) lost quite a bit of William's initial intentions. Check out the history of it here, it's almost as interesting as the film itself.

In this scene the thief has stolen Princess Yum Yum's golden backscratcher and shoe. Tac, the cobbler, chases the thief because he has to finish his work on the shoe and feels obligated to save the belongings of the beautiful princess he's become infatuated with.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Final Sectional Study through Lightning

In this final rendition I applied sound to the animation, which I hope will accentuate the directional perception of the lightning. Ideally this should resemble an open landscape during a storm. I think using headphones might be the best way to listen to this.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Probable Geometries

Reaction to Greg Lynn's "Probable Geometries: The Architecture of Writing in Bodies" in Folds Bodies & Blobs

Throughout the entire essay I kept looking for Lynn to define what writing in bodies means. Obviously "writing" wasn't directly referring only to the layout of words to create a communicative set of symbols. So
I did what my teachers in high school would have asked, I checked the Webster's dictionary. I found one word in all three definitions - composition. If we are to take writing as a method of composition, then we cannot separate architecture and writing as two compositional tactics but must in fact consider them interchangeable ideas.

I'd like to better understand how Lynn determines that "writing is indeterminate, nonideal, heterogeneous, and undecidable... implicitly resisted by exact geometries". I believe writing is extremely ideal in the sense that it is made to compose, to communicate. Writing to me is implicitly rigid, if we were to take the alphabet of a language or the templates of a design, we are given what could be paralleled as exact geometries, although they may not necessarily be shapes, and from these ideals we are able to compose what we wish to communicate. I do not agree with the statements of architecture as static discourse; it is not the the statement that must be active and amorphous, but it is the reaction to the statement.

I also disagree with the statement that "architecture prefers to begin with ideal forms
whereas materials science, food science, geology, astronomy, and the life sciences begin with the amorphous". As a pre-med student at the beginning of college, son of a physician, I do not think the approach to what we consider the exact sciences is much different to the architectural approach. A doctor idealizes his profession as an opportunity to cure disease, to increase the quality of life of his patients. His education begins with the study of the animal kingdom and general biologies working toward cellular and molecular specificity. An architect idealizes his materialized designs as built environments or communicated propositions as a contribution to the development of humanity. His education begins with the history of architecture and the techniques of communicative drawing. Both begin with broad general knowledge and both desire to professionally reach an ideal of contributing to human kind.

Lynn tends to imply that new technologies and architectural developments allow us to find a secret dimension of knowledge when it comes to creativity as if we were incomplete beings before these discoveries. I argue that we are still the same beings as in Egyptian two-dimensional times, we merely have more sophisticated tools to stimulate our abstractive creativity. I do not see any superiority in a student's creation of a blob in a modeling program than in a single curvy line of Oscar Niemeyer's. I am in no position to determine whose shape has more meaning, but I would assume that Niemeyer would be much more capable of making that line a tactile experience, an actual functional edifice. The danger of the student's three-dimensional modeling is the natural inclination to make of the design process an additive process, by adding structure, bathrooms, whatnot, rather than a subtractive process, one that will translate that idealized shape more organically into architecture according to human capability instead of digital capability that is lost in translation during the actual human sensual perception.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sectional Study of Animation

These are my first attempts at sectionally studying the animations I developed before. I tried segmenting the motions with the use of light flashes that would be similar to someone feeling their spacial surrounding through his or her perception of lightning flashes. Here are two renditions and the wireframe of it. I think to ideally create the feeling of lightning I would use a stereophonic or even quadraphonic thunder effect for the person to sense the light and sound reflecting from the shape. Acoustics would be a very interesting additional study to incorporate in the digital creation, interpretation, and experience of space.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I've got videos too

After a lot of fiddling with the settings between the programs, I finally got the exporting/importing/rendering to work. Here they are:

Final Right Side on White

Final Right Side Wireframe

Final Left Side on Black

Final Left Side Wireframe

Final Left Side on White

Some Sexier Images

These are images taken from the lofted lines that I created in the last take. Instead of triangulating the lines myself, I let the computer make some smooth curves for me.

The Hidden Dimension

I think a good complementary counterpoint to the readings surrounding the cognitives of architectural experience is the book The Hidden Dimension, by Edward T. Hall. Particularly useful would be its chapters on the implied spaces of the human body, the thresholds of comfort, and the perception of space and dimensions that are not purely visual or tactile.

Here's a link to Amazon for it

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cognitives of Architecture

Reaction to "Lines and Linearity: Problems in Architectural Theory" by Catherine Ingraham, "Potential Performative Effects" by Ali Rahim, and "Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge" by Alberto Perez-Gomez and Louise Pelletier

I noticed a general attention of the three articles about what I consider the human filter. I guess cognition, vision, interpretation all fit into that. Catherine Ingraham mentions that "architecture depends on the orthogonalities of intentions, creativity, and intuition" and that the "humanist world is mapped rather than constructed". She is bringing about the question of the separation between physical space and perceived space, and the relativity of the world's physical properties considering the necessary filter through the human eye and cognition. I would argue that the mapped humanist world is in fact the constructed world, since, like Ingraham mentions, there is a backward relationship between what is mapped by the individual and what is constructed by the same. According to Ingraham, "we would not have the category of 'real world' were it not for its contrapuntal relation to representation". The line is a highly economical apparatus for our interpretation of the world. In a general perspective, all design is to some extent the human attempt to intellectually and ideally physically organize the world to its ideal linearity. 

I see Ingraham's comment on contemporary theory's suggestions that architecture is as dematerialized as our system of languages and must employ itself as a critique of contemporary theoretician. "Potential Performative Effects" refers to the advances of technology as a tool for design process through the automative processes of technology to create new effects. While the linearity of traditional architecture described by Ingraham is very predetermined, Rahim's "contemporary processes allow for exploration of the possibilities". While our innate characteristic to use lines to determine space perceived and determine space created by lines has led architectural design for most of our history, Rahim argues that contemporary cultural production allows for the future to not be preconceived. I see Rahim's article as an idealized manifesto for what I have noticed to be the gestalt of academic architects looking for organic design processes. The dichotomy between Rahim's manifesto and most academic designs has been the interpretation of the "unlimited potential in the system which [grows] in complexity, [evolves] and [forms] mutual associations between site stimuli and event". Rahim talks of a potential for new architecture that is functionally associated with contextual function, not necessarily aesthetically associated with contextual function. The technologically facilitated architecture should be more organic, alive even, albeit not sculpturally avant-garde  per se. I found the possibilities of ecological specificity, flexible organization, and gradients between extremes the most potentially useful facilitations of contemporary techniques.

I think the aesthetic relation between the supposed organic architecture look and its function relates to Perez-Gomez and Pelletier's observations of the "perspective hinge", since "architectural conception and realization usually assume a one-to-one correspondence between the represented idea and the final building". They speak of the visual necessity to create order and meaning to space, interrelated to music and art. They relate the human attempt at order as the natural characteristic of desire in our souls. To seek what we desire gives us an objective and reason to take action in life. Taking into consideration desire as part of the design process, I cannot hold it against an architect that attempts to symbolize his desire to create an organic contextual building through sculptural means, but I would love to see more architecture that takes advantage of our technologies not only for lustful aesthetics, but for unconsciously perceived functionality since we had not just one but five senses to relate our designs to.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Modeling of Splices

This is the triangulated 3d model of the splices of my serve according to my limbs. The blue planes are my front view, the green are my side view. The video shows how it came about.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Lines and lines

Big Pile o' Stuff

This is the accumulation of all the lines formed by all the relationships I could find in my body, here's how I came up with them:

Vertical lines according to my posture from my feet to my head, blue is the left side, red is the right side

Vertical Lines according to my joints and limbs, turquoise is my right side, yellow is my left side

Horizontal lines according to my joints

Spacing between my hands

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Serve Analysis

Serve Front Video

Serve Side

Serve Front Stacked Splices

Serve Side Stacked Splices

Serve Splices Spaced Out Equally

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Reaction to Lynn's Folds, Bodies & Blobs

Something that crossed my mind through all the talk of static architecture versus dynamic motion based forces - architecture's role in the built environment might just be to be static. The mention of forces and vectors creating attractions for the movement of splines and particles made me wonder why we must translate the spline into a physical object if the spline itself is not physical itself. We could consider the dynamics of the indefinite, or live loads, of a structure to be the spline. The movement of people through a building can be determined by the very static positions of the architecture. The motions that are created imply a space, an interaction between definite and indefinite energy - the static and dynamic. The first part of our project studies the space created during a particular time by the motion of a body. My project analyzes a tennis serve motion. The rules of a tennis match create implied space through lines on the ground. If my foot steps over that line it has crossed a threshold that will penalize me in the match. I did not physically trespass a plane or volume, it is visually and chronologically designed. The misinterpretation that the ability to create a visual aid to understand the implied space created by a body forces us to rethink the shape and constraints of the physical environment is an extrapolation gone awry. A tennis match draws a close parallel to the interpretation of space by one of Prof. Eisenbach's students during her summer course two summers ago. She created planes and spaces with her body according to sticks on the ground. If one were to splice her movements and occupy the space she created through the time of the performance one would have an interesting sculpture that would provide the same information as the performance itself in a different form. Yet, it in no ways implies that we must create a structure that encloses that space. This is a jump that architects often take with their desire to control space and function. The studies of animation and non-static forms can very well be used as guidelines for design, just as the designed form can be used as a guideline for function. Basically, the new technology available to us today provides us more information than ever before, we must now work to analyze and properly utilize this information to design, not just try to replace our analytical abilities to the computer.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

My first optimistically studious reaction to "Animate Form" by Greg Lynn

So I wasn't sure if the idea for these readings is to post my reaction every time I read something but I might as well begin the semester trying to jump-start a nice full rich blog. Also important to note, one reason I am taking this class to get to know the side of architectural design that has left me with many moments of frustration, confusion, and even humor. Every time someone finds out I am an architecture student, they ask, "so what kind of architect are you?" or "what's your style?", or they'll point out some museum by a starchitect like Gehry or Eisenman and ask my opinion. Quite frankly, my first reaction is to say I don't give a rat's ass about Gehry or Eisenman, and tell them that they've created this aura about contemporary architecture that it is all abstract, curvy and supposed to go everyone else's heads because its so beautiful, making the "architecturally ignorant" scared to criticize for fear that they'll show that they've missed some great higher meaning in the blob shape in front of them. I am looking for the potential in all this study of new architectural design in this class. After reading the first of what I'm sure is a line of Lynn's literature coming at me in the coming semester, I was not sure where to start, so I will go in chronological order as I read it.

Lynn mentions the stasis of architecture as a limitation from our technological and intellectual capacities. I agree with the man about the fact that architecture cannot be expected to be permanent. We can not all built the Greek temples of Paestum, can we? For the less fortunate, we really must consider designing "rather than for permanence, techniques for obsolesce, dismantling, ruination, recycling, and abandonment through time." The new wave of sustainability is quickly catching on to this concept which had been used as memorably early as the acropolis of Athens. I disagree in with Lynn when he talks of buildings being flexible, mutable, and differential. I believe that buildings must be adaptable and able to evolve along with its use but I do not believe that a performance envelope that is adaptable to any use is the answer. Lynn phrases this idea in an very pretty manner, but honestly, it is nothing more than a reiteration of principles set out by the Bauhaus, international style, and its free plan with the addition of more attention to sustainability. If it is evident that a generic building was never as successful as it was made out to be, what reason do we have to restore such an ideal? Part of me can't help believing that its just a convenient excuse for celebrity architects to not have to branch out of their trademark style and apply it to any building type. Take the Bilbao Guggenheim, rearrange the interior, and shrink it down - voila - you have yourself a modern house that can be plopped down in any location in the world and still be as obnoxiously intrusive, "unique", and sells for six times the market value.

Greg Lynn makes mention of architecture's relationship with gravity as one controlled by a "central truth: that buildings stand up vertically". From this he extrapolates an entire article moving toward the idea that space and location can be relative to splines, gravitational pulls, and u,z axes. While it is true that there are variable forces on any structure, we cannot ignore the fact that gravity is pulling us down, there fore we must hold our buildings up, a.k.a. vertically. I think there is a deeper connection to vertical construction to human nature that we stand up, and hold ourselves up from collapsing into the ground because of gravity. It is a force that we constantly fight against, but I have yet seen an economically viable horizontally floating building. Gravity is free, might as well use it and stack things on top of each other. As for the idea of stability, Lynn does tell a truth, orbit and rhythm are perfectly feasible methods of stability. For a building to stand it must not be vertical, but does have to be stable, in equilibrium. The Roman arch comes to mind when thinking of equilibrium. The arch is not stable until the keystone is inserted, and the forces are perfectly pushing the elements against gravity. Cantilevers hold members horizontally, but of course with great mass holding the interior side. The analogy of vectors and orbit holding space bring to the problem an extra dimension that is usually a constant. Gravity is the energy used to hold blocks together when they are piled together, but when it comes to holding things together in any other direction that straight down, nothing has enough gravitational pull or natural free energy to create that pull to cancel out earth's gravity. It is one thing to make something visually appear to float or defy gravity, it is an entire other thing to actually defy gravity. 

A big question brought up by Lynn - what to do about the "stigma and fear of releasing control of the design process to software"? Control. I thought this was the main underlying reason all architects become architects. The second definition of architecture in Webster's Dictionary is the "formation or construction resulting from or as if from a conscious act, a unifying or coherent form or structure." Where do we draw the line between having control and not when using a computer? Obviously the computer will not make a critical decision, it will only connect the dots from the information that was ultimately input by a human, so for long is the output from the computer an actual "conscious act"? Lynn goes on to mention that computer output is not organic, it is not nature. I've heard much talk of organic shapes, especially when I visited UPenn just this year. I saw slide after slide of buildings that resemble the cellular conglomerates of plant life in their presentations. There was nothing organic about the design, according to Lynn. If the human cannot create an organic shape, since it is a purely conscious and intentional decision and the computer cannot create an organic shape since it only mathematically calculates a shape from the numbers also intentionally put in, then the blob shape is no more natural or appropriate than a perfect square. I feel like much of the intention behind spline design is to emulate nature, which we often believe uses the most efficient method of design in its creations, but if the blob is not organic or nature, then what is its purpose and advantage over any other traditional shape?

The question of the utility of computer aided design processes ties into Lynn's suggestion of "iterative reduction". Where the architect regains control over the output from the computer is in his power to critically analyze what is in front of him, edit, and reduce to a more concrete and tangible result. There is a dangerously thin line between abstraction and reality when computers are powerful enough to actually give us the information needed to build any ridiculous shape we dare come up with digitally. Digital design can be extremely instrumental in solidifying the central idea of an architectural design. Lynn himself speaks of this thin line toward the end of his chapter, that "in order to bring these technologies from the virtual into the concrete, it is necessary that we first interrogate their abstract structure. Without a detailed understanding of their performance as diagrams and organizational techniques it is impossible to begin a discussion of the translation into architectural form". Amen, brother. That sounds like a pretty good objective for a class named "Advanced Comprehensive Computer Technology in Architecture", I've got to say.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

First Class

Success - I'm giving myself as many gold stars as I like....