Birth of the Manifold

“Technology and architecture have become synonymous. Digital media has become paramount in the practice of architecture, specifically within the context of architectural representation. Consequently, how we design, perceive and experience spatial boundaries has altered. Film production, as a time-based medium, grasps the potential to explore new possibilities of architectural representation and practice within a filmic experience. Since the beginning of the 19th century we have assumed that vision can be explained as a two-dimensional image projected on to the back of the retina, and architectural representation has followed this dogma. Cognitive science has progressed. So too must our concept of architectural representation. It is no longer enough to accept a two dimensional image as a true representation of the environment that we physically occupy.”

“The realm of cognitive science can be seen as a discipline that inherently deals with the virtuality of self and one’s environment far beyond that of line drawings, fly-throughs and digital models. We should look to prominent neurologist Oliver Sack’s definition of the brain, specifically the visual system, as being dynamic and active, and perhaps more importantly malleable and adaptive, desperately seeking a coherent self. The two realms of mind and matter are inextricably linked and belong to one another. The brain autonomously constructs its own sense of self and world. We are on the cusp of a neurological metamorphosis, stipulated by the rules of cortical plasticity. Any change in the cortical order of the visual cortex will, in turn, have a direct effect on the mental order. Experienced self and space will become
reduced to electrical pulses.”

“We now need to look to the rules that guide this ‘dynamism’ of the visual cortex, not the relationship between an object and its environment. Space perception becomes internalised. As the disciplines of architecture and cognitive science become blurred, vision, for architects, cannot be based solely on either localisationist or holistic theories – but rather on one of experience.”

“We need to accept that objects in the ‘real’ world do not project their inherent colours on to our retinal cells. Our perception of colour is based on a combination of wavelength – short/blue, middle/green, long/red. A synaptic connection transfers the stimulus from the retinal cells on to the bipolar cells, which in turn transfer the stimulus on to the ganglion cells and into the optic nerve. Once we as architects are able to choose which neurons are stimulated, diverting them from well-worn neural paths, we can dictate the nature of our surroundings. By manipulating the visual process, entire environments can be constructed and fully experienced, yet be free from physical location: a ‘synaptic landscape’ where each manipulation creates a different space from one individual to another based on their discrete personal experience.”

dan farmer

Categories: Technology, Theory, Video File


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