Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Conference at The Universidad Rafael Landivar

Gabriel Esquivel has been invited to participate in their week of Architecture and Design, discussing on the topic "Seriality and Aura". The conference will take place from February 28th to March 2nd, 2008 at the central campus in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

In. Form. A Healing Emotional Surface

A Fabrication and Prototyping project for Healthcare. The Ohio State University. Department of Design. In collaboration with NBBJ.
Critics: Heike Goeller and Gabriel Esquivel.
Student Team: Sarah Bowie, Megan Casey and Abbey Melsheimer.
The idea behind the project was to produce a series of performative surfaces, first and second surfaces that can produce emotional effects as healing atmospheres. The idea was to use the latest in information technology, reactive and security technology along with fabrication and material technology. The collaboration with NBBJ helped us understand the present needs in healthcare in terms of patient’s care, caretaker operations and needs as well as an understanding for the lack of attention that exist in the industry’s production of not only equipment but healing environments in companies like Hillrom etc. These performative and emotional surfaces will help the control of the patient’s vital signs, development, communication needs as well as their induction to a relaxation mood, conducive to wellness. The first step was to present the study using rapid prototyping and the a vacuforming process for the larger prototypes. We will use our own molds from a variety of materials depending on the complexity of the geometry, coupled with the number of parts the mold is expected to produce. The molds will be CNC-Machined from a range of materials including MDF, Tooling Foams or Aluminum. We will employ a cut-sheet method for vacuforming with a blank that will measure up to 4’ x 4’. Using SLA resin and different plastics. In order to produce differnt atmospheres we will analyze the affect produce by different colors, light effects and sound.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dance+Motion 1. Flirtation

The Ohio State University. Department of Design. Luis Barragan Installation. Wexner Center. Columbus, Ohio.
Student: Adam Behm
Critic: Gabriel Esquivel
Luis Barragán, is an architect really close to my tradition, however instead of reading his work formally we looked for effects, repressed emotions and atmospheres. We were looking specifically for an aesthetic of affect and excess inspired by readings of George Bataille.
In Barragán’s work the fluctuation experienced from one space to the next gives the subject the sense of non-uniformity within the house, and awareness that specific “atmospheres” attempt to evoke different emotions and senses. Each atmosphere has inherited qualities of light, color, sound, and function. Populations of objects, art and furniture interact with the physical form and ambient effects to produce qualities of sensuality, pleasure, intimacy, spirituality, etc
Conatus, (Latin: an exertion, effort; an impulse, inclination; an undertaking), is a term used in philosophy to refer to a few different theories on psychology and metaphysics. Over time, the meaning and use of the term conatus has evolved, having been defined by Cicero, René Descartes, Thomas Hobbes and Baruch Spinoza. This concept has been used to describe the tendency of objects to move, and was associated with God by Descartes, then the motion of other bodies by Hobbes. Spinoza took the term to explain the motion of humans and living beings and their will to live. In all of these interpretations, conatus is associated with nature, and a body's inclination to follow what is natural or God's will. Conatus is a term in early physics describing the property of inertia which was described in Isaac Newton's “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica” of 1687. In 1677, with the publication of his Ethics, Spinoza almost predicts this theory: "By striving for motion we do not understand any thought, but only that a part of matter is so placed and stirred to motion, that it really would go somewhere if it were not prevented by any cause.” Motion is then essentially a violent act, as the reactive is a violent opposition to the active. The motion that was imparted through the dramaturgy of the radical surface, has ruptured the connection between what is aesthetically pleasing, to that which produces affect. This affect in culture needs to offer an argument of sensibility that implies a much more careful understanding of the rejection of mood and atmosphere, as these forms can act as representational expressions rather than emotive. Repetition affects motion, and motion then is the catalyst of progress and the building blocks of history. Gilles Deleuze pronounced repetition as being “the thought of the future” (Deleuze 7). Is it then so radical to propose a new form of expression that is repetitive, as it is the most necessary component of modernity?
Deleuze writes of a new theatre, one that is different from the ones put forth by Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, in that, “ is a question of producing within the work a movement capable of affecting the mind outside of all representation... of substituting direct signs for mediate representations; of inventing vibrations, rotation, whirlings, gravitation, dances or leaps which directly touch the mind.” (Deleuze 8) This is the claim for a new operative emotion, as the theatre of repetition is the production of active and reactive in the pursuit of affect, or the conatus. This new condition we will refer to it as theatricality or dramaturgy, it links you directly to nature and a history with a language that speaks before words’, where new relations and metaphors are possible. This is a theatre of movement, not of representation. It is then this theatricality or dramaturgy that achieves an affect within the spectator. The role of the spectator is now paramount in quantifying the experience of a work, as it through the sensations achieved within that promote the work's producer.
In his discussion of Nietzsche's evaluation of the Wagnerian opera, Deleuze writes that, “In the theatre of repetition, we experience pure forces, dynamic lines in space which act without intermediary upon the spirit, and link directly with nature and history... with masks before face, with spectres and phantoms before characters – the whole apparatus of repetition as a 'terrible power.' ” (Deleuze 10) Theatricality, or dramaturgy, then is this 'terrible power' hypothesized by Deleuze, that creates a new affect which directly takes the viewer in a way never before realized.

Dance+Motion 2. Seduction

The Ohio State University. Department of Design. Luis Barragan Installation. Wexner Center. Columbus, Ohio.
Student: Adam Behm
Critic: Gabriel Esquivel
Gallery2. Atmosphere of Seduction, heat and surrender. Inspiration: threshold at Barragan's house between the library and vase courtyard.

Dance+Motion 3. Arousal

The Ohio State University. Department of Design. Luis Barragan Installation. Wexner Center. Columbus, Ohio.
Student: Adam Behm
Critic: Gabriel Esquivel
Gallery 3. Atmosphere of Excitement, emotion, arousal and lighting contrasts. Inspiration Luis Barragan's Giraldi House Foyer.

Dance+Motion 4. Climax

The Ohio State University. Department of Design. Luis Barragan Installation. Wexner Center. Columbus, Ohio.
Student: Adam Behm.
Critic: Gabriel Esquivel
Gallery 4. Atmosphere of Climax, sexuality and passion. Inspiration Barragan's house foyer.

Dance+Motion 5. Relax

The Ohio State University. Department of Design. Luis Barragan Installation. Wexner Center. Columbus, Ohio.
Student: Adam Behm
Critic: Gabriel Esquivel
Gallery 5. Relax. Atmosphere of sound, wind and satisfaction. Inspiration Barragan's gardens

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Furniture Fabrication Studio. The Ohio State University. Department of Design.
Critics: Heike Goeller, Gabriel Esquivel, Robert Strouse.
Students: Kylie Karagiorge, Emily Cole.
This studio ivestigated the use of computer numerically controlled production processes. These processes offer a method of fabrication, the production of furniture in this particular case or the manufacturing of building components directly from 3-dimensional computer data in this case Rhino was the software of choice, that allows the introduction of differentiation into mass production. This course focused on the development of repetitive non-standardized objects through both material study and an investigation of logics logics available through the computer process.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ornament 1. Discussion

By Gabriel Esquivel
“We never find a useless or superfluous ornament; every ornament arises quietly and naturally from the surface” Owen Jones
Nearly one hundred years after Adolf Loos connected "Ornament and Crime," the role of ornament in architecture continues to be questioned. Although Loos argued distinction between ornament integral to the design and decoration as applied-expression, the divide between the two was marginalized with the proliferation of Modernism. As form followed function and less became more, Modern architecture developed as a study of reduction. Loos' exception for ornament through material, fabrication and making was blurry compared to the stark philosophy that all ornament was crime. At present, new materials and fabrication processes are available to architects and designers who are utilizing form and structure far beyond historic possibility. Methods integrating digital media and technology, such as Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines and parametric studies, have taken even the most traditional materials of steel and glass towards new construction previously unimaginable. These architecture forms, while integrating overall design, stand in direct contrast to the austerity of the 'box.' The question is posed as to how ornament is currently defined and understood within contemporary architectural practice.
In architecture, ornament is decorative detail on buildings. In a 1941 essay the architectural historian Sir John Summerson called it "surface modulation" (Summerson 1963). Ornament has been part of the tradition of architecture at all times and places in human history. During the19th century, the acceptable use of ornament, and its precise definition, became the source of aesthetic controversy in academic Western architecture, as architects and their critics searched for a suitable style. "The great question is," Thomas Leverton Donaldson asked in 1847, "are we to have an architecture of our period, a distinct, individual, palpable style of the 19th century?" (Summerson) In1849, when Matthew Digby Wyatt viewed the Exposition of agriculture and industry set up on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, he disapproved in recognizably modern terms of the plaster ornaments in faux-bronze and faux wood-grain: Both internally and externally there is a good deal of tasteless and unprofitable ornament... If each simple material had been allowed to tell its own tale, and the lines of the construction so arranged as to conduce to a sentiment of grandeur, the qualities of "power" and "truth," which its enormous extent must have necessarily ensured, could have scarcely fail to excite admiration, and that at a very considerable saving of expense. (1)
Contacts with other cultures through colonialism and soon the new discoveries of archaeology expanded the repertory of ornament available to revivalists, until its sheer variety became burdensome; after about 1880, photographic illustration made details of ornament even more widely available than prints had done. There were two available routes from this perceived crisis. One was to attempt to devise an ornamental vocabulary that was new and essentially contemporary. This was the route taken by architects like Louis Sullivan and his pupil Frank Lloyd Wright or the Spanish Antonio Gaudí. Art Nouveau, for all its excesses, was a conscious effort to evolve such a "natural" vocabulary of ornament.
Another latter approach was militantly urged by architect Adolf Loos in his 1908 manifesto, translated into English in 1913 and polemically titled "Ornament and Crime", in which he declared that lack of decoration is the sign of an advanced society. His argument was that ornament is economically inefficient and "morally degenerate” and that reducing ornament was a sign of progress. Modernists were eager to point to Louis Sullivan as their godfather in the cause of aesthetic simplification, dismissing the knots of intricately patterned ornament that articulated the skin of his structures.
Within the work of Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus through the 1920s and 1930s, lack of decorative detail became a trademark of modern architecture. Lack of architectural ornamentation became equated with the moral virtues of honesty, simplicity, and purity. In 1932 Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock dubbed this the "International Style". What began as a matter of taste was transformed into an aesthetic mandate. Modernism became the only acceptable way to build. As the style hit its stride in the highly-developed postwar work of Mies van der Rohe, the canon of 1950s modernism became so strict that even accomplished architects like Edward Durrell Stone and Eero Saarinen could be ridiculed and effectively ostracized for departing from the aesthetic rules.
At the same time, the law against ornament began to come into serious question. "Architecture has, with some difficulty, liberated itself from ornament, but it has not liberated itself from the fear of ornament," Summerson observed in 1941.
One reason was that the very difference between the argument of ornament and structure is subtle and perhaps arbitrary. The pointed arches and flying buttresses of Gothic architecture are ornamental but structurally necessary; the I beams columns of the Farnsworth House International Style skyscraper are integral, not applied, but certainly have ornamental effect. Furthermore, architectural ornament can serve the practical purpose of establishing different signs and these useful design strategies had been outlawed. And by the mid-1950s, modernist figureheads Le Corbusier and Marcel Breuer had been breaking their own rules by producing highly expressive, sculptural concrete work. Continues in next blog.

Ornament 2. Discussion

Cont. The argument against ornament peaked in 1959 over discussions of the Seagram Building, where Mies van der Rohe installed a series of structurally unnecessary vertical I-beams on the outside of the building, and by 1984, when Philip Johnson produced his AT&T Building in Manhattan with an ornamental pink granite neo-Georgian pediment, the argument was effectively over. In retrospect critics have seen the AT&T Building as the first Postmodernist building. Now, in the 21st after the Postmodernist historicisms, we are looking back at ornament and understanding the integration with structure, the classic paradigm but viewed with a new technological eye. This exploration into “ornamented surfaces” becomes an important quest for contemporary architecture. "A surface is an architectural device whose architectural affects come from the fact that it erases a tectonic history of the discrete elements of the wall, network or landscape. It has a topological capacity." (2) Until the discipline becomes expert, in those not as metaphors, but as real architectural symbols, or a condition of hyper-indexicality, there will not be any new research. The goal of the “critical surfaces” is to create a point of departure from “performance surfaces” to give insight into the role of digital media in architecture that goes beyond its use for presentation and to give a better understanding of the full implications that the incorporation of digital media has for architecture in the broadest sense. In order to avoid falling into the trap of displaying merely the aesthetics associated with digital media, the role of the digital architect should be to address the broader context in which the use of digital media in architecture is situated. It should address specific ways in which experimental architects make use of digital media, what effects this has on architectural production and architectural form, and how this relates to today’s rapid and complex cultural transformations. Performance as a paradigm for architecture moves the attention away from the static object and towards a complex and dynamic plane of relations. It focuses not on architecture as a static art form but on its effects that transform culture: architecture as cultural production. However, even beyond performance, critical surfaces understand architecture, technology and culture not as separate and isolated elements, but as elements interrelated through complex feedback loops, by which they simultaneously affect each other. Ornament in a surface has the capacity not only to perform but to produce a specific effect and emotion but has a direct impact on the one experience it. Footnotes 1. Summerson, John, 1941.Heavenly Mansions 1963, p. 217 2. School of Architecture Website. Yale University

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Urban Inn.

Fourth Year Studio. Department of Design. The Ohio State University.
Student: Clint Zehner
Critic: Gabriel Esquivel
The project was a transformation and a redirection of the prototype with normative tectonics of a motel or city economic hotel that can be applied as a brand that could operate in any global context, as long as there is a specific infrastructure to support it. It could be viewed as an envelope/surface to be inserted within existing infrastructure. The project started by studying certain typologies starting from the French Hotel all the way to any contemporary motel like a Howard Johnson’s, Red Roof Inn, or Holiday Inn. The change of references between the typological representation; to a new hyper-indexical topology with two performing systems one structural derived by a scripting operation and a soft one derived by analog atmospheric effect studies.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Aesthetics. A discussion.

Fellini's 81/2
By Gabriel Esquivel and Josiah Weinhold
Immanuel Kant, the great promoter of morality in Western thought, vehemently denounced the visual arts as being inferior to books, in their capacity for stimulating the faculties of reason. Kant's arguments concerning beauty, deal with the subjectivity any representation of nature inherently implies. A claim to beauty, must then address the faculties of sensation which are definitively disinterested with regards to reason. Gilles Deleuze describes this interaction within Kantian theory writing, “In aesthetic judgment the reflected representation of the form causes the higher pleasure of the beautiful . . .the higher form here does not define any interest of reason: aesthetic pleasure is independent and both of the speculative interest and of the practical interest and, indeed, is itself defined as completely disinterested.” (Deleuze 47) It is then the works relation to the world around it, not solely to itself, that attains significance within the faculties of reason. One could pose the question of, “where is the place for affective atmospheres that operate in an absent space” within Kant's critique? For Kant, aesthetic beauty is a condition that is justified through interpretation, or judged through the work's representation of nature, which holds moral precedent. Contemporary art critics still employ Kantian ideas with regards to the promotion of significance over sensation, as there is no popular dialectic for quantifying the affect of atmospheres or moods upon the viewer. It is the imagination then, that quantifies these sensations and allows the mind to be affected by the mood or environment of a work. No method has yet been theorized to account for this cognitive interaction and the significance that is placed upon the work for affecting these changes within the viewer. It is necessary then to explore the different relationships between aesthetic and cultural notions of beauty and how the art concerned with affect could reshape these ideas within the digital realm.
In Western society, the notion of “what is beautiful” is a critical component in the machinery of commerce. Beauty, in turn is a critical aspect of art, as it justifies the works significance. Jacques Derrida confirms this assertion by writing, “if a work of art can become a commodity, and if this process seems fated to occur, it is also because the commodity began by putting to work, in one way or another, the principle of art.” (Derrida 162) Derrida's assertion relates to the necessity of the commodification of art, as the beautiful is an object of desire. This in turn, powers the machinery of the art world. It is this artificiality that many of the Pop artists, especially Warhol, were addressing by presenting their own work as an already commodified product, one that was brought about through the use of industrial process'(Warhol's screen print method). In his book, Beauty and the Contemporary Sublime, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe writes that “the art world mirrors the larger one rather than providing an alternative to it... One may further say that the contemporary art world is by and large an economy (with more than one currency) that pretends to be Nietzschean . . . but is, in fact, Hegelian. The discourse in charge of contemporary art world discourses is a new – original but not disinterested- application of Hegel.” (Gilbert-Rolfe 41)
The present amalgamation of the art world operates as a Hegelian system in the sense that a product is put to work, in the figurative sense, to effect progress. The affect of the work is then lost as the mechanization of the work within the system diminishes the affect of the sensual elements. The Hegelian system poses a predetermined set of catch-phrases and allusions to other prominent artists to validate the work's significance. In the same breath, the notion of the beautiful is replaced with these preconceived metaphors that do not allow for the works own affect to be a relevant determining factor of sublimity. Gilbert Rolfe continues writing, “(the present art world) has substituted for the art object and the aesthetic a cultural object meant and judged as an articulation, through a rhetoric obligatorily that of demystification or appropriation, of a historical, or nowadays, anthropological (i.e., Hegel inverted and apologetic) idea, as image, of the spirit of the age.” (Gilbert-Rolfe 41).
The “principle of an art” then serves as an industry, one that “Post-modernism has replaced the ends of art with the end of art, art after art which does without art, its origin to be found in that which it no longer deems necessary.”(Gilbert-Rolfe 43) The goal of this new form would not be an art that would erase the past in search of the new, but as the concern for affect commits the art to the senses, the notion of the beautiful is nullified as the “principle of an art” is substituted for the sensual. This phenomenon can be attributed to the growing dehumanizing nature of our culture at large, as the arts move further and further towards digitalization. Artists that rely on various new technologies to amplify the significance of their work often forget to include the fundamental aspects that truly affect the viewer and give the work validity. This problem necessitates a new set of techniques that can be applied within the digital space in order to provoke through the sensuality of the surface. As a new form can reinterpret the human and various forms found in nature within a digital space, a critical link is being created that must address the nature of both the absent (digital), and the present (our world interpreted through the sensory organs). Even though these new works are produced within a space that is radically different from our own world, they can still retain the human element and become something more than just a digital reproduction. Affect is then achieved, as our culture has become used to the rampant digitalization of our world. The form being depicted within the digital space can then have more of an affect than the original, as the reference is implied but not explicit, thus causing the imagination of the viewer to amplify the affect of the original and create a new experience.
Many works, such as the Intractable Avant-Garde and notable abject art from the Byzantine, era rejected the notion of beauty in order to affect a different emotion from the viewer; whether it is the presentation of a new aesthetic dialog or to induce piety, respectively. The problem inherent in the notion of the beautiful and the ugly is found in their representational aspects, as what is beautiful is not the work itself, but rather, what the subject of the work represents. In a truly non-representational mode of art, one that creates a new affection through the radical surface of the work, the piece creates its own beauty through the various provocations it employs. Arthur C. Danto, in his book The Abuse of Beauty: Aesthetics and the Concept of Art, cites David Hume’s assessment of beauty, as Hume writes, “In many orders of beauty, particularly those of the finer arts, it is requisite to employ much reasoning in order to feel the proper sentiment; and a false relish may frequently be corrected by argument and reflection. There are just grounds to conclude that moral beauty partakes much of this later species, and demands the assistance of our intellectual faculties in order to give it a suitable influence on the human mind.” (Danto 91) Through the use of these mental faculties beauty retains a moral precedent, and is then open for debate upon its cultural significance, and not its affect on the viewer. If the work affects through provocation on the senses, the reverberations of the aesthetically beautiful are relevant as the work is separate from representation. These new works affect as a reinterpretation of the subject/object dynamic just as they reinterpret the subject of the work within a digital space.
Continuing his critique of Hume, Danto writes, “(I)t would have helped immensely had Hume been able to distinguish between aesthetic beauty and what we might call artistic beauty. It is aesthetic beauty that is discerned through the senses.” (Danto 92) It is this later quality of beauty that this new form is expressing as the radical surface of the art concerned with affect achieves its purpose through the various aesthetic qualities expressed in the work. It is beauty judged not through the mind, but through the affect upon the senses. A notion such as this is an extreme departure from the notion first posed by Kant that the faculties of reason within the human mind hold precedent over all others.
The articulation of beauty within a person’s consciousness is only validated, according to Kant, by thought, who states, “the mind is made conscious of a certain ennoblement and elevation above the mere sensibility of pleasure received through sense, and the worth of others is estimated in accordance with a like maxim of their judgment.” (Danto 40) Beauty, then represent a shared ideal, much like morality or codes of ethics, that from every instance must be judged according to a shared set of rules or laws. Within our society, beauty, and the notion of beauty is intertwined to various social and ethical dogmas, ones that must be upheld if order is to be maintained. Through film, the notion of what is beautiful is reinterpreted from an aesthetically pleasing image to the movement of the image creating an erotic experience which is seen as beautiful by the viewer or by the characters within the film. Such a scene is seen in Federico Fellini's 8 ½. In the scene with the Saraghina(image above), who dances for the boys from the parochial school on the beach, the crucial element is not the beauty of the woman, but the erotic experience, the aura that she creates for the boys. The Saraghina is neither beautiful nor a fantastic dancer, and it is only through Fellini's brilliance as a filmmaker that imbues the grotesque features of the woman, combined with the suggestive movements of her body to create an aesthetically beautiful impression, why could this be possible, in fact these are the mechanisms that operate questioning the classic paradigm of ugly/beautiful . The Saraghina is subsequently demonized by the parochial elders, as the sensuality presented by her movements creates an erotic experience within the boys and subverts the values of moral conduct.
The significance of eroticism's affect on the human mind is validated through the imagination. As discussed before, the use of our imaginative faculties is paramount to Deleuze in validating the experiences of the world around us. Likewise with the erotic, imagination gives the experience power as it is separate from the act of copulation. Octavio Paz writes in The Double Flame: Love and Eroticism that the erotic experience “is sexuality socialized and transfigured by the imagination and the will of human beings.” (Paz 8) He continues writing, “in every erotic encounter there is an invisible and ever-active participant: imagination, desire. In the erotic act it is always two or more . . . who take part.” (Paz 9) The Saraghina then completes this dynamic with the boys and is condemned by the priests who view this as mirroring the sexual act and damaging the chastity of the boys. This conflicting act of representation employs different strategies that question representation itself as well as Beauty as a moral condition. We need to revise our present notions of aesthetics in order to promote our work, whatever form that takes. The aesthetic beauty of the moving image is then ignored in favor of the conscious associations made from the image. In this way, true affect is ignored given the senses interference with cognition, as what the body senses as aesthetically pleasing which in turn is rejected by the mind’s interpretation given the pervasive social dogmas of society.
The philosophers and political theorists of the 18th century then looked to the ideal human form of the ancient Greeks, the male figure, to represent their republican ideals, as it was associated with “the austere ideas of freedom and heroism.” (Alex Potts, Flesh and the Ideal, 226) By taking away the representative power held, traditionally, in both forms, the art concerned with affect could reinterpret these ideas to provoke the viewer’s affect. The historical notions are then incorporated in a different form that can be expressed any number of ways to exude sensuality or power, or both combined to present an androgynous form that takes on a new affectation. As the form of the male and female are reconstructed, so is their affect, as the subjectivity of their representation is removed. Since the experience of the work is reconstituted within the mind with its relationship to other works and images, it is not the work that is flawed in its affect upon the viewer, but it is the modes of criticism employed that do not address the affectual. Because this new form is reinterpreting the concepts of the erotic and the beautiful, the modes of discourse previously employed to critique are ineffectual in that they purport previous moral notions that are separate from the technological realm that the works could have been created in. The notions that are applied in traditional critiques deal with Kantian notions of sublimity as acted upon within the subject/object distinction. The subject in these new works are not represented directly, but re-molded through the use of digital tools. The object then is free from the notions of sublimity through association, as it builds its own within its surface. New words and metaphors must be constructed to deal with this new dialectic that address the need for a descriptive mode that pertains to the sensations felt by our imagination. In opposition to the faculties of imagination Kant writes that “the imagination, no doubt, finds nothing beyond the sensible world to which it can lay hold, still this thrusting aside of the sensible barriers gives it a feeling of being unbounded. . . As such it can never be anything more than a negative presentation – but still it expands the soul.” (cite Kant, Deleuze 51) As the forms created within the digital approximate or reinterpret our world, there is a universality that goes beyond the subjective associations presented in representational art. Therefore, one cannot attribute sublimity to one (the subjective universality) or the other (the objective form created). The work must then be evaluated given it sensual elements, as they pertain to the affective nature of these new environments and moods.
The notion of the sublime can be described, as it relates to this new art, within the terms of the sensual; as it is imperative in regards of affectation to reach the most dynamic, or provocative, experience within the work. The natural world, according to Kant, is the only sphere where true sublimity resides. Paul Guyer, in his discourse on the Kant, writes “Kant...seems to assume that a work of art can have some claim to sublimity, at least by representing the naturally sublime.” He continues by stating “the dynamical sublime then adds a representation of the independence or autonomy of reason from the influence of the natural world.”(Gilbert-Rolfe 45, cite Guyer) It is this separation from reason that lends the affect of a work so powerful, in that, the mind is calmed by the explosion of the sensations. Sublimity is reached in this new form, not by the representations of the natural world, but through the creation of new environments not linked to a literal experience. The new innovations in digital structuring enables the producer to create the layering and intricacies found in nature, but in a new and radical way that renders the work as an interpretation, not a representation of the real world.
It is important to note, that the use of current technology in the creation of this new form or aesthetics, which is critically bound by the fact that the interfaces (keyboard, mouse, etc ...) used to create it are distinctly different from the previous analogue modes; in that, the representation of the human is virtual, and is produced by means that are separate from humanity. The human form created is the result of “the androgynous sublime of technology...which frames the human with the post-human.”(Gilbert-Rolfe 67) A new aesthetic is possible that supposes new questions to be asked to determine the significance of the work within the current world. As these new works recreate the material world, they are at the same time paradoxically removed from this realm by the fact that they were created within and absent space that operates on duplicitous spatial rules.

Friday, January 4, 2008

CinemArte. Mexico City

Art Cinema Complex. Polanco Mexico City
Designer: Gabriel Esquivel
The idea was to build a new art house complex in the Chapultepec Park next to the National Auditorium, in the corner of Reforma Avenue and Periferiferico. The idea was to develop a symmetrical form that is accesed from underneath as the park's landscape leads you into the building's foyer part inside and outside. The materiality of the building was to be transparent and reflective producing a water effect similar to the Chapultepec lake when it refelcts the sky.
The internal organization is composed of a series of surfces that lead you into the theater blobs. one large on and three small ones. The building side that faces the freeway has an enormous screen that projects movie previews all day long.