Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I want to start a micronation, just like Sealand - a sovereign and occupied former naval fort located several miles off the coast of the UK. There is actually a rich history of micronations, such as:

Rose Island
Conch Republic (Key West)

Plus many, many other examples. Interestingly, Sealand was recently associated with a possible appropriation by, after Sweeden's internet laws limited their ability to service online torrents - althought it seems that the deal fell through, keeping Sealand's original nationhood in-tact.

Also, just in case I plan to visit a few micronations before founding my own, lucky me, there's already a Lonely Planet Guide Book. Oh, but first I need to get my passport and currency in order. And definitely some good travel reading.

See you at Joshland.


Monday, February 23, 2009

The Function of Ornament has been published in 3 additional languages: German, Spanish and Japanese. Also, keep an eye out for The Function of Structures, coming out April 2009.


Monday, February 16, 2009


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Submitted for the GSD's Critical Digital Conference 2009:

Given the recent global economic crisis, certain digital techniques are at risk of losing legitimacy in the field of architectural design. Tadao Ando’s comment that we have transitioned from Age of Discovery to an Age of Responsibility might similarly suggest, to some, a return to design basics and traditional values . The digitician in an Age of Responsibility however will argue the opposite, advocating a proliferative use of advanced technology – from solar energy to automation – permeating all levels of infrastructure and consumption. Even so, this kind of responsible proliferation belongs more to the realm of efficiency makers than the surface surfers, thus illuminating the possibility that surface techniques – more than any other digital technique – have indeed lost their former currency and require an alternate means of survival.

As design projects around the globe are put on indefinite hold, especially those presenting the complications so common to surface constructions, the means of survival in Ando’s Age of Responsibility seem elusive. Yet they might actually be found as a trait of the surface itself. The trait of pliancy, once celebrated in the Age of Discovery by Greg Lynn, Peter Eisenman and others, now offers the ability for the digitician to adapt his or her technique under quite different circumstances. Pliancy in surfaces can be described as “an internal flexibility and…a dependence on external forces for self-definition”, a description which might also suggest a method of digital technique that can flex under challenging external forces while maintaining an internal structure for meeting market demands . Technique-based pliancy requires not only a forceful investigation into digital techniques but also an extensive grasp of their capabilities, so that the plaint digitician might have at his or her disposal a desirable and more complete skill-set for precision and flexibility.

Perhaps the digitician’s most pliant technique in an Age of Responsibility is to double as a mathematician, to gain control over surface mathematics and to circumvent software’s graphic interface. Using a broader knowledge of the equations and calculations of a surface, the digitician gains control over his or her medium with precision and flexibility. Within the computer, flexible surface forms are generated from a complex and flexible series of computations; complex in the sense that they include a highly involved set of parts, and flexible in the sense that a simple change in values re-translates their configuration, while using the same set of computations. This mathematic structure, typical to all digital surface forms – be they polygons, NURBS or sub-divisions – is a critical tool for maintaining pliancy. By taking hold of the values and calculations behind the configuration of a surface, the digitician discloses their influence (and perhaps by extension the “external forces” of our time) as a new kind of form as the agency of plaint technique.

In support of surface mathematics and pliancy I plan to present two design projects showing the comparative range of mathematics in digital design. The first project, unbuilt and completed prior to the economic crash, questions the stability of surface research and prompts a reconsideration of the present validity of digital techniques. The second project, a small and completed product design, attempts to reaffirm surface techniques using the exact same mathematic system as the first project but with a completely different outcome, illustrating the system’s ability shift in scale, geometry, method of assembly and financial constraints. While neither project offers a guaranteed technique for the digitician to work in an Age of Responsibility, their comparison intends to affirm the adaptability of digital surface techniques, flexed under the burden of new external forces but plaint and resilient nevertheless.