Spatial perception & appropriation
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3D Printing demo with the UP! Plus 3D Printer | 3D Printing and Fabbing

3D Printing demo with the UP! Plus 3D Printer | 3D Printing and Fabbing | Spatial perception & appropriation |
See the magic of 3d printing in action in this fascinating video demonstration of the amazing UP! Plus Personal Portable 3d Printer. For more info about the ... (RT @PP3DP: Magic 3D Printing demo with the UP!

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Spatial Perception & Digital Narratives

Spatial Perception & Digital Narratives | Spatial perception & appropriation |

Dynamics and De-Realisation: A narrative in computational software


Time is a key aspect of narrative. It can advance a story, illuminate its role in our daily lives and help us understand how events unfold. Dynamics and De-realisation is an interdisciplinary work using philosophy, narrative and developments in computer science to define perceptions of reality and how these influence architecture – in essence what Merleau-Ponty called the "primacy of perception". We first perceive the world, then we do philosophy, exploring what was once considered an illusion and how it has since become reality.

The design projects have been developed as part of an ongoing investigation that looks at the reasons for using computational design methods and software from a sociological point of view, questioning the production of formal investigation and examining the emergent relationship between digital tools for design, communication and architectural manifestation as a result of theoretical analysis.

The collection of design projects included in this manuscript provides an overview of philosophical theories that focus on what appears to be real, presenting a range of methodologies and a set of tools for addressing this discourse. The contents have been divided into five sections, each chapter developing a design criteria process that refers to one of the following areas in philosophy: hyperreality and the simulacrum within postmodern philosophy, with reference to Jean Baudrillard; semiology and the authority of form; complexity and noumenon/non-Euclidean geometry; the exhausted confines of structuralist theory according to Roland Barthes; and lastly, authenticity, with the hope of further exploring how we perceive reality and the urban fabric.

Incorporating the ontological potential of space into a design process and as part of design criteria will help us to develop an understanding of the conditions under which forms have been generated.

The metaphysics of space and architecture in exploring the changing definitions of real and virtual have become a high-concept topic of discussion, reflecting the onslaught of social networking, cartel technology and virtual-world identities. Perception and the mind's interpretation formulate the basis for understanding new definitions of architectural design interventions.

With the expansion of computer software tools, the emergence of new technological capabilities and the growth in demands by society when implementing technology, architects are forced to consider how the material products they create interact with human subjects. For philosophers this is a common consideration. The philosophy of technology, emerging after World War II as an independent field and initially concerning itself with the social impacts of technology, is now more robustly directed toward the empirical dimensions of the metaphysics and ontology of specific technologies. Nevertheless, it has always been focused on the ways in which technology dictates individual human lives and social institutions.

Architectural design is identified as a process in which technologies are manifested; it is a process that substantively shapes and reshapes our lives and our societies. The following projects and essays enable me to suggest appropriations of non-Euclidean geometrically referential spaces, not only as a means to imagine and visualise but to attempt a manifestation within analogue design, in the process broadening our architectural references and design possibilities. I support the doctrine that we cannot know an object or environment exclusive of interpretation, as we use our mind's eye to perceive its character, informing us on how we should interact. If reality is to be questioned, then the argument for illusion and the relevance of sensory experiences is raised as a powerful lexicon for developing design criteria. My intentions using this approach are to investigate parametric design, contexts both real and virtual, immediate environments, typologies, urban fabrics, architectural interventions and their appropriation.

Phenomenologists believe phenomena present themselves in consciousness. This is a psychology that does not believe in the unconscious, but instead supports the notion that a mental suspension of objects enables us to take a natural standpoint of pure consciousness, devoid of all usual presuppositions and prejudices of the mind. The dualists, however, supported the representative theory of perception, whose doctrine states that when we perceive an object the immediate object of our awareness is a sensory experience that represents the object whereby we are not immediately or directly aware of the object itself. The main motivation for the representative theory of perception is the argument from illusion. One version of the argument from illusion begins with considerations concerning hallucinations. When we hallucinate an object, we have sensory experience of an object that is not there. Furthermore, the act of seeing an object is phenomenologically indistinguishable from hallucinating it, suggesting that all we are ever directly aware of are sensory experiences of objects and not the objects themselves. How can we know that the objects are as they really seem to be? For all we know, whenever we seem to be perceiving an object, we are really the victim of perceptual illusion.

Spatial truths/validity/authenticity

"The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth — it is the truth which conceals that there is none.

The simulacrum is true."


To be able to understand, appropriate and claim architecture, we must ask not only what is real but what the truth is.

The simulacrum has long been of interest to philosophers. Plato spoke of two kinds of image-making. The first is a faithful reproduction, an attempt to copy the original precisely. The second is an intentional distortion of the original to make the copy appear correct to viewers. For example, Greek statuary was crafted larger on top than on the bottom so that viewers from the ground would see it correctly. This would obviously be malformed if viewed to scale. This example from the visual arts serves as a metaphor for philosophical arts and the tendency of some philosophers to distort truth in such a way that it appeared accurate unless viewed from the proper angle. Nietzsche addresses the concept of the simulacrum in The Twilight of the Idols, suggesting that most philosophers, by ignoring the reliable input of their senses and resorting to the constructs of language and reason, arrive at a distorted copy of reality. Modern French social theorist Jean Baudrillard argues that a simulacrum is not a copy of the real, but becomes truth in its own right: the hyperreal. Where Plato saw two steps of reproduction – the faithful and the intentionally distorted (simulacrum) – Baudrillard sees four: a basic reflection of reality; a perversion of reality; a pretence of reality (where there is no model); and a simulacrum, which "bears no relation to any reality whatsoever".

Our present society, according to Baudrillard, is a media society, a world saturated by images and communication, a world where Marshall McLuhan's "the medium is the message" comes true. Culture is now dominated by simulation. Objects and discourses no longer have any firm referent or grounding. Instead, the real has been bypassed. The image has supplanted reality, inducing what Baudrillard has termed a condition of hyperreality, a world of self-referential signs. The Synthetic Sun/Floating Gallery project refers to simulated environments and projected realities using a simulacrum to convey this design approach.

Although truth seems to have been an absolute concept in disciplines such as mathematics and philosophy, it has in recent years proved more elusive than may have been thought possible. Up until the early 19th century, mathematicians accepted that Euclidean geometry was a paradigm of the absolute truth of their discipline, until the work of Bolyai and Lobachevsky demonstrated that there was more to geometry than had been suspected, and the idea of mathematics as absolute truth became invalid overnight. Non-Euclidean geometry was established on an equal footing with the Euclidean variety.

Immanuel Kant, 18th-century philosopher and epistemologist, believed that it is the representation that makes the object real rather than the object that makes the representation real. This notion introduced the human mind as an active originator of experience rather than its simply acting as a passive recipient of perception. Perceptual input must be recognised and processed, or it would just be noise. If the mind actively generates perception, this raises the question whether the result has anything to do with the world, and if so, how much. As Kant pointed out: "What is first given to us is appearance. When combined with consciousness [Bewußtsein], it is called perception [Wahrnehmung]". It is the structure of consciousness, through synthesis, that turns "appearances" into objects and perceptions, without which they would be nothing. Understanding an object or space in a Kantian manner depended on Euclidean geometry to formulate a truth, mathematics with a determinable result. Kant's noumenon phenomenon dialectic would be altered in light of the controversy caused by non-Euclidean geometry, which questions exactly what that truth is and how we may interact with it.

Non-Euclidean hyperbolic and spherical geometry may appear at first to be only a mental exercise, something that is purely a construct of the imagination, as space seems to be Euclidean and engineered from start to finish. However, by strengthening connections with the growing disciplines of 3D image synthesis, photo-realistic rendering and computer software simulations, we have developed a more complex relationship with this illusion, in turn challenging some of the deepest human preconceptions of space, further shattering Kant's and Heidegger's dogmas. With non-Euclidean geometry, new schools of thought have evolved, in particular formalism, making it even easier to accept the possibility that reality has become the simulacrum. The Fractal Tower project investigates tessellations and hyperbolic geometry as a way of generating form that theoretically reflects the characteristics of non-Euclidean geometry in an attempt to question and further expand on the concept of spatial perception and appropriation.

Geometry is a mathematical discipline that has evolved into an experimental science, and because of this, many use it to mirror and expand on definitions of the real world. Versions of geometry best suited for the purpose of design are no longer dictated and appropriated by disciplined intentions.

Because architecture is a social science, so too is mathematics, and one therefore describes the other. The de-mystification of Euclidean geometry as absolute truth in a Kantian manner was completely diversified/altered with the approach of non-Euclidean geometry.

Heidegger's definition of truth, however, supports architecture's role to return humankind to some form of authentic existence. He believed that architecture allows for the possibility of truth, that authentic appropriation is poetry born from context and environment. But we no longer rely on Cartesian coordinate systems to locate and dislocate us: we are adept at relating to foreign environments and identity through a tailored and restrained framework that has replaced the more flexible and less refined social-networking systems of the past 15 years. We are manufactured and marketed on a daily basis. Feeding our reduced attention spans, we shorthand our lives and identities in order to subscribe to the latest trend (Guy Debord). But this process is limited because it is confined within the cartel technologies afforded us, and the authenticity of what a contextless environment could stand for is diluted. Our non-Euclidean truths are exactly the antithesis of what was once regarded as poetic and authentic: instead of pursuing this to determine what might be, instead we anaesthetise and conform. The strength of our alienated selves is that we can appropriate an illusion aided by technology instead of being constantly reformed and controlled/confined by it. Technology offers us a passport into the unknown, yet we still pander to the whims of the majority and the dissolute cartel confines of our social-networking selves. The self-referential lobotomised individual is too bored to strive for his authenticity yet is eager to adopt someone else's.

Phenomenologists believe that space and architecture is becoming more abstract and remote from the body and its sensations and that privileging the visual perspective has impoverished/exhausted our understanding of space. The other senses need to be addressed, and space needs to be perceived with all its phenomenological associations. Space should be experienced as much through the echoes of singing in the cathedral evoked by Lefebvre and the odour of drying raisins in Bachelard's oneiric house as it is through any visual means of representation. The Ordos Resonant Sands project relates to phenomenology using sound and texture as a way of describing and influencing the design, while the Synthetic Sun project uses the concept of simulation to create phenomena projected within the urban fabric.

Phenomenologists believed that the alienation of contemporary existence was based on the separation of thought from being. They attempted to return humankind to some form of authentic existence, supporting the concept that space is to be perceived not as an abstract, neutral space, but as the space of lived experience. Heidegger's truth lies with the poetics of dwelling. To dwell authentically for Heidegger is to dwell poetically, since poetry is a manifestation of truth restored to its artistic dimension. Architecture becomes a setting for truth and a means of making the world visible.

The importance of context for Heidegger lies in the belief that the world is not in space but in the world, that space is linked to being. Fundamental to Heidegger's treatment of architecture is the situatedness of buildings. This could be used to question the concept of illusion as a new context, a context of truth as a dualist would see it rather than as a phenomenologist would. The Cartesian Duality Tower project embraces the concept of illusion as context in order to influence physicality.

I believe that the further we displace ourselves from the origin, the less of a distinction there is between the virtual and the real. This merging provides a confidence in appropriation yet leaves the potential for a revival of the authentic, further strengthening the presence of monumentality within the urban fabric. The cyclic responses that reflect the majority rule undermine any potential for change. Technological advances provoke a need for the antithesis, and the need for nurturing the displaced body calls for a glorification of the specificity of place.

The poetics of a space is in essence the truth of that space. But what happens when illusion and the virtual become a type of reality?


1 Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Trans: Colin Smith. Phenomenology of Perception (London: Routledge, 2005)

2 Illusion, Argument from, When we perceive an object, what we are immediately aware of is one's sensory experience of it and not the object, condition itself.

3 Hyperreality, a term defined by Jean Baudrillard whereby the image replaces reality. Culture being dominated by simulations.

4 Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle; In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.

5 Semiology, a tool by which to decode the built environment. Mythologies is a book by Roland Barthes, published

in 1957. It is a collection of essays taken from Les Lettres nouvelles focusing on the added meanings bestowed on

modern myths. The semiotics of urban myths.

6 Metaphysics, to say what reality contains and to analyse the concepts we use to think about it. Cataloguing the sort of conditions that reality contain. Key Ideas in Human Thought, by Kenneth McLeish.

7 Poster, Mark; Baudrillard, Jean (1988). Selected writings. Cambridge, UK.

8 In mathematics, Johann Bolyai and Nicholas Lobachevsky two mathematicians responsible for hyperbolic

geometry., (also called Lobachevskian geometry or Bolyai-Lobachevskian geometry) is a non-Euclidean

geometry, meaning that the parallel postulate of Euclidean geometry is replaced. The redefinition of Euclidean

geometry as being the absolute truth brought about important changes in the philosophy of mathematics.

9 Epistemology, in philosophy, is the theory of knowledge. The nature of knowledge, what knowledge is and the extent of knowledge, how much if anything we know.

1 0 Noumenon, Phenomenon; The noumenon is a posited object or event that is known without the use of the senses. HYPERLINK "" \l "cite_note-0" Phenomenon, refers to anything that appears to, or is an object of the senses.

1 1 The Production of Space By Henri Lefebvre, Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith Blackwell, Oxford, 1991,

pp. 454.

1 2 The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard, 1957.

1 3 Poetics of Dwelling,essay taken from Poetry, Language, Thought, translated by Albert Hofstadter, Harper Colophon Books, New York, 1971.

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Self Powered 3D Printed Lamp | 3D Printing and Fabbing

Self Powered 3D Printed Lamp | 3D Printing and Fabbing | Spatial perception & appropriation |
Designer Margot Krasojevic has developed a very unique piece: a 3D printed light that provides its own power. How does it do that, exactly?    The shape of the case is the secret.

Via João Greno Brogueira
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