Also, as my life

Also, as my life continues on, day after day like the grey suit of the genius, the sameness builds up in columns of like items where an occurrence that was long ago a ‘one-off’ is now in a stack of familiars that are warmed by their approaching a constant ‘room temperature’ and ooze together into a single item. That unforgettable visit to the Marquis as a youth, wandering alone to Peachtree Center mall to look at Stephen King books in B. Dalton is now, although still distinct as a base, the beginning of a long dive through what now must be hundreds of visits, no one separable from the others. Conversations, even those with friends or those with stimulating content become grouped together. As Merrill spoke on the terrace over Congress at the Stephen Austin one night I sadly told myself that I would forget every word she said. Unfortunately it is not as easy as flipping the switch to the recording mind. That mind has contextual controls. I don’t think conversations can be picked up this way unless their grain is somehow concurrent with the material of the experience (either reflecting it or shaping it, more likely the latter, see the numerous ‘getting dumped by your fiancé in the Zocalo ruminations’). Conversations are more of a way of marking time. They are necessarily fleeting. They don’t create space.

(Out of Sequence) On two sequential days seven months or so after PK’s exhibition I had the good fortune to meet up with PK and take in a lecture by him at Georgia Tech then that evening fly to Austin, spend the following day in meetings and drive out to UT to share a coffee with Leach and Merrill. PK actually spoke of me often (to my incredibly proud self-consciousness) reminding me of the energy he injects into his fellows through his almost theatrical reliance on their contributions to his sensibilities. The sky was perfectly clear at UT the next evening and we sat outside Medici for far too long and almost missed our flight back.

I remember discussing Revit, ‘the hand’, proportion, analogies of scale between the hand drawing of a man and the built environment the man engages daily. I have explained my arsenal of disabilities in the arts of conversation and retention, but the fortunate aspect of this conversation with Leach was that it was both contextually registered and was a dance of several issues in the package of one flowing set of steps that I had been practicing for some bit of time. I believe we began by talking through PL’s relentless manual production method. We discussed how we both utilized such skill-sets. I talked about how I felt like a dinosaur, which led into my diatribe about how BIM, Revit in particular, which I have seen more of, is the first real paradigm shift in architectural conception of space since perspective (and its attendant instrumentalization of the orthogonal view.) Certainly CAD represented what many might have jumped to describe as a paradigm shift when I began learning it in the early 1990s. But it was a shift in practice only, and there only in ‘asset management.’ Although some would and will argue that it moved the practice away from a craft or art to a capital-driven modus expeditus, those who argue that have not at the time of the argument recalled the stilted utilitarian products of the untrained (as architects) draughtsmen from the heyday of the drafting studio. They weren’t all Libeskinds or Leonardos. There is doubtlessly a disconnect between the hand and the tooth of the paper, the movement of the tool through the mediation of the mouse as digital analog capture. It is a reshaping of the tool itself. Yet both tools serve the same master: the line. What of it when the tool reshapes the mind. Regardless of the ‘intelligence’ of the units of construction of the documents, the arena for the construction of space is at first the object or envelope or form and the orthogonal drawing, from which architects for five hundred years have cultivated their sense of proportion, of fitness, of movement, of relationship to the human body and of the formal relationship to the history of the field. This mechanism is now the product. What then is the mechanism now? Ease? Profit? The drawn line has duration, a quality that comes from the decision to put a pencil down and to lift it again somewhere else. As the hand that touched the jamb of a door or the volute of a capital moves again across the page (or even mousepad (or tablet!!!) in the sadly derided world of CAD). I also find it interesting that the affiliation of PK’s work, the prefiguring of the ‘smart’ aspects of BIM, the use of texture, code, imbued meaning, formal reference, give PK’s objects (even lines) an ‘intelligence,’ a vehicular quality, a propulsion, or as he might say, “a cocked quality, ready to fire,” yet not without the latent balm to the contractor who no longer rolls the dice on how many duplex outlets to price as both the electrical engineer and architect would have shrugged their shoulders to the estimation in the ‘less intelligent’ days of the dumb drawing. PK prefigures the future of that intelligence perhaps that will help grow more than profits and client/contractor confidence (though no small feat) but the intelligence of performance in a cultural, mnemonic, natural, and functional (in the most variegated sense of the word) context.

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