Tuesday, April 13, 2010
reading response six | morphogenetic design | jd pirtle
Since this text is fairly large in scope and covers a multitude of areas, I will try to respond to each section separately, but in a way that (hopefully) is tied together through a common thread.
Reading the first section about biology/ecology, I thought many times about algorithmic art. There is a great deal of recipe making in modern computational art, which leads to a virtual product. The potential to grow art, which is being done in a crude manner through the design-to-CNC process, exists--but what about the future of art in relationship to biology? A great deal of post-19th century media art was physics based--and if we can follow the logic of the text--what is the implication of the heavy presence of biology on future media art? Will we be able to properly grow art?
The section about urban landscape seems at odds with the hierarchical nature of our minds, socially. We accept an arrangement of capital and power being located in a physically high or structurally dense environment, and we associate prosperity with large, isolated structures. Can we embrace the heterogenous spaces described in the text with that mind set? Do the nature of our strict building codes prevent modularity and flexibility? Also, considering that the majority of everything built in the USA was completed at the cost of the lowest bid, can these type of “smart” structures be funded and leave the theoretical/academic environment?
It is somewhat interesting to read about the various ways cell phone data is recorded and visualized, but it seems like there is something missing in what is being done with the results. While metadata in the form of user comments and embedded info is useful, it is not very interesting from the point of view of art.
In the section about wood, I was unclear about whether the many amazing properties of wood as a building material were greatest when they remain part of a living tree or only as timber? Related to my first comment, can we program trees to form living structures?
The section on self-organization included a really interesting component, that the entire process, from analysis and simulation to computer aided manufacturing, could be one large process. I wonder about aesthetic concerns--what happens when you add psychology and emotion to the beginning of the process? Will it yield a product that is not only self-organizing, but also beautiful and fulfilling as a structure? Or are they the same thing?
The form-finding aspects seem like the opposite of the initial few chapters--we have returned to physics. While the digital growth concept does change over time in response to changing shape (through the geometric seed and the morphing of shape through reinterpretation of current shape), it remains physics/geometry based.
The entire text, as stressed in the conclusion, shows the power of biomimetics. What we comprehend and achieve through the observation of "natural" phenomena and experimental design may enable us to realize that there is nothing unnatural that we produce; the things we produce through a biology-centered design paradigm could be flexible, modular, self-organizing, healthy, communal and ecologically-friendly in such a way that they no longer merit the term “unnatural.”