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Recursive cities

Recursion simply means return. So a recursive city could be a city that you return to, or that encourages or requires you to keep coming back — like your home town, or a site of pilgrimage. The metaphor of excursion and return applies in many city contexts. See blog post on that theme. Where there’s … Continue reading

Deviant play

I just watched a team of gamers play Fortnite Battle Royal. You don’t need to play a video game to get the gist. You can watch others play it on Youtube. Fortnite is a war game where you form teams and hide out in photo-real buildings while you shoot enemies. One of the gamers remarked … Continue reading

Fade to black: LiDAR in the age of extinction

Light and shade loom large in architecture, as in life. In his book, In Praise of Shadows, Junichiro Tanizaki admires the traditional Japanese house, “the beauty of which depends on a variation of shadows, heavy shadows against light shadows — it has nothing else” (18). This subtle play of shadows delivers “a quality of mystery and … Continue reading

Fade to black: LiDAR in the age of extinction [DRAFT]

Light and shade loom large architecture, as in life. In his book, In Praise of Shadows, Junichiro Tanizaki admires the traditional Japanese house, “the beauty of which depends on a variation of shadows, heavy shadows against light shadows — it has nothing else” (18). This subtle play of shadows delivers “a quality of mystery and depth … Continue reading

What’s wrong with iconic architecture

Described as “iconic, ambitious and sustainable,” the V&A in Dundee by Japanese architects Kengo Kuma & Associates will open September 2018. As I’ve been studying semiotics of late, in particular C.S. Peirce’s concepts of the icon, index and symbol, I can’t resist a brief reflection on the concept of the icon in architecture. See my last … Continue reading

Peirce decoded

Whether or not you agree with C.S. Peirce’s semiotic system, there’s something about his diagrams. A search on Google Images for “Peirce sign categories” reveals an industry of diagrammatic interpretations and reinterpretations that would appeal to anyone with an interest in the cryptographic. I’m going to add to that collection some further abstract diagrams, or … Continue reading

Triadomania

Many of us new to the details of C.S. Peirce’s sign categories find them difficult to define, identify, remember, recall and use. As Miss Brodie said of the use of the quarter hour, I refuse to be intimidated by Peirce’s fine semiological distinctions. I’m assuming Peirce’s system constitutes a kind of brain trainer, the understanding … Continue reading

Index fever

In writing about the post-digital condition, media commentator Florian Cramer identified a “semiotic shift to the indexical”(22) and away from symbols. The indexical relationship is a direct connection between an object and its sign, as if the sign is caused by its object (as smoke or soot are caused by fire). According to C.S. Peirce, … Continue reading

Sign here ……………………

How do signatures function? A signature is a sign, seal, or mark on a document indicating its authenticity, as when a painter signs a painting, or someone signs a letter or legal document. The signature and the thing it marks is meant to be a one-off. The signature marks an original document, before the thing … Continue reading

Digital money

Digital money attempts to keep financial transactions reliable and trustworthy without the need for a bank. To achieve this it does two things that computer networks do well: distribute and encrypt. If I create a painting then it’s a one off. If I sell it then I pass on ownership of the painting to the … Continue reading

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