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Richard Coyne

The cultural, social and spatial implications of computers and pervasive digital media spark my interest ... enjoy architecture, writing, designing, philosophy, coding and media mashups.
Richard Coyne has written 409 posts for Reflections on Technology, Media & Culture

You can fool all the people some of the time

The theories about metaphor of the American cognitive linguist George Lakoff have long informed my understanding of language and of design. Lakoff also weighs in on US politics (to use a sporting metaphor). His recent interview on a podcast and his opinion piece in the Guardian are of the moment. I’ll quote a passage about … Continue reading

Undisciplinarity

What is the value of interdisciplinary research? According to a review of research published by the UK funding councils, “Crucially, many major discoveries and breakthroughs have occurred at the boundaries between disciplines resulting in new fields of study, such as biochemistry, health economics, social psychology, development studies and informatics” (Davé, et al., 2016, p.8). If … Continue reading

Whatever works

Pragmatism has a bad name in politics. Whether or not by avowed allegiance many on the political spectrum will claim they subscribe to a no-nonsense pragmatism. Pragmatic politicians advocate practical solutions rather than adherence to an ideology. In more innocent times, 2016, in the lead up to the US presidential election, commentator Christopher Scalia placed … Continue reading

Indexical architecture

The idea of evidence is obviously important in a juridical context. Evidence comes to the fore when architects deal with compliance (codes and regulations), and get caught up in legal matters, such as contract disputes, liability and compensation claims, and as witnesses. Evidence is also important in any kind of research context, as in the … Continue reading

On being a detective

As evidence of crimes and misdemeanours mount and circulate around the US president and his entourage, attention turns to matters of fact. Fact-checking is a major media sub-industry. See factcheck.org, politifact.com, and fullfact.org. It’s also an exercise in semiotic indexicality. I’m investigating how C.S. Peirce’s theories about signs relate to his theory of abduction, i.e. … Continue reading

Whatever happened to reality?

I’m reading After Finitude by Quentin Meillassoux, with a view to bringing the thinking of the pragmatic philosopher C.S. Peirce (1839-1914) up to date — or at least, this is an opportunity to compare and contrast Peirce’s pragmatic realism with some thinking now about reality (100 years later). Meillassoux’s contention is that the so-called linguistic … Continue reading

Signs in architecture and music

Architecture is an art of signs. C.S. Peirce introduced the idea of the sign vehicle, that encourages the architectural scholar to think beyond standard architectural elements as channels of communication. The communicative elements of a building are not restricted to components such as columns, chimneys, windows, staircases, and doors, but the aspects and qualities of … 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

Invisible icons

An icon is a likeness; something that resembles the thing it refers to — its referent. Iconography is a branch of study that deals with such resemblances, i.e. drawings or other pictorial representations of things. That’s the OED definitions, but in spite of such generality, we mostly reserve the word icon for use in particular … Continue reading

Challenges of the sharing economy

Architectural Research Quarterly just published an article by Tolu Onabolu and me called “Blockchain for architects: Challenges from the sharing economy.” Our tagline is: “Cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and other aspects of the sharing economy offer benefits and challenges for architecture. They also furnish metaphors about urban living.” The article derives from speculations in this blog … Continue reading

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