<h1>on Architecture and related Media … </h1>

Bikini Bottom

'The Autopoiesis of Architecture' XII.) XIII.)
with Patrick [Star] II.) 10
and SpongeBob
Online since September 25th 2010
Last changes: 3rd of August 2013

'Patrick Star' and 'SpongeBob SquarePants' in 'Bikini Bottom'. Merchandise image from the television series 'SpongeBob SquarePants', 2001
II.) Img. _01

Patrick Star [left] and SpongeBob SquarePants [right] having fun under water in Bikini Bottom - » content to flollop and vollue and regard[ing] the wetness in a fairly floopy manner. « III.) 3

[Patrick Star] What’s a system?
[SpongeBob SquarePants] You are! I.) 12
[Patrick Star] Is that because I’m conceived (biologically II.) 9 )?
[SpongeBob SquarePants] No, that’s because you’re different (from environment VI.) 21 ).
[Patrick Star] Does that mean I do exist?
[SpongeBob SquarePants] Who knows? Some consent you’ve emerged
[Patrick Star] … from beneath a rock? My pet 'Rocky' is a rock. Is it a system too?
[SpongeBob SquarePants] Does it comprise an 'integrated whole'?
[Patrick Star] No, I’ve mistaken it for a snail

Society as a system, makes sense. VIII.) 13

Still from the short film 'Luxo Jr.' by Pixar Animation Studios, 1986
IV.) Img. _02

Luxo Jr. [observer 1st order] and his 'dad' lamp [observer 2nd order] by Pixar.
To 'observe' means to draw a distinction and thus implies to shed light - to project … IV.) 8

» To observe in the mode of second-order observation is to distinguish distinctions […] The unobservability of first-order observation thus becomes observable in an observation of the second order - on the condition that the second-order observer, considered as first-order observer, can now observe neither his own observing nor himself as observer. A third-order observer can point this out and draw the autological conclusion that all this applies to himself as well. « VII.) 1 VI.) 27 XII.) 28 X.) 30



'Ouroboros' [circular self referential observation of n-th order] Franz Sdoutz 2010
I.) Img. _03

Circular self referential observation of n-th order [formerly referred to as 'Ouroboros']. You, observing me, observing / stating the autopoietic condition of Ouroboros [that is]. I.) 29



'Alexandrov Seven Walks' from 'Urban Flotsam: Stirring the City' by CHORA (Raoul Bunschoten, Takuro Hoshino, Hélène Binet, and others) [page 86]
XI.) Img. _04 I.) 29

56° 23' 48.33'' N, 38° 43' 27.08'' O

» Walk along [an 'arbitrary' polyverse]
Finding something or someone to accompany is the first instance of using an observer in order to obtain a positive feedback. Yet it is a subtle and ambiguous means of interaction. « XI.) 2



'Observational Space' [observing observation] Franz Sdoutz 2011
I.) Img. _06

'Observational Space' … audience
Sum of all [possible*] points of view = Volume of all [meaningful*] observations.

top left: Sphere (set), marked by a single surface / distinction
top right: 'Klein-bottle' (set), marked by a single surface / distinction
bottom left: Observing [an observer’s] observation (point of view)
bottom right: Observing [self?] observation I.) 29



'… the gentleman with the bowler hat … [solipsist]' by Gordon Pask from 'Wahrheit ist die Erfindung eines Lügners : Gespräche für Skeptiker' by Heinz von Foerster and Bernhard Pörksen
IX.) Img. _05 I.) 29

Gentleman in the bowler hat …





  1. 29 a As an architect, I indulge in spatial metaphors, even to the extend of high jacking theory [back] to the spatial realm. So enjoy [observing] this [model].

    Illustrating 'Observational Space' … (audience)
    Sum of all [possible*] points of view = Volume of all [meaningful*] observations.
    A spatial interpretation of 'meaning', for meaning [only] requires observation:
    [accomplished by] DIFFERENCE from anything not making sense, hence remaining » ineffective autopoietically. «
    [maintained via] REPETITION in oder to distinguish from chance [what is unobservable, indistinguishable white noise].

    Assessed somehow stroboscopically: now, now and now... all observation is uniform VII.) 1 (and true). In order to assign such basic properties some reductions are in place:

    • 'Simultaneity [Gleichzeitigkeit]' a section in time, anything going on 'now'. see synchronicity I.) 32
    • 'Temporal symmetry' requiring for 'now' to be the same scale throughout that section.
    To begin with my 'observational space' is uniform, equidistant, homogenious, isotropic …

    Key to illustrations: My notation here depends on whether (complete) immersion in the 'observational space' is made explicit, or (for the sake of argument) a remote view, seemingly "outside" is assumed.
    Img. _03 Img. _06 There are different "(under)standings" attributed to similar symbols and graphic representations by others, I prefer to transfer mine from descriptive geometry.
    "Point" of view; viewer's eye (marking one's blind spot X.) 30 ). A distinction; thus already an observation.
    (x merely being a distorted 'referential cross-hair')
       [ ] "Picture plane" framing that view; "image" of what's been observed, result of the very process.
    left: depicted as an elevation plane.
    right: written as a logic container.
    Mark of distinction (George Spencer Brown)
    There is a conceptual affinity though:
    [ ] = ┐
    [┐] is merely descriptive …
    Relation (not depicted when obvious)
    +    + → [ ] Observing "blank"
    + s + → [something] Observing something (first-order observation) Img. _02
    + | + Two different points of view (not related, occurring at the same time, both independently true, for the 'Principle of Relativity' IX.) 44 can not apply. See below)

    + +
    + → +
    + → [+]
    + → [+ → [ ]]
    Observing a different point of view (second-order observation) Img. _02
    + + + + → [+ → [+ → [ ]]] Recursiveness implied. Img. _03
    'self-observation' Franz Sdoutz 2011 +° Self-observation; impossible according to Foerster's blind spot notion X.) 30 - thus rendered as a case of "false perspective" obvious by any shift (of perspective);

    +° resolves as + → +
    when "appropriating" a view …
    +° = + → +'
    +' being one's prior position / distinction as we prgress

    It's time to discard simultaneity.
    'extended self-observation' Franz Sdoutz 2011
    + = + → [+' → [+'' → [ ] ] ]    
                for + … n

    + ↔ +
    Observers are systems XII.) 28 and systems observe.
    + → [ [ …]' ] "Memory" VI.) 20 discards temporal symmetry.

    Tracing past / present / future (self) observations figures typologies: Img. _03 Img. _04
    'Second-order observation may be indistinguishable from self-observation' Franz Sdoutz 2011 Though:
    Second-order observation may be truly indistinguishable from self-observation.
    + → + <> +°
    + → + <> + → +' (consider the gentleman with the bowler hat Img. _05)
    Not observable by a shift of perspective unless inferring / assigning certain properties to space (observer / audience) as such. Img. _06

    Which of course is equal to augmenting 'observational space' with a point of view from "where" such properties are observable - do make sense.

    In "reality" all of this is totally non-problematic. On the contrary: the more complex < intricate, entangled > complicated this 'observational space' is perceived / meaning is constructed, the more we seem to enjoy it. []

    Img. _03 The 'recursive universe' or observing 'Ouroboros', Franz Sdoutz 2010
    Of course, observing the "monster" from a distance / new angle [behavioural view] will not save us from being devoured by its next frame(work), for technically (in keeping with 'Social Systems' VI.) ) there is no "outside" position, no view from an Archimedean point. VI.) 15

    Img. _06 Sections through 'Observational Space' [observing observation] Franz Sdoutz 2011
    You, observing me, observing / stating a spatial interpretation of 'meaning' by means of making / crafting (some) sense V.) 33 [that is].
    Both visualisations (left and right) are of course the same geometry merely 'cut open' in different ways …

    32 Dealing with 'meaning' figured as space, establishes an interesting parallel to Carl Gustav Jung's notion of 'synchronicity' relating events by meaning (proximity) instead of causality.
    As an effect in 'space' this notion would render as:
    [ + → [[s] - [s*]] ] as "linking" elements (+, →, s, [ ], …) coinciding in / constituting a [ ] from any + .
    or (when non-simultaneity or temporal a-symmetry is granted / considered):
    + → [s] followed by +' → [s*] thus relating s - s*
    which is the same as +'' → [+ → [s] | +' → [s*]] where +'' is observing / reflecting on prior perspectives + | +'

    12 a Cartoon characters are no different from other abstract models. 'Systems' are [BEING] distinguished from (their) surroundings [by someone]. Thus both Patrick and his rock are systems! see also II.) 11
    Essentially (what this boils down to is) "believing" in systems, autopoiesis, society, global warming, gravity … Of course NOT believing in "gravity" will not keep you from falling – it merely allows for different rationalisations / frameworks (of the very fact). [# Higgs Field]
  2. Img. _01 'Patrick Star' and 'SpongeBob SquarePants' in 'Bikini Bottom'. Merchandise image from the television series 'SpongeBob SquarePants', aired in 1999 on Nickelodeon. © 2001 Viacom International Inc. Produced by C&D Visionary Inc. http://spongebob.nick.com/

    9 Created by Stephen Hillenburg [according to http://en.wikipedia.org) a marine biologist.

    10 'Patrick Star', a starfish, lives under a rock.
    His best friend 'SpongeBob SquarePants' is a sea sponge. He lives in a pineapple next to Patrick in the underwater city (suburbia) of 'Bikini Bottom'.

    11 [Patrick Star introducing Rocky] » Hey Spongebob, check out my new snail. «
    [SpongeBob SquarePants] » Patrick, your snail is a rock. «
    [Patrick Star] » Yeah thanks, I know. He's got nerves of steel. «
    [time code 3:17 until 3:27]
    And a bit later ostentatiously:
    [Patrick Star] » … My snail. «
    [Squidward Tentacles to Patrick] » Patrick, that's a rock. «
    [Patrick Star] » Yeah thanks, I know. He's got nerves of steel. «
    [time code 4:11 until 4:16]
    From the episode: 'The Great Snail Race' Season 3, aired on January 24th 2003. Online video from http://sefruan.com/
    [Details according to http://spongebob.wikia.com/]
  3. 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams 1978 - 2001
    'Life, the Universe and Everything' http://books.google.com/ PDF
    Broadcast in September 2004 on BBC Radio 4 [and online] as 'The Tertiary Phase'

    3 » […] You should be more mattresslike. We live quiet retired lives in the swamp, where we are content to flollop and vollue and regard the wetness in a fairly floopy manner. Some of us are killed, but all of us are called Zem, so we never know which and globbering is thus kept to a minimum. […] «
    Mattress conversing with Marvin the Paranoid Android [Chapter 9] http://www.angelfire.com/ 2
  4. Img. _02 Still from the short animation film 'Luxo Jr.' by Pixar Animation Studios, 1986 http://www.pixar.com/

    8 In the lamp's case the distinctions it renders / observes, are its shadows: the difference between light and dark.
  5. My translations of Luhmann's German texts follows 'Social Systems' VI.) translated by John Bednarz, Jr. with Dirk Baecker.

    33 Sinn (des Lebens) = meaning (of life)
    Keeping its productive connotations 'Sinn' means 'Sense', for sense [according to my my Styrian 'work ethos'] has to be established in the first place, whereas 'meaning' - [already] given VI.) 16 - conveniently may be conveyed / confered / applied.
    Sinn (machen) = (to make, literally: to craft) sense see VIII.) 13
  6. ^ a b c d e 'Social Systems: Writing Science' by Niklas Luhmann, translated by John Bednarz, Jr. with Dirk Baecker, published by Stanford University Press, California 1995 [published first in German as 'Soziale Systeme: Grundriß einer allgemeinen Theorie' 1984, my paperback edition published 1987, both by Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main] http://books.google.at/ [German]

    [The cover of 'Social Systems' features a set design sketch from the film 'Metropolis'.]

    14 » The conceptualization of the social in terms of a meaning processing system of communication …. « [page xxiv, foreword by Eva M. Knodt]

    15 a b » The Derridean paradox that "there is nothing outside the text," is not dissolved by systems theory but reemerges at the level of communication, where it can be reconceptualised in terms of the operational closure of a system that cannot operate beyond its own boundaries.
    In order to observe society and to discriminate it from other types of systems, a boundary must be drawn from within society across which it can observe itself as if from the outside, but the construction of this outside is, and always remains, an operation of the system. "Whoever observes participates in this system – or he does not observe. There are no exempt positions." «
    [page xxxiii, foreword by Eva M. Knodt, quoting Niklas Luhmann from ‘Die Wissenschaft der Gesellschaft’, page 86, details according to Knodt]

    27 a » […] Whatever is observed is observed by an observer, who cuts up reality in a certain way in order to make it observable. Whatever distinction is selected, others remain possible. Each cut highlights certain aspects of reality and obscures others. Reality as such, the unity of the observing system and its environment, the paradoxical sameness of difference, of inside and outside, remains inaccessible; it is what "one does not perceive when one perceives it," the "blind spot" that enables the system to observe but escapes observation. [referring to Luhmann, ‘Cognitive Program’ page 76 see also X.) 30 ] An outside observer can make this blind spot visible by distinguishing the observed system's distinction as a form that contains both of its sides, but in doing so, any such second-order observation must rely on its own blind spot and is bound to reproduce the paradox of observation at the operational level of its own distinction. […] « [page xxxiv, foreword by Eva M. Knodt, details according to Knodt]

    16 » […] there remains the impression that meaning can be grasped as something given, something whose presence or absence can be determined. […] Meaning forces itself to change. […] « [page 63 - 64]

    19 a » Finally we must note that history is constituted in the specific meaning dimension of time. By history we do not simply mean the factual sequence of events, according to which what is present is understood as the effect of past causes, or as the cause of future effects. […] History originates in the release from sequence. […] Accordingly, history is always the present past or the present future, always an abstention from pure sequence, and always a reduction of the freedom to have disjunctive access to everything past and everything future that is gained through this abstention. « [Meaning, VI, page 79]

    20 a b c » The system reproduces itself only in the present and does not need memory [Gedächtnis] to do so. Under certain circumstances it can observe itself and ascribe a “memory,” or even a “bad memory,” to itself. […] But this does not alter the fact that something called memory exists only for an observer. […] « [Meaning, III, note 20, page 514]

    21 a » One of the worst aspects of [our] language (and the entire presentation of systems theory in this book is inadequate, indeed misleading, because of it) is that predication is forced on the subjects of sentences; this suggests the idea, […] that we deal with "things," […] the primary object of systems theory is not the object (or kind of object) "system," but the difference between system and environment. « [Meaning, VI, page 77]

    26 » We use the phrase "differentiate from" instead of "distinguish from" in order to avoid the implication of consciousness. […] But of course one can speak of "being able to distinguish" in the domain of social systems. « [System and Function, I, note 2, page 499]
  7. 'Art as a Social System' by Niklas Luhmann, translated by Eva M. Knodt, published by Stanford University Press in 2000 [published first in German as 'Die Kunst der Gesellschaft' (The Art of Society / The Social System of Art) 1995, my paperback edition published 1997, both by Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main] http://books.google.at/ [German]

    1 a [page 60 - 61, abridged]
    Compare to my (improvised) translation, considering 'Social Systems' VI.) 26 just to keep perspective … See also Eva M. Knodt's own interpretation. VI.) 27 [Also compare to XII.) 28 ]
    » Second-order observation distinguishes distinctions […] Thus, what can’t be observed by first-order observation becomes observable to second-order observation [namely observation as such] – providing that any second-order observer, as first-order observer on his part, cannot observe his observation nor himself observing. Such can be pointed out by a third-order observer, concluding in self-reference [autologically], that all of this is true for himself as well. «

    » Beobachten zweiter Ordnung ist ein Unterscheiden von Unterscheidungen […] Für das Beobachten zweiter Ordnung wird mithin die Unbeobachtbarkeit des Beobachtens erster Ordnung beobachtbar - aber nur unter der Bedingung, daß nun der Beobachter zweiter Ordnung als Beobachter erster Ordnung seinerseits sein Beobachten und sich als Beobachter nicht beobachten kann. Darauf kann ein Beobachter dritter Ordnung hinweisen, der dann den autologischen Schluß zieht, daß all dies auch für ihn selbst gilt. « [Seite 101 - 103, gekürzt]
  8. 'Theory of Society' (Volume 1) by Niklas Luhmann, translated by Rhodes Barrett, published by Stanford University Press in 2012 [published first in German as 'Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft' (The Society of Society) by Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1997, my paperback edition is from 1998] http://www.sup.org/ [German]

    Volume 1 [Chapter 1-3]
    13 a b » Gesellschaft ist ein sinnkonstituierendes System. « [Seite 50] translates as:
    » Society is a meaning-constituting system. « [page 21, literally, a matter of fact statement, compare to 'Social Systems' VI.) page 69, IV]
    » Society as a system, establishes meaning. « [subject to other notions]
    » Society as a system, makes sense. V.) « [ambiguous]
    » … the social in terms of a meaning processing system … « VI.) 14 [for "There is no such thing as society." Margaret Thatcher, 1987 </corny>]
    Already at this trivial level language VI.) 21 prevails. see VI.) 15
  9. 'Understanding Systems: Conversations on Epistemology and Ethics' by Heinz von Foerster and Bernhard Pörksen, translated by Karen Leube, published by Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers in 2002 [published first in German as 'Wahrheit ist die Erfindung eines Lügners : Gespräche für Skeptiker' (Truth is the Invention of a Liar. Conversations for Skeptics) by Carl-Auer-Systeme 1998, mine is the 3rd edition, published in 1999] http://books.google.at/ [German]

    [Page numbers refer to both Versions. Quoted from English translation.]

    » B. P. [Bernhard Pörksen] So a solipsist imagines a solipsist who imagines a solipsist who imagines a solipsist. […]

    [Heinz von Foerster] My friend Gordon Pask once came up with a beautiful sketch that illustrates this situation (Fig. 1). [Img. _05] You see a man wearing a bowler hat who claims to be alone. And this man imagines another man who is also wearing a bowler hat. He also imagines that the other man that he imagines doesn’t exist and is just a figment of his imagination. Now it could actually happen that the following situation might arise: A man who thinks along the lines of solipsism meets another man who thinks the same way.

    B. P. Now the question arises as to who is right – the first or the second solipsist?

    44 H.F. That's the crux of the matter. At this point in the conversation, I’d like to serve up the so-called principle of relativity, for the purpose of clarification. The principle of relativity says that a hypothesis that is true for A and for B can only be acceptable if it is also valid for A and B together. For the purpose of illustration, you might think of the well-known question as to whether it is the sun or the earth that is the center of the universe. It is plausible that there are beings on Venus and on Earth who would maintain the hypothesis that their respective planet is the center of the universe. As soon as I these Earthlings and Venusians meet, they will begin quarreling and a war will break out. Who is right? Who is in possession of the truth? In order to settle the fight, the principle of relativity can be used. You can demonstrate to the Earthlings and the Venusians that if they accept this principle, they cannot both be right. The principle of relativity is thus neither true nor false. The question is, then, whether you will choose to accept it or not. That is a decision that everyone has to decide for him or herself. The Venusians and the Earthlings could now decide to become heliocentrics and regard the sun as the center of the universe. If they chose to do so, they would enjoy living together and would even be able to exist alongside the Martians in peace and harmony. « [Seite 17, 18 / pages 28, 29]

    Here Foerster utilises yet another [see also X.) 30 ] spatial metaphor [the solar-system] to advocate his Principle of Relativity: » If a Hypothesis holds separately for A, and it holds separately for B, the hypothesis is rejected, if it does not hold for A & B together. « [from http://www.cybsoc.org/]
    Basically rephrasing: "Two truths [deduced from the same believe] can never contradict each other."
    But how do A and B "know" to share the same Hypothesis? How do Earthlings and Venusians grasp being part of the same system (having observed the SAME Sun from different perspectives), if not via the notion of heliocentrism (and its yearning for interplanetary travel) itself? The same applies to solipsists meeting in the street. The question "who is right?" only arises from an already "outside" position, capable of assigning the solipsistic argument (point of view) to separate (non-solipsistic) entities, thus causing them to contradict (each other).
    Inconsistencies may also be inferred due to “mere” incompletes … falsifying / discrediting any hypothesis observable from “non-congruent” points of view. (Bell's theorem http://youtu.be/)

    Img. _05 '… the gentleman with the bowler hat … [solipsist, inferred title]' drawing for Heinz von Foerster by Gordon Pask
    Caption: » Fig.1 A man who claims that another person doesn't exist imagines another one who claims that another person doesn't exist (Illustration by Gordon Pask). « [Seite 18, page 29]

    See also:
    'From Stimulus To Symbol: The Economy Of Biological Computation' [PDF ]
    'Perception of the Future and the Future of Perception' [PDF ]
    'Time and Memory' [PDF ... 2]
  10. IN:
    'Understanding Understanding: Essays on Cybernetics and Cognition' by Heinz von Foerster, published by Springer, 2003 http://books.google.at/ [PDF ...]

    'On Self-Organizing Systems and Their Environments' [page 1 PDF]
    'On Constructing a Reality' [page 211 PDF 2 3]

    30 a b c » The Environment as We Perceive It Is Our Invention […]
    The Blind Spot
    [Note: This key notion and its underpinning experiment are SPATIAL arguments, for even the rational of "(the) seeing (apparatus)" is inscribed in space, frequently illustrated by Foerster with SECTIONS through the human eye!]
    Hold book with right hand, close left eye, and fixate star of Figure 1 with right eye. Move book slowly back and forth along line of vision until at an appropriate distance (from about 12 to 14 inches) round black spot disappears. With star well focused, spot should remain invisible even if book is slowly moved parallel to itself in any direction.
    [Do this online.]
    This localized blindness is a direct consequence of the absence of photo receptors (rods or cones) at that point of the retina, the "disk," where all fibers leading from the eye’s light-sensitive surface converge to form the optic nerve. Clearly, when the black spot is projected onto the disk, it cannot be seen. Note that this localized blindness is not perceived as a dark blotch in our visual field (seeing a dark blotch would imply "seeing"), but this blindness is not perceived at all, that is, neither as something present, nor as something absent: Whatever is perceived is perceived "blotchless." «
    [page 212]

    » Note again absence of perception of "absence of perception," and also the emergence of perception through sensorimotor interaction. This prompts two metaphors: Perceiving is doing, and If I don’t see I am blind, I am blind; but if I see I am blind, I see. « [page 213]

    » This is doubly difficult, because of […] a peculiar property of the logical structure of the phenomenon "blind spot" on the other hand; and this is that we do not perceive our blind spot by, for instance, seeing a black spot close to the center of our visual field: we do not see that we have a blind spot. In other words, we do not see that we do not see. This I will call a second order deficiency, and the only way to overcome such deficiencies is with therapies of second order. « [page 284, 'Cybernetics of Cybernetics' page 283]

    'For Niklas Luhmann: "How Recursive is Communication?"' [page 305 PDF ]
  11. 'Urban Flotsam: Stirring the City' by CHORA (Raoul Bunschoten, Takuro Hoshino, Hélène Binet, and others) published by 010 Publishers, Rotterdam 2001 http://books.google.at/

    'Alexandrov Seven Walks' [page 70 to 107]
    Img. _04 Label: 'walk along' [page 86]
    2 » Walk along
    Finding something or someone to accompany is the first instance of using an observer in order to obtain a positive feedback. Yet it is a subtle and ambiguous means of interaction. «
    [page 81]
  12. ^ 'The Autopoiesis of Architecture, Vol.1: A New Framework for Architecture' by Patrik Schumacher, published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd., London, November 2010 [2011]
    http://books.google.at/ [excerpt PDF]

    4 » The realization that a theory is designed rather than discovered opens up a whole new game, with a whole new freedom and burden. Instead of going round in circles with the received, crude apparatus of traditional architectural thinking, we might aim to construct a new, more sophisticated apparatus. And during this conceptual construction process we should be aware of our manifold theory design choices. « Page 6, prefixing a 'trail and error' commitment.
    5 » This empirical base, […] remains crucial. «
    To assume "proof" when observing / projecting compliance with "experience" in terms of assessing communication seems paradox, when [also assuming] communication is the only reality / experience we actually deal with / produce … See: system / environment ['axioms' page 19 onwards]
    6 » Thus […] all theory is constrained by the need to maintain sufficient connectivity with the current reality of architecture as ongoing system of communications. «
    … constituting communication of communication.

    7 Promoting his book, Patrik Schumacher makes an explicit leadership claim. [see also http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/]
    » No vital autopoietic communication system can afford to lag behind when it comes to updating its communicative sophistication in line with advancements achieved elsewhere in societal communication. « [page 8]

    • Does "lagging behind" require direction?
    • Suppose that architecture / design (already) constitutes a 'function system' different from the arts [page 25, 75] - why aren't architects calling the shots theoretically [in their own field]?
      The explanation outlined on page 72 (2.1.1) merely sustains that (given the theory production of recent years) self-demarcation XII.) 24 of architecture by means of self-descriptions depends on "imported outside-descriptions re-written as self-description". Which could be interpreted in terms of architecture dissolving into other fields [media, design, philosophy, sociology, ecology, politics … page 94] in search of meaning / self-justification rather than establishing an "ultra-stable" boundary / raison d'être of its own.
    • Why 'couple structurally' with sociology? [in terms of choice]
    • Why infer teleonomy [in terms of a biological fallacy] into communication?
      » Avant-garde styles […] start […], mature […] and end […] « and apparently are resurrected [as 'architectural research programmes'], when already deemed extinct. [Thesis 16, page 15, 277, 283, 294, 443]
    … merely » testing for consistency « [page 17]

    22 » A sure empirical indicator for the factual, operational separation of art and architecture is the total absence of double careers. […] « [page 146]
    Depending on one's expectations [career-wise] the usual suspects are:
    Walter Pichler, James Turrell, Vito Acconci, Gordon Matta-Clark

    23 » […] architecture relies on its specific medium – the drawing – as much as the economy relies on its specific medium money. « [page 84]
    Realizing of course that drawings equal money [and that is very true].

    24 » Avant-garde vs. Mainstream « [pages 95 to 114, again deep in "artistic territory" …]

    What is noteworthy [about this clearly "psychological construct"] is my personal observation that it is definitely not enough to be "avant-garde" (in terms of what one is doing / communicating) in order to BE avant-garde. It is vital to be recognised as such (to be differentiated from the rest, regardless of what one is doing / communicating) to qualify (for) that sub-system. Apparently self-demarcation (even via self-description by means of insisting on one's autonomy / one's belonging to …) doesn't count. Such (impertinence) is merely embarrassing.

    What defines a social (sub) system is not self-description (alone) and please do try this at home, declare yourself avant-garde (by publishing a manifesto) …

    Architectural avant-garde(s) are a concept to distinguish (deviations from ordinary). Of course such labelled / differentiated "deviations" thus define (what is) "ordinary". For an "avant-garde" to become mainstream (to be relabelled), different (new) deviations (defining that new ordinary) are prerequisite.

    The term "avant-garde" - actually denotes:
    • Professionals conspiring to joint communication in terms of self-demarcation (De Stijl, Dada)
    • Individuals being distinguished for (assumed / inferred) joint criteria / communication by "mainstream authority" [in difference to ordinary]. (Constructivists, Cubists)
    • Criteria being distinguished for no reason what so ever [apart from satisfying demand for difference / novelty] and attributed to individuals. (anything proclaimed by Philip Johnson)
    It is only recognised avant-garde(s) we CAN observe. Such "relabelling" is NOT a requirement and rarely happens (within the deviant's lifetime). To BE avant-garde (before / without recognition) means to be unobservable for "mainstream", apart from being irritating …

    What is true though for all (kinds of) semiotic-guerrillas [to apply a different framework], is the (conceptional) understanding, that one can’t transcend communication as such. VI.) 15

    Most striking (apart from the delusions star-architects seem to enjoy) are the obvious economic implications / premises of Schumacher's "avant-garde" notion NOT made explicit [not even in systemic terms].
    Remarkable in respect to the "taboo" of [explicit] second order observation / communication inherent. The agent provocateur (avant-gardist) must not disclose his purpose / function [in the autopoiesis of communication, cherish page 105]. In order to trigger the desired response all indications of careful consideration must be obscured.
    To concede one's awareness (of the mechanisms at work) will result in indifference. [A condition steering "(a)vanguardists" share with leading politicians.]

    One could come up with [alternative] metaphors of swarm-behaviour, where individuals dissect and the swarm will according to certain parameters change its [dis]course (follow or ignore runaways with serious implications for those individuals). Of course such [biological] transfer is inappropriate </ironic> in the context of 'Social Systems' VI.) (as a philosophical concept).

    17 In my view Luhmann’s theory should not be argued in historic terms [in contrast to his own conduct].
    For a) 'Social Systems' VI.) are difficult to apply to "ages" when (presumably) neither "social" nor "systems" (would have) made any sense …
    and for b) the theory already takes into account that "history" VI.) 19 is a mere projection (observation) originating in the present. Strictly speaking there are no historical "facts", apart from their (current) interpretation [which is based on "remembrance" VI.) 20 , imprints of prior communications - result of (and resulting in) the ongoing autopoiesis of communication].
    (An apparent example for how the past is subject to projection / concepts applied is the scientific perception of the Maya culture before and after deciphering its written records.)

    Reinterpreting / retelling history is necessary in order to retain sense, and actually adds (new) meaning [to the "facts" as well as to the theories applied]. Such well established procedures appear misplaced though, when the "past" needs to be diminished in order to sustain one's theoretical framework.

    » […] architecture is constituted by virtue of architectural theory. That is why the theory of architectural autopoiesis insists that architecture proper only begins with the Renaissance. […] « [page 36]

    Assuming that a) there was no autonomous discourse before [the cultural expression we term Renaissance in accordance with 19th century communications]
    and b) that the little there was had no impact (spurred no further discourse == had no autopoietic consequences) trying of course to maintain the perception that the celebrated Renaissance protagonists [page 81] had to invent everything from scratch

    The difference between "Gothic" and "Renaissance" (in terms of architectural discourse) is Gutenberg’s printing press. [as conceded on page 52 and 82]
    To deduce from shifting media that early buildings lacked theory [then 'coupled structurally' with theology ] and therefore do not qualify as "architecture" within the axioms of an autopoietic theory, entirely misses the point of » communication via physical artefacts and buildings. « [Exposing deliberate demarcations disguised as systemically induced though. page 11]

    » […] although architects […] of the great cathedrals were recognized and respected […] no names were preserved within the ongoing architectural discourse. In contrast, Alberti, Bramante and Palladio are still alive […] « [page 36; See some gothic masters and for the 'parametric' in 'gothic' see Lars Spuybroek]

    If being an architect means to be at the centre of attention [being renowned] and architectural discourse implies "promoting a star-system" [page 100], then there’s something wrong. Not so much with a theory that describes / predicts such phenomena but with the conclusion that such is inevitable and hence desirable.

    25 » Architecture is a systematic communication process that communicates (about) design decisions. These design decisions risk determining aspects of an (otherwise) uncertain future. « [page 197]
    » However, the unpredictability of the future is only relative, not absolute. We are still able to chart general tendencies […] « [page 128]
    Reference to [Sir] Karl Popper [from an explicit Marxist background] figures the present future [of architecture] no less erratic than its present past, VI.) 19 if it wasn’t for that subliminal notion of evolutionary progress

    28 a b » 3.1.2. Third Order Observation
    All function systems […] observe themselves. «
    [page 182]

    Systems observe systems. I.) 29 Niklas Luhmann conceives people (human beings) as biological / psychic systems … » as parts of societal environment […] especially relevant for the formation of social systems [but] no longer the measure of society. «
    ['Social Systems' VI.) , Interpenetration, I, page 210, 212 and The Individuality of Psychic Systems, I, page 255]

    In this sense 'system' [always] involves people.
    Thus staging a symposium - involving people - not only cleverly celebrates / demonstrates 'The Autopoiesis of Architecture' XII.) [as a matter of fact] but also constitutes a self-observation of architecture (as far as the AA - location and general framework of the event - was concerned).

    'Debating Fundamentals: Probing the Autopoiesis of Architecture' [Symposium, 11.03.2011, AA School of Architecture, London] was a swift trail, and the verdict inferred surprising:
    According to his peers Patrick Schumacher's [least] achievement (like with all texts on Architecture before) is the distinction of what's in and what's out. [Crudely paraphrasing Mark Cousins.]
    In architecture such is always equivalent to WHO’s in or out. [It’s all about that list really.] </austrian>
    » … "All the people want to know is who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, and this is what we are going to tell them." … « [Quoted in 'Social Systems' VI.) , Interpenetration, end of VII, page 240, no reference given.]

    42 [page 365, 5.1 Architecture as Societal Function, Thesis 21]

    18 Résumé: of Volume 1 ['A New Framework for Architecture' XII.) ]

    The concept of autopoiesis requires [in order to be observed] historicity XII.) 17 (an awareness of the former VI.) 20 ), consequently antecedent [theoretical] 'achievements' aren’t rendered negligible.
    Embedding 'The Autopoiesis of Architecture' in an already (well) established theoretical framework thus makes sense. German sociologist Niklas Luhmann provides that context. In a discourse dominated by (French) philosophy, not an obvious choice though. 'The Architecture/Design of Society' - a treatment according to Patrik Schumacher "missing" from Luhmann’s famous sequence of society’s functional subsystems - apparently left an assignment waiting to be accomplished. [page 75, note 7]

    » The Autopoiesis of Architecture might therefore be read as continuing the series, as an extension of Luhmann’s work with respect to the domain of architecture. […] The degree of intellectual dependence of the work presented here is nevertheless considerable. « [page 13]

    Architectural theory [in particular] is about reaching an audience [beyond space]. In order to make that desired impact, connectivity is prerequisite. XII.) 6 Thus 'The Autopoiesis of Architecture' documents [a consideration of] contemporary believes I.) 12 in architecture.

    Issues like weather there actually is "social evolution" [in terms of an adequately sustainable scientific assumption], or weather the "concept of autopoiesis" is applicable [at all], from an architectural perspective are irrelevant. Such criticism [directed at Luhmann] bares structural "design weaknesses" XII.) 4 though, inevitably leading to the question, why Patrik Schumacher chose to design his theory in [that] style?

    » The ambition of the theory of architectural autopoiesis is to attract the kind of expert following that Luhmann has […] « [page 55]


    Of course it’s nice to have [the sensation of] state of the art tools (practical and theoretical ones) and the [peer] pressure to apply the most advanced ["software" in both respects] will undoubtedly continue (as long as marketable). In this context, shifting focus towards 'communication' actually makes a difference, for this book is NOT about [making] architecture, it's about recognition [processes on the level of societal communication], observing / understanding architecture only in these terms.
  13. ^ 'The Autopoiesis of Architecture, Vol.2: A New Agenda for Architecture' by Patrik Schumacher, [paperback edition] published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd., London, [March/April] 2012

    http://youtu.be/ [Harvard lecture by Patrik Schumacher in February 2012, promoting volume 2]

    40 Volume II starts somewhat disappointingly by emphasising restrictions to » The Task of Architecture « in terms of communication and scope:
    » […] identifies architecture’s societal function as the innovative framing of social interaction. Interaction is defined as communication between participants who are physically present, […]. All social interactions take place in designed spaces filled with designed artefacts. […] Architectural artefacts frame virtually all social communication systems, with the exception of those systems that exclusively reproduce outside the interaction between physically present participants. […] All architectural communications, as well as all communications of all the design disciplines, are communications in the medium of space. […] « [page 5]
    For (self)evidence that "presence" is NOT a requirement (in order to establish communication) see Déjà vu.
    Literally (back) on stage, Schumacher reinstates the unity of (inter)action, place and time » […] Architectural spaces […] are priming the participants of an ensuing communicative encounter by setting the scene, by pre-constraining the range of possible communicative scenarios and by conjuring up anticipations about what is likely to be expected from the participants. « XII.) 42 [# Scena comica]
    41 » […] Only the distinction of form vs function allows the framing of social interaction – a necessary dimension of all social evolution – to become a subject of critique and innovation. The task of architecture can thus be cast in terms of architecture’s lead-distinction: to give form to function. […] « [page 6]
    No! (If only it were that simple …) The task of architecture, of all (societal) endeavours is to make sense (to infer meaning) of what is - or seems to be. see VIII.) 13 Of course Patrik Schumacher (in)advertently does precisely that: making sense of his practice (architecture, theory, us all) by understating in terms.

    43 For my comments on 'Space Syntax' featured on page 112 [ » 6.4.5 Space Syntax: Concepts and Tools for Analysis « ] and the (im)pertinence of "Primitive Huts" included as site-plans / diagrams on page 425 - 426 [ » 8.6 The Built Environment as Primordial Condition of Society « ] see Architectural Models and Inside and Outside in Architecture.
  14. 'Beobachter unter sich: Eine Kulturtheorie [Observers amongst themselves: A theory of culture]' by Dirk Baecker, published first by Suhrkamp Verlag in April 2013 http://www.amazon.de/

    http://www.dradio.de/ 'Der beobachtete Beobachter [The Observed Observer]' Sociologist Dirk Baecker on a contemporary key term talking to Michael Köhler. Broadcast by Deutschlandfunk 28.07.2013 17:05 Duration 00:24:44 minutes
    Streaming Flash player [Download my MP4 recording in rather poor quality.]





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  • Very very preliminary version ...
  • Reshuffling reference in order to make space for part II of Schumacher's "opus magnum" in April 2012. [Proceeding with note 40]
<h3>&copy; Franz Sdoutz, February 2012</h3>

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