thinking out loud: “the felt force of a temporal topos of looping”

To follow on from Anna’s post earlier, and my partial response to thoughts re her paper before leaving for the airport (I have now landed in Sydney) I wanted to pick up on the Bookchin YouTube pieces Anna discusses in her paper and how they can become great examples of a collectively generated diagrammatic texture … where, as she says in relation to James: “The shared mosaic of collective experience wanders and loops, creating something more nomadic and tangled” (p68).

Not only are each of the TouTube videos made to be shared by many, but pulled together they show us how many share similar movements/events/gestures. What I love about how Anna discusses the two examples Mass Ornament and Laid Off is the way that I could feel how, in collecting together, these works enable us to feel the diagrammatic texture: the throughline of difference and repetition connecting all the individual ‘components’ that constitute them. Or, in other words, how the tangled looping they weave makes a kind of texture, perhaps something like a Casey Reas process image such as this:
Process 11 (B), 2010

As Anna discusses at the end of the paper, networking generates “the felt force of a temporal topos of looping” (72) – but, if the network is instead reduced to model and map: “The loop closes around the pool, flattening potential into a resource that seems to precede the actual duration of networked events. Potential then becomes some possible set of ‘things’ that might eventuate, there for the taking. In ‘the network’ as model and map, potential has been tamed, translated into possibility, predictably
lying in wait for the future.” (73)

This ‘warning’ becomes a happy reminder of the potential this workshop might aim for – of persistently ‘untaming’ the tendency to map and model the network – of producing something a little less predictable, less knowable, more palpably but ineffably felt. Happily, this resonates very nicely with and helps clarify what I was trying to say in my paper about moving from drawings to buildings through the texture of diagrams.

Looking forward to a drink, and Brian+Erin’s lectures in 1 hour …. 🙂

animated diagram of a life

Animated Diagram: signature of living from pia ednie-brown on Vimeo.

I made this animated diagram to be played as part of an installation project for the Beijing Architecture Biennale in 2004. I was playing with the idea of signatures – as a kind of diagrammatic inscription of particular lives, but which have an incredibly collective – or nonpersonal– life. When you start to collect signatures made by people in particular cultures and historical periods you see very clearly the degree to which something as apparently ‘personal’ as your signature is inflected by one’s milieu. I was interested in how this is also mapped out by sound ‘signatures’ through signature-like, guttural utterances such as laughter and crying, and I worked with Nick Murray to produce an accompanying sound piece made from recordings of laughing and weeping. The animation loaded up here does not have the sound track with it, but the image quietly diagrams the idea of a collective signature, squirming and being being inflected by invisible forces. The animation was produced using simulation tools in Maya software – the renders always surprised me and never quite did what I expected. This seemed perfectly and appropriately willful – as a life quite beyond me.

Pia Ednie-Brown

Coming out of an architectural training, I practice an expanded form of architecture … and am always asking what this might mean as I move through working with many different media and via various modes of enquiry. With this transdisciplinary emphasis, diagramming is important as a way to capture the ineffable through-lines. My PhD was very concerned with diagramming, as used in architectural practices and how contemporary conditions have shifted the value and meaning of diagrams. I tried to develop a concept of the ‘affective diagram’, as a way to think about how to hold together complex compositions, and understand how those compositions might resonate with things and events beyond themselves. I am still working on this…

More formally/institutionally, I am an Associate Professor at the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University, in both the architecture program and the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory.

The diagram I am posting comes from a past work, made while in the messy middle of the PhD process, and as part of the project work which constituted a major part of that research process. This particular piece didn’t, however, make it into the PhD in the end. (although it makes a distorted appearance in another video I did for the Arakawa and Gins conference).