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Reviving an old blog

Well, here I am reviving this old blog from school. As you may have guessed i have since graduated (almost 2 years now) and I thought I’d maybe revive this ol’ girl and see what direction it takes. With no pressure to publicize school work, it will likely be random musings and diverse mutterings about the world around me, architecture, and life. Hopefully all who embark on reading this will be patient and remember I am human and am allowed my opinion, just as you have yours, lets just agree to respect each other OK?

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A little big to place in the email so for your viewing leisure: energy sketches

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Dan Morrissey All Responses

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The Socius and the Body

E. Thacker – Biological Sovereignty

Modern threats to nations (ie. bio-terrorism, etc.) have generated a condition in which the state uses a militarized imperative to push and develop research into preparing AND responding to biological and public health emergencies. This push has also helped to develop treatments for naturally occurring pathogens as well. Through these advances, governments have come to see biological as more than biological, meaning that biological impacts are not simply organisms, there may be other factors involved, such as economics. To push this militarized research, the state employs a state of exception, meaning that it operates in the gray area that exists with one foot within the law and one foot outside the law, all in the best in the interests of the state (on behalf of the population, see below). This leads to a shift in the traditional role of the state acting for defense and war, to a preoccupation with security. This is further complicated by not looking at the security of the state but rather the security of the population. But how do you define the population or the life within? The population is separated into those who are threatened and those who threaten. The state wants to provide security for those who are threatened against those who threaten. The sovereign begins to operate at the point where the nature of the individuals interferes with the articulation of nature itself. This further complicates issues because one now has to define the difference between life and life itself. Life being the population, and life itself as nature. All this comes back to defining the thing that threatens and the thing that is threatened. This life is in perpetual conflict. Life creates its own threats, therefore it is its own enemy and creates its own security issues, but these issues need to be problematized due their multiplicities and complexities within the interconnected relationships of life and life itself; which is the role of the biological sovereign.

Thoughts,
Although I quickly summarized this article, (as I felt it was quite a circular argument), it was an interesting take on how governments, or sovereigns, have shifted priorities and have now come to focus on the body and biology and its security rather than defense and war. I think that it poses some interesting and relevant ideas about the relationships and the need to define one or the other, however I do not think it is all one or the other. I believe that there exists a mixture of threat and the threatened. Furthermore, the way the sovereign defines and takes security actions against those who it deems threats (as it must delineate in order to justify and validate its existence as protector of the biological populace) leads to the prejudices and inequities that further create threats, thus creating a vicious cycle that is self perpetuating (much like discussed in the article).

K. Hayles – Liberal Subjectivity Imperiled: Norbert Wiener and Cybernetic Anxiety
Cybernetics changes how the body’s boundaries are defined. Instead of merely being modifications to compensate for deficiencies such as hearing aids or canes, cybernetics become extensions which can enhance our limits and functioning. As we integrate man and machine questions arise leading one to wonder how far do we go and as we dissolve the boundary where does anxiety end and ecstasy begin? Cybernetics cannot be applied to everything. It was intended to increase our awareness and perception, but being so invested in our world may not make us good probes., therefore cybernetics may not be suitable for the human sciences. As Weiner observed it would leave us with exaggerated expextations and that as we lose the control of desires, we lose the ability to derive pleasure from those desires. Cybernetics was meant to enhance rather than subtract from human freedom, but in the end lost momentum as a universal science.

Thoughts:
Cybernetics was an interesting idea. The idea that we could extend our bodies into the world augmented by machines. While there is some validity into the discussion, I think that I would have to agree that these extensions eventually come to a point where they diminish our humanity and the balance is tipped, not necessarily for good either.

Diana I. Agrest – Architecture from Without: Body, Logic, and Sex
Exclusion and inclusion are parts of the same system, as systems are defined by these two characteristics. In architecture the woman is repressed (or excluded). As she tries to resurface, she is labeled abnormal and placed back into repression. Renaissance books on architecture further confirm this idea. Renaissance texts place man (a ‘well proportioned man’) at the center, a figure from which proportions are derived and architecture is continually related to. If the building is metaphorically a man, and therefore alive, it needs to be bron and created. In this action the architect becomes feminized as the ‘mother’ of the building, the client therefore could be seen by extension as the father. By becoming the mother, the architect (a man) usurps the femininity of the woman and represses her further. The qualities of motherhood and femininity are consistently usurped and ascribed to the male body. the system of architecture places women to the outside. Being on the outside of the system women are given the power to write to use public space as a forum of issues and try to place themselves into the architectural homogeneity to make it heterogeneous.

Donna Haraway – When Man is on the Menu
This article discusses how technological innovations have become cultural actors, creating new realities. The question is asked that as technological innovation continues and we realize that man is comprised of a deeper technological being, then what is to stop us from changing the inherent nature of man.

Thoughts:
While I do agree that woman has been traditional removed from architecture I also think that this traditional view is changing. The fact remains though that male dominance is very prevalent in architecture and architectural theory.