Monday, March 2, 2009
Questions for Discussion 8
In the excerpt entitled The New Langauge of Cinema, Lev Monovich discusses the evolution of cinematic representation parallel to technological advancements. In the section The New Temporality: The Loop as Narrative Engine, he discusses the traditional linear narrative of cinema; "In contrast, narrative cinema avoids repetition; like modern Western fiction forms in general, it puts forward a notion of human existence as a linear progression through numerous unique events.”
Monovich then draws on the history of the “loop” in computer applications, computer games, and playback interfaces (QuickTime) and asks the question "Can the loop be a new narrative form appropriate for the computer age?” The idea of the “loop as a new narrative form” could have valid application to the study of architecture and the city, specifically a way to evoke the narrative ability of architecture and the systematic study of the city through progressive “loops,” with each loop adding a new layer of information that is collected then graphically represented. “As the practice of computer programming illustrates, the loop and the sequential progression do not have to be considered mutually exclusive.”
The Loop as Narrative: Architecture
Can the narrative ability of architecture be logically explored in the terms of the loop?
Here are a number of projects that contain the two temporal forms (loop and narrative) and have a somewhat linear circulation flow pattern where the pedestrian moves through the building in sequential progression. It should be noted that Monovich lists the Mobius House in his article as an illustration of his argument.
The Danteum; Guiseppe Terragni; Rome; 1942 (never constructed)
The Kunsthal; OMA; Rotterdam, Netherlands; 1992
Mobius House; UN Studio/Van berkel & Bos; Utrecht, Netherlands; 1998
Pontifical Lateran University Library Extension; King Roselli Architects; Rome, Italy; 2006
The Loop as Narrative: The City
Can the mapping of a city be represented or re-played in loop format (multiple loops) so that thoughtful analysis can occur and evolve? Can a narrative about the city emerge out of these multiple layers or loops? Mapping can be thought of as a layering of information that provokes thought about new relationships so can we begin to represent these layers as audio/visual loops that progressively add more information?
The Invisible City: Design in the age of intelligent maps discusses the possibilities of what designers can do with mapping, which can be helpful in thinking of what these “loops” can begin to show. “The act of mapping itself is a process of analysis, discovery, and design. It is a process of finding and giving meaning to information, contextualizing information, and of developing new understandings of the places represented…[mapping can be used for] finding patterns by layering information and letting relationships emerge through the process. As making maps allows relationships and patterns to become intuitively apparent, when data is entered into a GIS, these intuited relationships can be quantitatively verified.”
Lastly, if we begin to think about strategically mapping the city and playing this information back in loops, each loop containing a new layer of information, or maybe just the same information collected at a different time; can we think of these loops as feedback loops that inform the future design of the city? This question goes back to the idea of the city as an emergent organism, that can be studied and learned from, much like computer software or “real-world organisms.” (The Myth of the Ant Queen)
Albert, Saul, Critical Cartography
Manovich, Lev, The New Language of Cinema in the Language of New Media
Varnelis, Kazys and Meisterlin, Leah. The Invisible City: Design in the Age
of Intelligent Maps
(mentioned) The Myth of the Ant Queen from Stephen Johnson's "Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software"