Flexion + Abduction

In anatomy, Flexion is move­ment whereby bones or other ob­jects are brought closer to­gether, for ex­am­ple, flex­ion of the arm in­volves the fore­arm be­ing brought closer to the arm — note that flex­ion oc­curs only along the sagit­tal plane, that is, from the for­ward to back­ward di­rec­tion, and not side-to-side di­rec­tion, which would be called ab­duc­tion, flex­ion thereby de­creases the an­gle be­tween the bones of the limb at a joint.
— Form of Theory in Classical Hindu Architecture, 1994., faux quo­ta­tions af­ter Deleuze, The Fold and Bergsonism.

Abduction is a mo­tion that pulls a struc­ture or part away from the mid­line of the body (or, in the case of fin­gers and toes, spread­ing the dig­its apart, away from the cen­ter­line of the hand or foot). Abduction of the wrist is called ra­dial de­vi­a­tion. Raising the arms to the sides is an ex­am­ple of ab­duc­tion.

In op­po­si­tion to the un­der­stand­ing of ar­chi­tec­ture as tax­ono­mia, or a habit of clas­si­fy­ing — and nam­ing — things that dis­tract us from the ar­chi­tec­tural, there ex­ists an or­ganic di­a­gramme of forces: a me­chan­i­cal-an­i­mal amongst the vir­tu­al­i­ties of the ar­chi­tec­tural (after all, Architecture as well has ma­te­ri­al­ity only inas­much as it is ap­pre­hen­si­ble to the senses) and the ac­tu­al­i­ties of think­ing about ar­chi­tec­ture. There is the one hand, the build­ing — a decomposition of bend­ing mo­ments or of flex­ions where nu­mer­i­cal di­vi­sion is only the con­di­tion of mor­pho­genetic move­ments’ and on the other, the for­ma­tion of an or­gan­ism increasingly prob­a­ble and nat­ural when an in­fin­ity of in­ter­me­di­ate states is given’. A mul­ti­plic­ity may be formed and it is here, if ever, that a the­ory of ar­chi­tec­ture be­comes ten­able, it will re­sem­ble some­what a Mathesis uni­ver­salis (μάθησις) which is by it­self a flex­i­cal process.

… and their in­ter­lock­ing fin­gers
ex­press this right and
this left un­re­lent­ingly
uni­fied and so nec­es­sary
to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.
     The only pos­si­bil­ity of sur­vival
of­fered to life

Le Corbusier, A.5 in A. <em>Milieu</em>/Environment
Le Corbusier, A.5 in A. Milieu/Environment Source: The Poem of the Right Angle/Le Poeme de l’An­gle Droit, 1947-’53.


  1. Image and poem ex­cerpt from Le Corbusier, A.5 in A. Milieu/Environment, The Poem of the Right Angle/Le Poeme de l’An­gle Droit, 1947-’53.