Typological Instituteds

Definition 01: By Typological Instituteds I mean things: the in­scrip­tions, marks of the state, the internal’ reg­u­la­tory prin­ci­ples, i.e., the things’ in­di­cat­ing the hi­ero­glyph that per­sists at the core of ar­chi­tec­ture.
Definition 02: Codes of inner’ co­her­ence, marks of unique­ness or iden­tity that must be dis­tin­guished from the reg­u­la­tive just as the law is from the po­lice.
— See: Dynamics of Meaning in Arhitectural Form and On Typology/Mapping Heterologies.

This con­tention holds every­thing to­gether: that a con­tem­po­rary the­ory of the ar­chi­tec­tural should live as wa­ter in wa­ter through a the­ory of state; as in it’s zeal to de­scribe and trans­form norms (or, lim­its), the state can hold reality’, that is, what holds our cat­e­gories main­tanant. The state un­der­takes the pro­ject of con­struc­tion, mo­bil­is­ing de­sire; and si­mul­ta­ne­ously, at times will­fully in­scrib­ing its pro­jects with specters of de­spair – an ar­chi­tec­tural pro­ject be­comes real’ through this an­tag­o­nism.

The busi­ness of en­cod­ing space - rep­re­sen­ta­tion - seems to dis­play this in­her­ent con­ti­gu­ity:

John Hejduc, House of the Mother of Suicide
John Hejduc, House of the Mother of Suicide Source: Hélène Binet


  1. Yet noth­ing of what we know of writ­ing, or of its role in evo­lu­tion, can be said to jus­tify this con­cep­tion. One of the most cre­ative phases in hu­man his­tory took place with the on­set of the ne­olithic era: agri­cul­ture and the do­mes­ti­ca­tion of an­i­mals are only two of the de­vel­op­ments which may be traced to this pe­riod. It must have had be­hind it thou­sands of years dur­ing which small so­ci­eties of hu­man be­ings were not­ing, ex­per­i­ment­ing, and pass­ing on to one an­other the fruits of their knowl­edge. The very suc­cess of this im­mense en­ter­prise bears wit­ness to the rigour and the con­ti­nu­ity of its prepa­ra­tion, at a time when writ­ing was quite un­known. If writ­ing first made its ap­pear­ance be­tween the fourth and third mil­len­nium be­fore our era, we must see it not, in any de­gree, as a con­di­tion­ing fac­tor in the ne­olithic rev­o­lu­tion, but rather as an al­ready-dis­tant and doubt­less in­di­rect re­sult of that rev­o­lu­tion. With what great in­no­va­tion can it be linked? Where tech­nique is con­cerned, ar­chi­tec­ture alone can be called into ques­tion. Yet the ar­chi­tec­ture of the Egyptians or the Sumerians was no bet­ter than the work of cer­tain American Indians who, at the time America was dis­cov­ered, were ig­no­rant of writ­ing. Conversely, be­tween the in­ven­tion of writ­ing and the birth of mod­ern sci­ence, the west­ern world has lived through some five thou­sand years, dur­ing which time the sum of its knowl­edge has rather gone up and down than known a steady in­crease. It has of­ten been re­marked that there was no great dif­fer­ence be­tween the life of a Greek or Roman cit­i­zen and that of a mem­ber of the well-to-do European classes in the eigh­teenth cen­tury. In the ne­olithic age, hu­man­ity made im­mense strides for­ward with­out any help from writ­ing; and writ­ing did not save the civ­i­liza­tions of the west­ern world from long pe­ri­ods of stag­na­tion. Doubtless the sci­en­tific ex­pan­sion of the nine­teenth and twen­ti­eth cen­turies could hardly have oc­curred, had writ­ing not ex­isted. But this con­di­tion, how­ever nec­es­sary, can­not in it­self ex­plain that ex­pan­sion.
    If we want to cor­re­late the ap­pear­ance of writ­ing with cer­tain other char­ac­ter­is­tics of civ­i­liza­tion, we must look else­where. The one phe­nom­e­non which has in­vari­ably ac­com­pa­nied it is the for­ma­tion of cities and em­pires: the in­te­gra­tion into a po­lit­i­cal sys­tem, that is to say, of a con­sid­er­able num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als, and the dis­tri­b­u­tion of those in­di­vid­u­als into a hi­er­ar­chy of castes and classes. Such is, at any rate, the type of de­vel­op­ment which we find, from Egypt right across to China, at the mo­ment when writ­ing makes its de­but; it seems to favour rather the ex­ploita­tion than the en­light­en­ment of mankind. This ex­ploita­tion made it pos­si­ble to as­sem­ble workpeo­ple by the thou­sand and set them tasks that taxed them to the lim­its of their strength: to this, surely, we must at­tribute the be­gin­nings of ar­chi­tec­ture as we know it. If my hy­poth­e­sis is cor­rect, the pri­mary func­tion of writ­ing, as a means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, is to fa­cil­i­tate the en­slave­ment of other hu­man be­ings. The use of writ­ing for dis­in­ter­ested ends, and with a view to sat­is­fac­tions of the mind in the fields ei­ther of sci­ence or the arts, is a sec­ondary re­sult of its in­ven­tion and may even be no more than a way of re­in­forc­ing, jus­ti­fy­ing, or dis­sim­u­lat­ing its pri­mary func­tion.”
    Text ex­cerpt from A Writing Lesson,” Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tristes tropiques. New York: Criterion, 1961; pp. 290-93. (Translated by John Russell, with some mod­i­fi­ca­tions)
  2. Read for ex­am­ple Náà (the) in Yorùbá. Although Yorùbá has no gram­mat­i­cal gen­der, t has a dis­tinc­tion be­tween hu­man and non-hu­man nouns. Salience mark­ing in Yorùbá Náà per­forms three func­tions – the unique­ness func­tion, the ad­di­tive func­tion and the iden­tity func­tion. Ref: Ọládiípọ̀ Ajíbóyè, The Syntax and Semantics of Yoruba Nominal Expressions. Oxford: African Books Collective, 2016.
  3. These texts stub­bornly as­sume the core’ in­scrip­tion of any ar­chi­tec­ture to be hi­ero­glyphic marks of the I’. Or, con­struc­tions erected like dikes”.