δόξα

doxa (opinion), empirical knowledge of everyday facts and events, or of philosophical reality.

— δόξα, definition from Lawrence's unpublished 1920 abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
Reprinted in: OA (pp. 103-34); Lawrence (Thomas Edward): Evolution of a Revolt (pp. 100-19). Extract in: ETEL (pp. 214-20).

An ancient version of ABA-NET, release "hyperdream" held this contention to be true: that architecture inscribes the city, and is in turn inscribed by the city, and this is commonly understood at a level of representation the moment architects take care to distinguish the representations they deal with in course of their work from artistic representation. We can understand this inscribing at many levels, practising architects—who tend to operate within rigid organisational structures—can simply take a figural view, and take it to mean that work of an architect "fits snugly" inside the city, it is tangential to the city, and they can as always confirm their world-model and place their faith again for example in mud bricks and "sustainable architecture" and having thus outsourced their moralities, go back down to the business of fulfilling the programme and go practice architecture like indifferent automatons, reproducing impassively, imperceptibly the received commands, corruptible, they must list history as heritage and be done with it, participate with 'citizens' and co-create, even cultivate speech about the machines that subordinate them in order to inscribe the city. And by virtue of this sub-ordination, in lieu of it we evidence endless repetitions without affect: resiliant cities, heritage cities, 'smart' cities … we no longer have a city, it does not exist per se, we can only evidence figures repeatable and replicated endlessly.

Aerial view of the Nanna complex at Ur (Tell al Mugayyar) in 1927
Aerial view of the Nanna complex at Ur (Tell al Mugayyar) in 1927 : Explanatory note goes HERE. Source: History and monuments of Ur, by C. J. Gadd

Architects, on the other hand, affects, being undergoes a sensation and this sensation (an affect or feeling for example) gets inscribed in organic material - cities are corporeal, and the sensation … we must look LINK TO TXT-MEDIA-SHELL elsehwere lawrence, build a an organisation that assembles men, inscribes the desert - spatial organisatoins in battlefields are no different from cities - and what held them true, was lawrence’s tenth of a third, δόξα, collective (check plato and stuff on δόξα- and how it is an approximation but …)

δόξα comprises perhaps a fraction—not expressible in figures—of the middle element in T.E. Lawrence’s Science of Aims. It is a biological element, a Bionomic element, the breaking-point, of ‘life and death’ or better, wear and tear. There was a line of variability, of man running through its estimates amd its components were sensitive and illogical, so Binomics became to Lawrence a line touching every side of the corporeal being. Nine-tenths of Binomics was certain and it could be taught in the books, yet the tenth, a ‘felt’ element was only guessed at by δόξα would be the test of men, of the scientists of aims, as it can only be ensured by ‘instinct sharpned by thought practising the stroke so often that at the crisis it is as natural as a reflex.’

That tenth, δόξα, was sufficient twenty years ago when we first built ABA-NET, it was enough to have–spoken about the city, to traverse its spaces even as the city continued to traverse through algebraic abstractions comprising of the worlds that enclose it and incidentally provide the first element in Lawrence’s science, and here we could apply traditional architectural methods to the city, it was as always a matter of patient research. Here again δόξα sufficed to affect the final element of Lawrence’s science, that psychological element by which the architectural arts—by purposeful emotion—are designed to transcend the corporeal with its fixed conditions, its logical sequences, its well-known invariables, its space and time and inorganic things and become that art of human kindness. Here δόξα was the counter-ballast, it was that residue in the system of things which we could gather sitting by the roadside and in the classroom, acts of observing and conceptualizing became one, we could act by reflex, our radar consciousnesses tuned to a feeling, there was a method —“suddenly you touch my heart” said Le Corbusier “this is architecture”—at times it became possible to extrude architecture from the stuff of life and not steal it the way artists do for the confines of a gallery or a picture frame.

And the architectural disciplines are energizing, and it appears as if the ballast accured since the 17th century can no longer afford them the resistence or fulfill the programme. “Come off the road and take a stance” said Vincent Scully, “the City of Man will be shaped by the eyes of men”, but there no longer a table of truth that can gurantee these old certitudes. Maybe the Greeks were wise to consider the eye of the sun, it certainly obtains in South Asia where the abstractions that surround the architectural disciplines have developed vast technologies since 1990s, architects have suffocated, and planners raged under the apparātūs, we all know its many names: masterplanning, visionplans, TCPO, JNNURM, smart cities; and beneath is viscous-shiny surface we find again … boum, that something very old and very small, something snub-nosed, incapable of generosity that something behind the cyclopean eye arrayed about the our disciplines, that which is not a living thing and yet, that which behaves like one, … ou-boum … some are determined under that gaze, they are divided by that echo, and it begins to be easy to join issue or take issue. But we are architects, not tektōns. We have our disciplines, our methodologies, our categories and our technologies: these we have traditionally determined by ourselves, and there exists a state of architecture, an architectural state that did not figure in the minds of politically-minded men until late 16th century. It is easy to see how that figuratioin provided the scaffolding for almost every turn in architectural thinking since.

We have discussed the consequnces of such turns, so strongly established since 1857 in South Asia, on ABA-NET in the past, we have talked about the recent turns: cultural, linguistic, urban, computational, defined what we call ‘Architecture’—under erasure—today. A lot, perhaps too much, is said about the efficacy of architectural institutions, the ministries and their missions, the councils and research institutes, universities and colleges. Yet they are restrictive, “submergent of individuality” says Lawrence, “the lowest common denominator of men. The lower the denominator, the lower the individual efficiency and more sure the performance”. Yet the same institutions, by their charters, by their codes of conduct, by specializations afforded to them in law, by the structure of their curriculum where the Design Studio, that leftover from the 16th century, has primacy; by all, they demand individual efficiency, the architect is required, by necessity to be an exceptional individual. These institutions are constructed like citadels in the minds of those consumed by the apparātūs and it is easy to see why they should be left as they are just as Lawrence was content to leave his enemy at as they were.

What Architexturez is recording since 2011 suggests we concentrate again on aims and the formation of the architect, as a person, with this version of ABA-NET, as we did in 2001 with the Blacksite. The method will be as before, we will aim for maximum articulation, through architecture, by purposeful emotion through the architectural moment, its madness, its ecstasies, by succession perhaps it is still sufficient to have–spoken, and we will aim for maximum articulation.

Footnotes

  1. See Inscribed and circumscribed figures. A.B. Ivanov, Encyclopedia of Mathematics.
  2. Though it is very difficult to see how Sustainibility is a subject for architecture, per se, in a formal analysis A future section on this website will present the analytics and the computational software.
  3. The moment we take care to distinguish representations dealt with by architects from artistic representation.
  4. An astonishing number of practising architects and planners find it important to speak about the government's smart cities programme in India for example. That about the same number claim to be something else, something at once other practicing architects—artists, writers, educators, … well, something artistic— is no coincidence.
  5. As we write this, on 7th July 2017, a historic Ahmedabad ceased to be a city in a perception capture, it now exists as an instance of historical heritage city in a system of repeatble logics. Delhi LINK TO FB-2015-10-29 survived this eventuality by an error.
  6. Bhatt, Anand. "Benaras Ghats." In Composition of the City. New Delhi: Architexturez Imprints, 1992. 
  7. See DSC00134 — Restaurant in American Zone, New Delhi, or, an evening out in Alphaville. 
  8. Flexion/Abduction — Form of Theory in Classical Hindu Architecture, 1994., with faux quotations after Deleuze, The Fold and Bergsonism
  9. Footnote Patient research 
  10. Panofsky, Erwin. Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism. New York: Meridian Books, 1957. 
  11. A. K. Ramanujan. "Is there an Indian Way of Thinking? An Informal Essay". In Contributions to Indian Sociology 1989; 23; 41  
  12. See Earstwhile Natural History Museum at FICCI - May, 2016 
  13. "It is the ballast that chains a dog to his vomit" we said on the cover of a previous version of ABA-NET, Habit is that Bellast, says Samuel Beckett in Proust, 1930 
  14. See Mode of the Axonometric: a Techné. 
  15. Bhatia, Gautam. Looking through Walls: Architecture in the age of McDonalds. New Delhi, India, 2001. 
  16. Dewan Verma, Gita. Slumming India: A chronicle of slums and their saviours. Second ed. MPISG. New Delhi: Architexturez Imprints, 2012. 
  17. E.M. Forster. A passage to India, Harcourt, Brace and Co. 1924 
  18. See Processes in Indian architectural history 
  19. Life is habit. Or rather life is a succession of habits, since the individual is a succession of individuals; the world being a projection of the individual’s consciousness (an objectivation of the individual’s will, Schopenhauer would say), the pact must be continually renewed, the letter of safe-conduct brought up to date. The creation of the world did not take place once and for all time, but takes place every day. Habit then is the generic term for the countless treaties concluded between the countless subjects that constitute the individual and their countless correlative objects. The periods of transition that separate consecutive adaptations (because by no expedient of macabre transubstantiation can the grave-sheets serve as swaddling-clothes) represent the perilous zones in the life of the individual, dangerous, precarious, painful, mysterious and fertile, when for a moment the boredom of living is replaced by the suffering of being.
    — Samuel Beckett in Proust, 1930 
  20. See Fossilic