from Presumption of Functionality lecture
The Bartlett School of Architecture
“’I see you’re admiring my little box,’ the Knight said in a friendly tone. ‘It’s my own invention- to keep clothes and sandwiches in. You see I carry it upside down, so that the rain can’t get in.’
‘But things can get OUT,’ Alice gently remarked. ‘Do you know the lid’s open?’
‘I didn;’t know it.’ The Knight said, a shade of vexation passing over his face. ‘Then all the things must have fallen out! And the box is no use without them.’”
We look at Mechudzu making itself manifest in two primary ways - the Kuzusurface, and
the Kuzu form.
Kuzuform is the object in/of a drawing, model, or space.
Kuzusurface is the entire composition.
Kuzuform, in its awakening over the course of many hundreds of drawings, has spent a great deal of time observing, hoping to become aware of itself and its page condition. It makes some of the following conclusions by observing itself and the components of its composition.
Kuzuform also realizes that its own components have the capability of independent thought and autonomous life. It revels in its unique ability to have this simultaneous condition of thought and self[s]-awareness. The following are conditions of this awareness:
“Condition One : Unflat”
1) The page no longer exhibits properties of being flat.
Instead it has layers, surfaces, shells, grounding matrices, portals and other conditions. And it is its own key to the discovery and development of these un-flat conditions. All of these position it as a multi-dimensional concept. Once it realizes these non-surface ideas, it begins to transform the same concepts to what we might call “generic” architectural conditions.
“Condition Two : Intentionally Unintentional”
2) The investigation of graphics or demarcations on/of the page itself.
Kuzuform discovers that this yields not only a new Kuzuform, but a new Kuzusurface. Can it be that this observation is the key that allows for perpetual life of the Kuzuform? Perpetual life in the context of Mechudzu…
The actual virgin page has native imprinted information. These lines and shapes themselves become a new surface layer, not only a set of graphics organized on a 2D layer, but a complex system of related spatial markers and conditions arranged or organized in a very 3D system. The reading of these marks is both the poetry and the hindrance. There is no formal ruling system that dictates where these marks inhabit within the Cartesian system. What is three inches in the Y/Y plane, may in fact be several hundred feet in the Z axis, thus making the random grouping of these indicators a pure spatial investigation in itself.
“Condition Three : DeCONstruction”
3) The lines or demarcations on the page or surface allow themselves to be explored as indications of information of deformation.
They are not only the places where the drawing mechanism responds, but themselves are the actual designators of breaks in the plane structure of the page surface. They are both elements in the drawing and the page itself - what we might label as the page structure. They utilize projection systems - fore, mid and background signifiers, the blending or distortion of these zones, multiple horizon tags, and simple or pure graphic conditions. Kuzuform realizes that it's cousin – the working drawings or construction documents – also subscribes to this theory of information reduction.
Kuzuform acknowledges that by its nature, these distant but
heavily related cousins must reduce information so that they may refine the actual data which they are trying to convey. The DNA of the Kuzuform cannot be separated from, nor analyzed independently of, the typical conditions of the architectural drawing. Doing so would constitute a denial of its own DNA.
“Condition Four : Materiality”
4) Kuzuform notes that this new condition is, at least with current technology and materiality, EXCLUSIVE to its bloodline, that of the typical architectural drawing, and NOT of its offspring DigitalPaper** - the progression of materiality of Digitalpaper is the Hardware-to-OS-to-Software-to-interface. DP, as of 2008, does NOT have the interface potential of the [true] "found page" … to be read as:
intended for another purpose other than the receptacle to which the act of drawing may respond.
5) That is not to say that one might not "find" a digital print-form meant for perhaps accounting, say an excel spreadsheet, on which to "draw"... however current conditions dictate that one must transform said spreadsheet into a "drawable condition", like the saving of a blank ".xl" file to a ".jpg" format, for transference into Photoshop [which is a "non-native" condition] in order to become a receptacle. That transference label of “file typology” is the transmutational event that removes its native condition. Oddly enough, this file transmute is the very nature of computing.
The printed form…current condition…found object, i.e. the ledger page, is considered "native"- meaning that it is in its intended "condition", and does not need to be "saved" or "transformed" to another format in order to be ready for graphic impregnation of the non-native variety… in this case line typologies or media different than that of its own printing process.
7) Kuzuform sits back and makes notes on the five types of reflections it sees while gazing into the surface membrane... that three types of lines emerge from this awareness: • Object lines,
• graphic lines,
• and what might be labeled page structure lines.
Although ultimately, it is the drawing's nature and desire to blur the distinction of these typologies to produce what might be called a fragmented harmony. And doing so in celebration of the angst of its critics, or the purists.
Kuzuform understands, as it realizes its own state of self-awareness, that to call any components of its DNA, composition, and ultimately "universe" that of "the line" is somewhat absurd to itself. But then also has a momentary lapse of "reality" and acknowledges the "fact" [again, in drawing, if such an animal], that its entire epigenetic condition or existence is dictated and defined by “line" [and perhaps "shape" and "image".. though both of those are responsive to the original condition of "line"]...
It initially realizes that if said ".xl" file is saved as a ".PDF" or ".jpg" to be opened in Photoshop- that is indeed a "picture" of a line, not a line itself! Is this a pipe… or a picture of a pipe?
The third type of line is perhaps a new condition that KF did not actually acknowledge before: The typology of "page structure" lines. These lines attempt to designate the location and in fact existence of the conceptual structure, not of the "paper"… but of the "page" or surface. Paper is flat. It has limited and measurable thickness – the "Z-ness" in a Cartesian system. Page or surface, however, in this case, has unlimited Z-ness... and this new line typology attempts to recognize and reveal such a condition.
PAPER is flat…. PAGE is not
If we consider one definition of page to momentarily be:
“to summon or alert by electronic pager, or to control an electrical appliance or machine, remotely by means of an electronic signal”
Then we can begin to import a more symbolic content of the ideas of Mechudzu or Digital Paper, and even the concept that the mark on a surface is indeed the artificial calling of a space-time event, perhaps to the analogy of an archeological dig of ,an event that has yet to occur…
Then the use of the term page extends beyond that of paper, and begins to allow for a type of physical and systematic structural exploration that yields a much broader understanding of content as medium vs. the old paradigm that content carries media.
What then are the potentialities of the structure, for not only the page, but of the drawing itself?
So now that we have begun to peel back the layers of not only the page surface but the drawing itself, where does that take us?
What new typologies and conditions may be found by revealing this latent condition within the page itself? It would seem that the drawing mechanism becomes a tool for its own investigation. And we are not referring to the imprint medium, such as ink or graphite, but rather a condition of the native page.
Or perhaps more specific to this examination - paper.
For this investigation, native paper refers to the pre-printed forms that are used for various data-input situations, such as spreadsheets, inventory lists, accounting ledgers, and the like. The medium of the paper has not come into play in this fashion before. The Japanese animation pages on which many of the original Hybridawings were constructed addressed the registration components found natively on the sheet, but only as superficial edge conditions, not as a key to understanding the structure of the paper itself - the Kuzusurface.
Novelties of random registration marks and other such artifacts were indeed a sample acknowledgement of a printing process residue. These are foreign to the paper itself, for paper has no native markings… but native for intended use. It should be noted that there is no such animal as registration marks on cut sheets of printed pages, such as ledger or columnar books, similar to a sheet of un-cut stamps that might yield a further understanding of the structure of the demarcations.
Printers’ intentions. And the printing process, are left as physical residue. If in fact these demarcations are the true identity of the native page condition [in realspace...], then any remnants, throw aways, or non-visible markings become critical in understanding the process and method of the native condition of the page or paper.
What then are the options for construction, or in this case understanding the methods of uncovering the strata of the printed page for drawing exploration?
What has been left for us to discover… or to mis-interpret?
This is an important idea in architecture, as the extension from page to site is a natural one, thus calling into mind the potentials of uncovering the strata of the given site condition when concocting an architectural investigation. The notion of finding, seeing or locating information about any given architectural condition is seen as the premise to a more complete investigation.
What are options for the infection of a non-native typology into an existing surface typography?
Meaning, a ledger book does not typically receive information other than text, and not usually, if ever, does it receive information or impregnation in or at places other than the designated cells. That goes against its function, its purpose, its raison d'être. Once you incorrectly enter information - in this case being defined as hand input lines - then you ignore the inference of the native page function.
We contend that breaking the implied rules of input renders the page function as an anomaly, thus causing a system malfunction at the data input level. That's where the beauty of the Kuzusurface emerges. it is in fact where it is born... beautiful or not. The afterbirth residue of a systemic malfunction...Though the acknowledgement of the imprint.. the lines, columns and color coded configurations that serve as the ruling system for input is critical for the initial exploration and development of the drawing system itself.... a condition of data input if there ever was such a thing....
It , at least initially, and this is where we have become stumped... has to respond to the printed structure... not in the same way as its functional coding- following data only allowed IN the cells themselves... but using the structure of the native-print to inform placement for tracing, alignment, and deviation.
The question becomes for Kuzusurface then how to depart from these guidelines... how to deform the grid so to speak,.. and yet still use it as a base system or organization... not of input dictation... but to reveal its hidden layering condition...
It is a tool for revealing the depths of both the suggested "Z" axis… but the history of its making, for example the "cut sheet" condition, as well as the symbology of its intended, or native, use... plus the meaning of its cellular intention. Where does it go from here...?
Does it stay in the drawing universe?
Does it slip quietly into the narrative of architectural investigation and therefore production… architecture in this case as being define as the pursuit of “building”..?
Kuzusurface finds that the next level of development is blurred by the imprinted native lines themselves... all doing their initial job so well as to dictate usage, input.. and therefore output. As well as dictate confusion... So the question for the maker now becomes the investigation of not only new lineforms such as kuzuform + kuzusurface... but the harvesting of as many different native-print papers as possible.... without a duplication of input intention, as there are only so many accounting books.. only so many billing forms.. etc.
I think the quest takes a necessary detour…. or perhaps this detour is in fact NOT a tangent, but the actuation of the fated path itself… to acquire numerous unique native-print page conditions.. to see if the kuzuform takes on a new meaning and new language with each new native condition.