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Kahn and Gershenfeld Readings

I don't know about anyone else, but the last reading by Louis Kahn was extremely difficult to get through, and even to understand. So, if this doesn't make sense the way it is intneded, I apologize.

The reading by Neil Gershenfeld was very intersting. He is a professor at MIT teaching a revolutionary course called How To Make (almost) Anything. It involves the process and thoughts about sending technology to be manufactured and updated for the individual instead of being produced alike for the masses. He calls this "personal fabrication." It involves not only the creation of three dimensional structures but also the integration of logic, sensing, and display. He analyses the fact that when two dimesional computaion systems were pioneered, they weighed literally tons and filled enitire rooms. They later evoloved into structures the size of desks, then the personal computer, then the modern PC. His thinking about the new process of personal fabrication in that it will take the same steps in evolving as the modern computer and printing systems did and are still doing. He and his students set out around the world to actually test there personal fabrication theries in the field. Thier labs were put together at the various locations for a cost of about 20,000 dollars apiece. For instance, they set up a lab in Pabal in Western India becasue the people there wanted to use the lab to develop measurment devices for applications ranging from milk safety to agricultural engine efficiency. Equally intersting was how intelligentally his students used the personal fabrication labs in their own projects. My favorite was the ScreamBody, built by Kelly Dobson. It is a personal device for screaming. It was built just for her to store her screams she is compelled to release in situations that would otherwise not allow her to scream. I feel that this idea is brilliant, not only in its use of the lab, but in the fact that is really is technology developed for the individual, for her. That is the essence of personal fabrication.

The writing by Louis Kahn was very hard for me to understand. I don't know what to say about it so I'll say what I understood. He is talking about architecture, particularly building, as being designed and introduced to architecture in itself. He also talked about natural light being the reason all things are visible and how understanding a buildings plan with respect to the light is very important. He quotes in his writing, "It is my belief that we live to express. The whole motivation of presence is to express. And what nature gives us is the instrument of expression which we all know as ourselves, which is lioke giving the instrument upon which the song of the soul can be played. The sanctuary of art-I'm taking this little lesson to say that it is the treasury of the shadows."
Kahn also spoke about the university. He asked what is a university? One of his students said that he thought the Universtiy was best represnted by the central librbary, the place where the contents is offered to the mind. In a sense a kind of learning sanctuary, a sanction. This analization reminds him of the Acropolis.

I think these writings relate because they both talk about individual forms of expression. The personal fabrication labs promotes fabricating 3-dimensional technologies designed and built by the individual. This is the same idea talked about with Kahn's talk about what is a University. Man would pay a tax to build a distrinct place for learning to fullfil his desire to learn and become and individual. Thats what I got out of it!!