« October 2006 | Main | December 2006 »

November 28, 2006

Technopolies

From my understanding, technopolies are populations of people that thrive on incessant innovation. Technopolies form as a result of new technologies being introduced which are defined by their benefits, but also by their consequences. A new technology that may benefit one part of the population may also be detrimental to another. Neil postman uses television as an example:

“many people find it a blessing [television], not least those who have achieved high-paying, gratifying careers in television as executives, technicians, newscasters, and entertainers… On the other hand and in the long run, television may bring a gradual end to the careers of school teachers, since school was and invention of the printing press and must stand or fall on the issue of how much importance the printed word has.?

The computer and the internet could also be included in this example, as they have gradually made education virtual and mobile, reducing the need for instructors and even physical settings for education.

Following Lance Levine’s lecture on technology as an order of nature, it is safe to say that technology’s ability to create such technolopolies has come a long way. Beginning with the innovation of architecture throughout history, technology has had a meaning, a purpose. Architectural innovations in history, such as the Gothic cathedral, illustrated power and attempted to rectify reason and faith, to manifest heaven. By now it seems that technology has lost the integrity of meaning and purpose that it once illustrated. Or perhaps the meaning is so intense that it is lost within itself. The intended meaning and purpose of the Gothic cathedrals was clearly illustrated in its physical form, however, the intended meaning and purpose of such technology as, for example, the television is not as apparent. Was television created as a source of information flow? Or was it created as a source for entertainment?

In our society [American], technology is so abundant that the prospect of new technology is instilled in us, we expect it and it may not even phase us. In fact it seems to be the main focus of every part of our society, even in design. Isn’t it important for designers to be innovative, to think outside the box and do something that has never been done before? But what consequences does that have for design that has come before us? Or do the innovations in design that came before us influence our designs? Will our designs influence future innovations in design?

Will we know what it all means?


November 7, 2006

Proportion

When relating mathematics to design, proportion is the first thing that comes to my mind.

Proportion is a correspondence among the measures of the members of an entire work, and of the whole to a certain part selected as standard. From this result the principles of symmetry. Without symmetry and proportion there can be no principles in the design of any temple; that is, if there is no precise relation between its members as in the case of those of a well shaped man.? -- Vitruvius, The Ten Books of Architecture (III, Ch. 1)

Mathematical proportions are rooted in nature and have defined architecture (design) throughout history in all parts of the world. In every design there are mathematical relationships that control the interrelationships among components of the design.

Nature is its own designer. As humans and as part of nature’s design we can only be filled with admiration for achieving such beauty. Perhaps that is why designers throughout history have worked so hard to imitate nature (a form of biomimicry?).

Logarithmic spirals are known for a unique mathematical property: geometric progression. As the size of the spiral increases, the continuous shaped remains unaltered with each successive curve. The distances between each curve increases in geometric proportion. Logarithmic spirals are clearly a natural design.

Nautilus Shell 2.gif
Chambered Nautilus.

Weather Spiral 2.gif
Low-pressure system.

Galaxy Spiral.gif
Whirlpool Galaxy.

In the attempt to imitate such beauty, man hasn’t done too bad.

Vatican Stairs.gif
Spiral staircase in the Vatican Museum, Rome.