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Art Is Like the Plant.

The plant grows from its seed.
The characteristics of its form lie concealed in the potential power of the seed. The soil gives it strength to grow. And outer influences decide its shape on the environment.

Art is like the plant.
The quality of art lies concealed in the potential power of the people. The aim of the age is the soil that gives it vitality. And outer influences decide its fitness in its environment.
To understand life, and to conceive form to express this life, is the great art of man.

- Eliel Saarinen

When asked to explore how the built environment supports or detracts who I am in terms of frameworks, clockworks, phenomena, and oppositions, I find the quote from Saarinen’s reading this week to be quite fitting. If phenomena consist of clockworks, frameworks, and things…then can’t the discussed oppositions be considered phenomena?

For the sake of conversation, let’s just say that comparison can be made, and for ease of explanation allow me to summarize.

Phenomena = a system of clockworks, frameworks, and things.

Oppositions = man vs. nature; climate vs. enclosure; gravity vs. movement; permanence vs. entropy; mass vs. form; material vs. tool.

Architecture = a consequence of an opposition of two domains (human and physical realms).


Architecture = Oppositions = Phenomena = Clockworks, Frameworks, and Things = Life!

So this summarization has become quite confusing both to you (I’m sure) and me. I thought I had this all figured out in my head before I started writing…oh! That’s right, returning back to the opening quote from Saarinen.

“To understand life, and to conceive form to express this life, is the great art of man.?

To me, Saarinen is speaking to the importance of opposition within phenomena through the use and manipulation of clockworks, frameworks, and things to create architecture in order to understand life! Indeed architecture – or art – is a necessity to the understanding and appreciating and life… that’s what I’m trying to get at. So then of course the built environment supports who I am…and more generally speaking, art supports who I am. I believe art (and more specifically the built environment) supports who everyone is, whether they realize it or not.

So how then? How do these oppositions and creations of art affect who we are as a human society. The Oppositions of Materials and Tools and Man and Nature make an interesting connection to the opening quote about the seed.

Whatever the tool (seed, hammer, paintbrush) and whatever the material (soil, concrete, canvas) the opposition of the two THROUGH the means of MAN (building with hands) OR NATURE (natural cycles creating plant from seed) creates art!

An example of how the (tool:vinyl graphics) can interact with a (material:built structure) and with the help of a (man) art is created. This art has the ability to support or detract all those who come in contact with it.

These oppositions that occur every second of every day in the made, natural, or imagined parts of the universe support human society. They begin to let us try to understand and interpret oppositions and forces that are larger than life. And I suppose it is in this creation of the built environment as art that interested me to take this class. While I didn’t know the fancy terminology for each part of the puzzle the fantastic outcomes of their interactions have inspired me since I can remember.