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SYLLABI : SCI-Arc Spring '09 - Hybrid of Extremes : Commerce & Contemplation

VS s09 : Hybrid of Extremes

Vertical Studio Syllabi

By Professor Michael Rotondi, FAIA

HYBRID OF EXTREMES: the epicenter of commerce and contemplation a reconciliation of two speeds ; slow (memory) and fast (action)

Things are different now. Just how different is indeterminate and what the final state will be is unknowable. What created this predicament is short term thinking, our inability to pace ourselves to endure, our diminished patience, and need for diminishing time horizons for ‘returns on investments’, both personal and collective. It seems that we no longer are regulated or guided by a common vision or story and we have a growing propensity to negotiate our private interests in public forums. We have created quite a mess.

Individualism Altruism why do we study insect societies? Because their social organizations cohesive and innately altruistic. They best exemplify the full seep of ascending levels of organization from molecule to society. We witness social design to solve collective problems, both communal and ecological for the sake of endurance. This is a fundamental imprint. We can only emulate this behavior, although we have a similar imprint. We are primarily Individualistic. Altruism is present when our survival as a species or a society is threatened. Our question this semester will be, ‘is it possible for us to be altruistic in the best of times?’

Body Mind the body moves systematically, and relatively slowly. When it is working properly and with a particular focus, each part ‘moves’ in proportion to other parts ; common goal, synchronized action, effective performance. It apprehends the world directly through senses and sub-senses (heat and cold, gravity, speed, etc) The body time structures are rhythmic, cyclical, and sequential.

The brain works systematically but moves a-systematically, and at warp speed.When it is working properly and with particular focus, it can see what is less than visible, the order that lies within, and can imagine what is not present yet. It apprehends the world by analyzing primary sensations and transforming them into perceptions. The brains time structures are non-rhythmic, non-cyclical, and non-sequential

The mind-body complex ( subtle body) is the quintessential example of the ‘hybrid of extremes’. One plus one equals one.

the hybrid of extremes occurs when two ‘things’ become one. In fact they already are one system, but we could not see it or imagine it. Finally we realize that it has always been so.

BOTH / AND In the influential book, Complexity and Contradiction, Venturi and Scott-Brown proposed an aesthetic argument for a more balanced and inclusive world view and approach to practice. The phrase either–or was replaced with both-and. Colin Rowe also implied this in Collage City. We often talked about this as a social model, unity and diversity - and then a personal model – intense concentration and open mindedness Introverted and extroverted Particular and universal Simplicity and complexity Consistency and contradiction Continuity and discontinuity

We no longer had to take sides, or dis integrate something to know it, when we accepted the meaning of both – and.

“what part of the horse is the horse’ the shaman asked me when I looked puzzled at his naming of the constellation, the star, the place, the ritual, the dancer, and the experience, with just one word. This was unusual for me to hear."