EDITORIAL PROLOGUE | WELCOME!
There is a loose organizing structure to this first release of basilisk, that gathers itself around the category of the virtual. Not necessarily 'Virtual Reality,' as current hype understands it, but other operative realms of the virtual which have existed within technologies of representation, language, and production.
These issues in representation are addressed by Andrew Benjamin in his essays on Blade Runner and Deleuze-
At Home with Replicants and Time, Question, Fold - vis a vis film and other realms of the virtual. His piece on Blade Runner looks at the economic/political and power structures implied by architecture in the film. In his piece on folding he examines Deleuze' relationship to the virtual via the investigation of the fold and questions issues of complexity when employing the fold as a concept/process.
In Composite Modernism, Sean Daly opens up a new line of inquiry on the work of Oscar Nitschke and Paul Nelson, in early C20 Paris. He focuses on the intersection of architectural, political, and industrial sensibilities and forces in the work of these two designers: and specifically challenges previous readings of their work by developing an analysis based on programmatic concerns, in contrast to the school of thought developed by Rowe that stressed the visual in the development and manipulation of architectural form.
In Tanuja Desai's 'A Drink with Angela', we meet a young man who is entirely configured by a series of obsessions (desiring machines) latent or pathological; these fields of subjective intensity, hyperplanes of personal becoming, diagram the provisional nature of subjectivity and question the distinction between truth and fiction. The description of instrumentalities which generate such pathological/latent intensities is a question that lies in the background of the story constantly and is the project of all the works in this issue.
We find again an interrogation of the machinic in relation to the evolution of form in Greg Lynn's essay 'The Renewed Novelty of Symmetry.' One of the closing arguments that Lynn makes stresses the need to develop new ways of understanding context (architectural and otherwise) as fields in constant dynamic movement, in an intricate exposition taking us through theories of biological evolution. The implications of these reconfigured techniques for understanding the performative aspects of the growth of form (biologically and architecturally, but with clear isomorphisms to what Focillon had earlier developed as the 'life of forms in art', and that can now be understood to apply to economics, the development of language, and so on) are taken up in Ed Keller's piece on Cinematic Thresholds where he continues the trajectory Benjamin and Lynn set up in an attempt to link specific techniques in Cinema and the Web to tendencies in the formation of subjectivity. Various instrumentalities explored in this piece are investigated in Keller's animations as well.
Peter Macapia's essay Some Notes on Reversible Perspective: Part I, Sensation as Sign looks at a moment in history when the mechanics of binocular vision were being debated, and dissects these debates for their implications on the way that subjectivity would henceforth be reconsidered. Through the combination of minute analyses of the question 'exactly where does seeing/perception occur, and what are its mechanics?,' with issues of the configuration of the subject through language, and representation in general, he develops an alternative map of the generation of modern notions of the seeing, perceiving subject.
In Perry Hall's exhibition Black Light Market, subjectivity, memory and the creative process are likewise interrogated through what Hall describes as 'alchemical processes'. The surface of Hall's work becomes a site for complex processes of construction, and then interpretation. This concern with process and an investigation of the results of a partially automatic process have resonance with the work of Greg Lynn FORM. This office arrives at architectural form based on a series of generative moves that result from programmatic and formal site analysis. Again, the question which initiates the process asks what forces produce the 'work' that the project will carry out; in Greg Lynn's case, the office identifies programmatic moments and begins to extrapolate architecture based upon conclusions about the 'work' of the project (cf. Lynn's text.) This process informs the conceptual orientation of the operative voids project, by Ed Keller and Gregg Pasquarelli, which identifies instrumental characteristics and results pertaining specifically to urban void and derelict space.
There is a loose kinship between some of the issues raised above, especially Greg Lynn's recent use of computers as an analytical and generative tool (cf. Yokohama, Port Authority), Keller's similar methods (cf. urban cuttlefish). As well, there is a rethinking of the nature of architecture as a static presence in society. There are implications in the way that these 'permeable' forms can be understood to function as attractors (read chreods; cf. Waddington) for specific programs, such as events/concerts/transportation and the like.
Leslie Shih's serial v e l l e i t y, which will be unfolding over the course of this year, takes a cynical look at the issues surrounding power, surveillance, and the architectural and film worlds. He uses an exposition on framing vis a vis the word and image which links to the configuration of the subject and the body politic.
-Basilisk was conceived in 1994, when I and several other people realized that the World Wide Web had reached a critical point as a communicative media. This came after several years of thinking about technology in relation to society, and also after three years on my part as a consultant to architects, doing renderings on my SGI using Softimage.
As an online publication, basilisk is a response to the wide bandwidth, dialogic nature that we feel the internet has finally achieved. Our content includes essays and projects addressing architecture, urban studies, philosophy, cinema, theory, cultural criticism, literature, the medical practices, music and the arts. We are accessible around the world on the internet using World Wide Web browsers, preferably Netscape.
-Basilisk will be issuing several special editions in 1995. Although it may be too hasty to predict exactly what these will be, we are negotiating with several architectural publications to deploy previously published work on the internet, and to mount special issues documenting conferences as purely internet based events. These endeavors are in keeping with our editorial position, which aims to foster and assist the development of a critical media theory vis a vis the world wide hypertext environment encountered using the World Wide Web. We are also designing an interface that incorporates web forms and other deployable interfaces, possibly even a separate application, for navigating both our content and other sites on the WEB. We consider the creation of a dialogic environment which addresses the capabilities and specific instrumentalities that are brought into play by the WEB to be of utmost importance.
EDITORIAL BOARD/PRODUCTION TEAM | ISSUE 1.0 |
- EDITOR/CGI/ART & CREATIVE DIRECTOR/WRITER/WEBMASTER
- Edward Keller
- CONTRIBUTING EDITOR/WRITER/ART DIRECTOR/COPY EDITOR
- Tanuja Desai
- CONTRIBUTING ARTIST & EDITOR/CGI/CREATIVE DIRECTOR
- Greg Lynn
- CONTRIBUTING ARTIST & EDITOR/GRAPHIC DESIGN/ARTIST IN RESIDENCE/ZENMASTER
- Perry Hall
- CONTRIBUTING EDITOR/CREATIVE DIRECTOR
- Leslie Shih
Greg Lynn Form
© COPYRIGHT INFORMATION |
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BECOMING ANIMAL / BASILISK |
Basilicus basilicus is a small tropical american lizard that has the curious ability to run on water, due to its light weight and great speed. This lizard perches on tree limbs over rivers, and will also dive to the bottom in moments of danger. The name 'basilisk', however, also invokes a mythical creature, possibly bred by a serpent from a roc's egg, which has fatal breath and whose visage turns one to stone. We have adopted the basilisk as our mascot due to its material concerns and abilities- diving into and running on water, though a land creature- and its mythical overtones. As well, our concern with the multiplication of subjectivity in both our daily lives, and technologically across the WWWeb, is invoked by the becoming animal that the basilisk is. The becoming animal, which we use here as a more accurate model of our human subjectivity, is thus embodied by the Basilisk.