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The architecture of the extended mind: towards a critical
School of Architecture and the Built Environment
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The Architecture of the Extended Mind:
Towards a Critical Urban Ecology Jon Clendenning Goodbun A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Westminster for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy June 2011 The Architecture of the Extended Mind: Towards a Critical Urban Ecology Abstract This thesis is concerned with the difficulties that the discipline of architecture has encountered in thinking about and articulating ecological questions in recent years. I argue that it is precisely because the problems posed by the environmental question have so many personal, political and social dimensions, and are so radically trans-disciplinary, that architectural discourse and its metropolitan mediations is well positioned to reflect upon, articulate and stage as a new modern project, this multi-disciplinary and socio-ecological complexity.
The content of this thesis therefore crosses a number of different fields within the arts and sciences. I scrutinise a series of contemporary and historical moments in the development of systems thinking – or what Alfred North Whitehead described as “the philosophy of organism” – with particular reference to a socio-political re-conception of architecture, urbanism and the wider environment today. I describe a network of relationships which traces the surprisingly dynamic histories of a series of concepts – including nature, matter, organism, ecology, network, mind, emergence, system and dialectics – as they unfold across a wide range of disciplines, including architecture, cybernetics, Marxist theory, ecology and the cognitive sciences.
Ultimately, this thesis suggests that critical urban ecology – the architectural investigation of ecological aesthetics and urban political ecology – will be a key field of both theoretical investigation and practical design activism in the coming years, as the deep contradictions of capitalism unfold at an ever more intensified global scale.
i. Introduction PART ONE: Ecology, Marxism and Neo-Cybernetics
1. A Relational Theory of Architecture: An Introduction and Conclusion 2 Organon and the Production of Nature 3 Dialectical Ecology: Towards a Critical Metabolic Materialism 4 Cybernetics and Systems Theory PART TWO: Extended Mind and Ecological Aesthetics
5. Ecologies of Extended Minds 6 Bodies and the Timing of Space: The Architecture of Cognitive Mapping 7 Aesthetics, Technology, and the Spirit of Matter 8 Conclusion: Towards a Critical Urban Ecology
i. Introduction i.1 Process, Consciousness and the Political i.2: The development of this thesis i.3: From the Ecological to the Neurological (and back again through architecture)
1. A Relational Theory of Architecture: An Introduction and Conclusion
1.1 Architecture and Systems Theory
1.2 Dialectics and Systems Theory
1.3 A Dialectical Method: Space, Time and Internal Relations
1.4 Relational Spacetime
1.5 A Relational Theory of Architecture
1.6 The Plan of this Work 2 Organon and the Production of Nature
2.1 The Ideological Language of Sustainability
2.2 The Relation to Nature
2.3 Organic, Organism, Organisation
2.4 Socio-Political conceptions of the Organic
2.5 Organicism, Wholeness, Process and Systems 3 Dialectical Ecology: Towards a Critical Metabolics
3.1 A Dialectical approach to Organism
3.2 A Labour Theory of Cognition
3.3 Technological Metabolisms
3.5 Ecology, Organism and Metabolism
3.6 Ecology: An Economics of Nature?
3.7 Ecology: An Epistemology of Dwelling?
4 Cybernetics and Systems Theory
4.1 Pattern and Matter
4.2 Systems and Networks
4.3 The Emergence of Cybernetics
4.4 First Order Cybernetics and the Macy Conferences 1947-53
4.5 The Ratio Club
4.6 Key Concepts and Critiques that emerged from Macy
4.7 Second Order Cybernetics
4.8 Gregory Bateson: Patterns that Connect Ecologies of Mind
5. Ecologies of Extended Minds
5.1 Dualist Legacies
5.2 Ideology - A Materialism of the Mind
5.3 Gregory Bateson and the Cybernetics of Mind
5.4 The Nature of Mind
5.5 Embodied Mind
5.6 Theories of Extended Mind
5.7 The Extended Mind of Clark and Chalmers
5.8 The Embodiment of Concepts
5.9 Emergence, Process and Dialectics
5.10 Ecologies of Extended Mind
Appendix A.1 Appendix to Chapter Four: Design Research – Video Feedback as Rhythmanalysis 240 A.2 Appendix to Chapter Five: Design Research – Open Tables Installation 243 A.3 Appendix to Chapter Eight: Design Research – Urban Ecology projects 245 Footnotes Bibliography
Chapter 1 Fig. 1.1-1.2. Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72), Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy. Photograph by Jon Goodbun.
Fig. 1.3 and 1.4. David Harvey: Space as a Keyword Matrices (from David Harvey, Spaces of Global Capitalism (London: Verso, 2006), p.135 and p.143.).
Chapter 2 Fig. 2.1 Carcassonne arial view. Image accessed 5.5.11 from http://www.iises.net/conferences/carcassoneconference-june-2012/ Fig. 2.2 Painting of Palace of Versaille (painter unknown). Image accessed 5.5.11 from http:// www.westernarthistory-hkz-art202.blogspot.com Fig. 2.3 Blur Building by Diller and Scofidio, Lake Neuchatel in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, 2002. Image accessed 5.5.11 from http://pensezspace.blogspot.com/2011/05/ecology-of-occupancy.html Fig. 2.4 Rachel Armstrong protocell as a part of the Philip Beasley installation Hylozoic Ground at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2010. Photograph by Jon Goodbun.
Fig. 2.5 Bruno Taut, scene from ‘Dissolution Away of the Cities’ (Auflösung die Städte). Image accessed 5.5.11 from http://www.tu-cottbus.de/theoriederarchitektur/D_A_T_A/Architektur/20.Jhdt/BrunoTaut/ DieAufloesung/abb031.jpg Fig. 2.6. Weaver bird nest in namibia. Photograph by Brian Pike accessed 5.5.11 from http:// picasaweb.google.com/brianrpike/NamibiaCombined2# Fig. 2.7. Beehive. Image accessed 1.5.11 from http://webfronter.com/ealing/west_twyford/ff_files/ 03_School_Life/Classes/Class_5_pattern.html Fig 2.8 Tokyo arial photograph accessed 1.5.10 from http://www.solarnavigator.net Fig 2.9 Ancient Greek amphitheatre on Paphos, Greece. Photograph accesses 1.4.09 from http:// patokallio.name/photo/travel/Cyprus/Paphos/index.html Fig. 2.10 Beaver Dam. Photgraph accessed 1.4.09 from http://www.outdoorcentral.com Fig. 2.11 Section through termite mound, accessed 11.6.09 from http://lisastown.com/inspirationwall/ 2009/07/07/are-termites-leading-the-way-towards-modern-architecture/
termites-leading-the-way-towards-modern-architecture/ Fig. 2.13. The Chain of Being, from Didacus Valades, Rhetorica Christiana, 1579. Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fig. 2.14 The Organ of the Duomo di Milano, 1395. Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fig. 2.15 The 1929 Atlantic City Convention Hall organ. Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fig. 2.16 A comparative embryology morphogenesis chart, illustration by Ernst Haeckel from his 1874 book on Anthropogenie accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ File:Haeckel_Anthropogenie_1874.jpg Fig. 2.17 A variety of Prosobranchia forms, from Ernst Haeckel's 1904 book on Art Forms in Nature.
Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Haeckel_Prosobranchia.jpg Fig. 2.18 A variety of cephalopods forms, from Ernst Haeckel's 1904 book on Art Forms in Nature. Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://shewalkssoftly.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/haeckel.jpg Fig. 2.19 Glycerine Dye Experiment, Illustration by Cindy Tavernise, in John P. Briggs and F. David Peat, Looking Glass Universe: The Emerging Science of Wholeness (London: Fontana, 1984), p.120.
Fig. 2.20 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holographic_recording.jpg Fig. 2.21 Fishtank metaphor. Illustration by Cindy Tavernise, in Briggs and Peat, Looking Glass Universe, p.
Fig. 2.22 and 2.23 Stills from animation of LaFreniere waves, accessed on 1.1.10 from http://glafreniere.com/ matter.htm Fig. 2.24 The Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction accessed on 9.6.11 from http://www.catea.gatech.edu/grade/ mecheng/mod8/mod8.html Fig. 2.24-5 The Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction accessed on 9.6.11 from http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/ File:BZ_Spiral_waves.jpg Fig. 2.26 Whirlpool. Photograph accessed 9.6.11 from http://louisinperformance.blogspot.com/2009/10/ whirlpool-of-love.html Fig. 2.27 Bénard Cell convection currents in a heated liquid. Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Fig. 2.28 Bénard cells in shaping sand dunes in a desert, from John P. Briggs and F. David Peat, Turbulent Mirror: An Illustrated Guide to Chaos Theory and the Science of Wholeness (London: Fontana, 1984), p.137.
Fig. 3.0. Paul Pangaro, “On the Shoulders of Giants” (1995). Accessed on 7.6.11 from http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fig. 3.1. Erich Mendelsohn, Einstein Tower, Berlin 1919-21. Photograph by Jon Goodbun.
Fig. 3.2. Hugo Häring, housing in Siemanstadt, Berlin. Photograph by Doug Spencer, accessed 1.10.10 from http://terraincritical.wordpress.com/2010/08/ Fig. 3.3. Eero Saarinen, IBM Headquarters, Rochester, Minnesota, 1958. Photograph by Balthazar Korab accessed on 1.1.10 from http://www.designaddict.com/design_addict/blog/index.cfm/2008/8/25/EeroSaarinen-Shaping-the-Future Fig. 3.4. Arata Isozaki, Clusters in the Air in 1960-62 for Tokyo. Accessed on 1.1.10 from http:// workjes.wordpress.com/category/metabolism/ Fig. 3.5. Alan Dempsey, Alvin Huang with engineers Adams Kara Taylor, [C]space - the AA DRL pavilion, 2008, accessed on 1.1.10 from http://cspacepavilion.blogspot.com Fig.3.6. Buckminster Fuller, Geoscope Concept drawing (1962), accessed 9.6.11 from http:// orb.jamesnsears.com/projects/orb/ Fig. 3.7. Howard T. Odum, Energese systems notation (1971), accessed 9.6.11 from http:// www.abitabout.com/Howard+T.+Odum Fig. 3.8. Eugene Odum: Silver Springs Study (1950s),, accessed 9.6.11 from http://www.abitabout.com/ Howard+T.+Odum Fig. 3.9 Image of Earth. Photograph by astronaut William Anders of Apollo 8 in 1968. Accessed 1.10.09 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NASA-Apollo8-Dec24-Earthrise.jpg Chapter 4 Fig. 4.1. Santiago Ramón y Cajal, drawing of Purkinje cells (A) and granule cells (B) of pigeon cerebellum,
1899. Instituto Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain. Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fig. 4.2. Networks and internal relations. From Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life Fig. 4.3. Castlefield Bridges. Photograph accessed on 10.6.11 from http://www.newmanchesterwalks.com/ walks-tours/industrial-manchester/castlefield-birthplace-of-manchester/ Fig. 4.3. A structural network (a bone interior) accessed 1.1.10 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone
glossary.html Fig. 4.5. Biological neural nets accessed 1.1.10 from http://www.mth.kcl.ac.uk/~tcoolen/nnds/glossary/ glossary.html Fig. 4.6. MIT systems dynamics and cybernetics research history. Accessed 1.6.09 from http:// www.naturalthinker.net/trl/texts/Rosnay,Joel/chap2.html Fig. 4.7. Graph showing changing chemical composition of Earth’s atmosphere. Source unknown.
http://allfordeadtime.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/the-olympian-chronique-scandaleuse/ Fig. 4.8. Gordon Pask, ‘Colloquy of Mobiles’, in Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition at ICA London, 1968.
Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fig. 4.9. Jean Tinguely (with engineer Billy Klüver), a ‘self-destructing kinetic sculpture’ at MOMA New York,
1960. Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fig. 4.10. Nam June Paik, ‘TV Garden’ at Documenta 6 in Kassel, 1974. Accessed on 7.6.11 from http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fig. 4.11 Cedric Price, Fun Palace, Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fig. 4.12 Usman Haque, Sky Ear. Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fig. 4.13 Macy Conference in session. Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fig. 4.14. Macy group photo. Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fig. 4.15 - 17. Grey Walter’s “tortoises”, ELSIE and ELMER. Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Fig. 4.18 The NPL (National Physical Laboratory) ACE Pilot computer designed by Alan Turing, 1945-50.
Accessed on 7.6.11 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Fig. 4.19. Ashby’s Homeostat drawing, accessed on 1.6.09 from http://www.zone88.plus.com/homeostat.htm Fig. 4.20. Ashby’s Homeostat, accessed on 1.6.09 from http://larvalsubjects.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/ homeostat.jpg Fig. 4.21 The Watt Steam Governor accessed 2.5.08 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ File:Boulton_and_Watt_centrifugal_governor-MJ.jpg Fig. 4.22. The Watt Steam Governor accessed 2.5.08 from http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/ Centrifugal_governor/ Fig. 4.23, Cybernetic diagram of Watt Steam Governor system by Jon Goodbun.