LIQUID ARCHITECTURES: MARCOS NOVAK’S TERRITORY OF INFORMATION

LIQUID ARCHITECTURES: MARCOS NOVAK’S TERRITORY OF INFORMATION

A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in The School of Art

by Camile A. Silva B. Arch., University of Brasilia, Brazil, 2000 May 2005

Once predicated on qualities such as enclosure, form, and permanence, architectural space is finally getting rid of its physicality. (2)

using Paul Virilio’s words, architecture must now deal with the advent of “technological space-time.”5 Space-time is the “event.”(3) (5 Paul Virilio, “The Overexposed City,” Ars Electronica: Facing the Future,  eds. Timothy Druckrey with Ars Electronica (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1999), 276-83. Paul Virilio is an urbanist and philosopher, known for his writings about the military in relation to architecture, culture, and history. He is known for his “war model” of the growth of the modern city and the evolution of human society. He talks about the “logistics of perception,” by means of the use of images and information in war. He also invented the term “dromology,” meaning the logic of speed. For all these assumptions, he became known as the “theorist of speed and time.”) Time and space are now inseparable.

According to Virilio, “Information now wins out over the reality of event.”7 (7 Paul Virilio, The Art of the Motor  (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), 133-56.)

Novak, for instance, thinks of this new world of potential workspaces as one to be perceived sensorially. Michael Benedikt puts it: “The interface mediates the sensorial world of humans and the world of digitalized information.”9 Thus, cyberspace materializes a new virtual reality that constitutes a new form of human experience. It becomes tangible. And the tangibility of virtual reality results from an interaction between media.(4)

In computer space, one leaves the confinement of the body and emerges in a world of digital sensation. Thus, virtual reality constitutes a new form of human experience. It brings full freedom of body movement to the interface. Places become interchangeable at will, and the body reveals only as much as one mentally wishes to reveal. The detachment of one’s mind and body happens through simulation.(5)

Marcos Novak : Cyberspace is liquid.

There is a joining of mind and body, virtual and real. This inseparability is the tool for a constructed reality, one that exists to serve one’s own purposes. The mind controls a simulated body.: mind가 우세하다 –> 이분법 (13)

William Gibson, who first coined the term cyberspace in his novel Neuromancer, published in 1984, “Multimedia, in my view, is not an invention but an ongoing discovery of how the mind and the universes it imagines (or vice-versa, depending) fit together and interact. Multimedia is where we have always been going.”8 (8 William Gibson, “Geeks and Artboys,” foreword to Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality , eds. Randall Packer and Ken Jordan (New York:  .W. Norton & Company, 2001), ix-xii. William Gibson is also the author of Burning Chrome , Count Zero , Mona Lisa Overdrive , and, with Bruce Sterling, The Difference Engine .)

Novak affirms that cyberspace is extremely physical.10 To him, being inside information means that one’s entire body is immersed. (10 Marcos Novak, “Architects or Worldbuilder?: Interview with Marcos Novak,” interview by Knut Mork, The Write Stuff Interviews  (1995), at ALTX Online Network: http://www.altx.com/int2/marcos.novak.html, accessed 10/1/2004.)

New aspects of physicality and tactility were then experienced through what he called dis/embodiment.12 This term stands for an alternative state of embodiment in informational media. (12 Novak, “Architects or Worldbuilder?: Interview with Marcos Novak.”) Without the slash, disembodiment would stand for dissolution, disintegration, whereas with the slash, it means change, transformation,refiguration.13 Dis/embodiment is nothing but another term for being-in-a-virtual-world. (38)

Maurice Merleau-Ponty : 

Merleau-Ponty strictly addresses one’s experience of the body. Merleau-Ponty was interested in the spatiality of the body and in its mobility. The body functions as a potentiality of movement in the perceptual space. It invites one to action. By responding to this invitation one enjoys the space through gearing one’s body to the world.15 Experience then becomes existential. (39)

Following this idea, one cannot help but think of Paul Virilio’s book Art of the Motor, from 1995, in which he refers to Merleau-Ponty’s idea of real environments being influenced by networks, by the possibility of reconditioning the real world by a virtual reality. According to Virilio, the cybernetic environment has become a reality. Virilio uses Merleau-Ponty’s thoughts on the process of information to conclude that cyberspace is seen as another dimension, a simulated one.17 (17 Paul Virilio, The Art of the Motor  (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), 135. One passage from Merleau-Ponty extracted from the book, which seems to illustrate the idea of another dimension, is: “Functional thoughts have become a sort of absolutely artificial construct that has human creation deriving from a natural process of information, but this is itself modeled on the man-made machine.”)

It is what Virilio calls “cybernetic space-time.”19 (19 Virilio, The Art of the Motor,  140.)

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