metaphysical & metaphorical musings : art, architecture, and arithmetic

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Self-referentiality is the ecstasy of the object, the passing of a rational limit—math becomes more logical than logic can accommodate, Euclid becomes more intelligent than its systems can sustain.  Baudrillard’s dimension collapse.

The allure of the object in this case is the promise of the future; it seduces us with the possibility of becoming futurity.

These themes come together in the theoretical Singularity—the belief that technoscience’s exponential growth of capacity, and the diminishing time needed to achieve this growth, will culminate in a radical historical event that will usher in a new type of technology and civilization.  One possibility is that computers like Euclid would no longer have to worry about self-referential meltdowns; artificial intelligence would be the new standard of electronic technology.

[In physics, a singularity is a similar impossible event.  The event of technology reaching a point of infinite improvement at infinite speed is much like the time-space event of the black hole, a point of infinite density and infinite gravity.  Nature abhors a vacuum, but she abhors infinites even more—at least, according to physics, which does not allow for infinite values, unknowable quantities.  A popular theory is that a singularity was the source of our universe; or, in its ecstatic form, that singularities are the wombs of universes.]

All of this, of course, relies on acceleration, speed, a greater or even qualitatively new condition of circulation in the dromosphere.  At the moment, we still have the luxury of critical thought, but after the singularity (if it does indeed happen), unpredictability will be the condition of the moment; we’ll have no choice but to think at the speed of light.  We’ve got to be faster than Watson.

The principles of the International school of architecture gave Pruitt-Igoe this shine of the future.  Theorizing the singularity and attending the inauguration of Pruitt-Igoe are both anticipations of the future.  The commodity relationship in a techno-utopic culture, reliant on science and mathematics, is the promise of the future, today.

The end of duration?

But what if the myth holds?  Could the singularity turn out to be π all over again? 

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