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Welcome to the Postorthographic Age | Architect Magazine

Aaron Betsky explores a new theory about how computers are changing architecture.

 Flickr/Creative Commons License/Pedro Ribeiro Simões
Flickr/Creative Commons License/Pedro Ribeiro Simões


To the list of Postmodernism, Post Modernity, Late Modernity, Retro Modernity, and every other conceivable way we describe our current era, let us now add Postorthographic. According Harvard Professor John May, who may not have coined the term but is its prime proselytizer, we have, until recently, lived in an orthographic world, which simply means that we inhabited space defined by geometry and its representation. In his book Signal. Image. Architecture., published last year by Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, May makes a larger claim, however:

The city was an orthothesis: an orthographic idea-object born out of continual interplay, over several thousand years, between writing and drawing. It was the shared geometric basis of those two technical gestures that served as a platform for the polis, and politics, at its base, was a fluid technical field established between the discourse of written laws, constitutions, decrees, dissent, and the silence of drawn plans, sections, elevations, and surveys.

In other words, drawing, writing, and every other aspect of communication was part of a system of controlled and measured relations that also included laws, regulations, political and economic relations, and every other form of human ordering. All that escaped from that real and notional prison grid was art and self-expression.

Read on >>>> Source: Welcome to the Postorthographic Age | Architect Magazine

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