Category Archives: Design Issues

process is king for search engines



Man is a machine of nature and not of the digital realm yet our hearts and minds – our elemental environment runs on electrical impulses… Light, sound and odors, for example, are transformed by our sensory organs into a code made of series of electrical impulses that travel along neurons from the body to the brain.

The arrival of VR / AI & AR space – media, systems and mechanisms are transcending the traditional geometric and tacit qualities of how we formerly negotiated reality. Our conventional definitions of space are transforming into a flow through a new scenic virtuality where systems of input are over-riding traditional means of perception. The increasing rush into a digital reality plies attempts to integrate the tacit with the transient, the practical with the poetic or sublime within the realms of code.

Interestingly, as the virtual realms of digital expression attempt to address common aspects of nature (of organic aspects of life on a living planet) our tacit analog means of defining things intrudes.

The intrusion of the organic into the digital remands impedance and challenges digital systems to address the kind of alchemy of beauty and mystery, which define remarkable architecture, design and human invention. Current inroads of “Design Thinking” attempt to scientifically define these seemingly opposing elements falling just short of – ‘the creative spark’.

The digital project in all forms shall continue to be challenged in attempts to bridge the gap of intention and meaning between the innate and intention. The future of architecture in the new digital systems of Machine Thinking and developing methodologies present unknown possibilities as physical reality as the body organic passes into code and thus a new, as of yet intangible conditions of life and living.

We are engaged in a new developing arena of perception that offers amazing new design opportunities. New frameworks for how we define cultural value and identity are redefining public vs. private space – ownership & authorship of ideas and content as human cognition is in transformation. The rate that cognitive input and it’s related content is becoming a “super-subconscious” phenomena of hyper speeds that outrun human perception is modifying structural thought and patterning new design opportunities as lines of meaning mix.

We as architects must keep in mind that the origins of discovery lay in the custodial arms of academic discourse and while this discourse is not solely nested in our academic institutions it is the responsibility of these places of higher learning to embrace this important challenge. Architecture as practice answers to a myriad of detracting political vectors and agenda, which unfortunately, by nature, tend to impede experimentation. Therefore – the charge of academia is to provide critical discoveries of facticity in our developing digital reality and to explore and answer critical issues that foster innovations of hybrid digital-human interface as advanced study in educational domains.


Values in Meaning bridging Meanings of Method

Political –    –        –        –        –        – Personal

Authority –  –        –        –        –        – Validity

Capitalism –         –        –        –        – Valueism

Producing –         –        –        –        – Making

Analyzing –          –        –        –        – Sensing

Science –   –        –        –        –        – Art

Looking –   –        –        –        –        – Seeing

Tasking –   –        –        –        –        – Experiencing

Doing –       –        –        –        –        – Being

Archival –   –        –        –        –        – Referential

Thought –   –        –        –        –        – Creation

Contextual –        –        –        –        – Cultural

Art in and of itself – is Art

Art as Art

Artists aren’t in the consideration of ideas at that unique and very moment of a creative act. No hidden design or intention or prescribed meaning is under wing. Just as it is to look at a thing and at a later date label it – something. Common Naming is the background of logic and is meaningless to the origin of intent by the artist. Absorbing art undefined by the artist allows others to explore and dream – this is the beauty of art in action – the means to see in a new light and push cognitive values in hopes of inspiring new insights for observers who experience it.

To tender an explanation – to decode is to conjure. Similarly, later realizations, as valid as they might be, are not a part of the moment in the action of creation but are in reaction to it. It’s always fascinating when entering a display of art to seek out the little placard of verbiage on the wall – the ‘explanation’ – historical viability = insight?

I love the little placard of verbiage as it drains all mystery from the viewer – All Knowing is the key to unlocking fear and doubt which is the mainstay of the establishment in avoidance of conditions of “Oooohhhh that’s so scary because I don’t understand it!” but these attempts explain what can only be a lie. The artist is the only one who knows the truth. Must vested interests must be clarified – identified – nailed down? It is a shame for artists to decode in the face of Art as Art because there isn’t really any ‘planning’ of intent in the realms of self-expression. Cultural ties – commentary – insights – inroads are all “after-words.”

Desperation of the need to know and understand is a tendency of our rational culture. We should instead access our ability for simple joy or wonder or revelry in face of beauty. An artist who stands on a soapbox in attendance of their own show with heart in hand blubbering and blabbing about this or that is the stuff of critics not true artists. There really isn’t anything to say or sell or convince anyone of – and if there is – then we’re not viewing art – we’re just viewing the commoditization of art. I find myself in the scene and in the midst of writing this note as I myself am entrenched in the very muck in which I live – I slip up and find myself facing that desperation for the need to know and to understand and then I remember – that’s not it – that’s not art.

Predetermined impassioned making is a self-referential mockery and an oxymoronic condition of fakery because you can’t ‘look for inspiration’ – you can’t ‘look for the poetic’ you have to live it and be it and discover these things on your own terms – and – there are many many distractions in the world – you can be derailed from yourself in an instant of lazy mindfulness and lose sight of the universality of all things. You can wake up in the morning with an instant to remember a vision soon lost. Lorcas’ little deaths are all part of the beauty of making art as art and there is a constant moment to moment paradox which presents itself to us from beyond. Art must beware the Cultural Commentary – insights – inroads and “after-words” as they come to bear on the scene. If we decide that these words are the thing then we define ourselves as only viewers – digesting our hubris in accepting a contrived bit of cloudy business because true art is to be experienced – to be lived – not objectified.

Stress + Pressure in Creative Education

Students attending college today are highly achievement-oriented and have grown up with competition. The aspects of competitiveness related to stress and the pressure to perform can become overwhelming at times. How individuals navigate these stresses is an important key factor for the success and well-being of each graduate.

A successful mindset is one of self-reliance and flexibility where students transcend the stress involved in being a passionate learner. Academics should avoid success and failure defined from the outside-in. Freethinking is at risk in an environment of fear and exclusion and more stress is likely to result from this type of closed system.

As colleges tend to their student base, they sometimes overlook the psychic frailty that can impact campus life. Shaken by a cluster of suicides in 2010, Cornell put forth a strategic plan declaring that it is now “the obligation of the university” to help students learn life skills. Colleges now have the responsibility to support students psychologically.

At the Ivies and other highly competitive school environments, populated primarily by those from a narrow band of the achievement spectrum, “weakness has to be invisible,” says a Princeton student. “You have to come off as infallible in all domains and to appear effortlessly excellent.” Students at Penn openly speak of the phenomenon as putting on a “Penn face,” although their glibness makes it no easier to crack. 

Perceived competitiveness increases by 40 percent the odds of positively screening for depression. Students who reported that their classes were ‘very competitive’ had 70 percent higher odds of screening positive for anxiety.

(Psychology Today – “Crisis U” – by Hara Estroff Marano)

Degree paths should avoid becoming so competitive and stressful as to move students away from the motivation to learn [Being] and into that which is considered task-oriented [Doing]. To focus on rote tasking as the means of achievement in a performance driven context can diminish passion for play, discovery and lateral thinking. Students on a path of doing for the sake of doing miss the more important aspect of discovering the why. The end result is a level of stress associated with a singular type of motivation that is expedited by a success or failure mentality.

Allowing students space to develop self-motivation that stems from their own passion fosters the ability to navigate the pitfalls and inevitable challenges on the pathway to creating a rich meaningful career and personal life.

“There are two kinds of power. “Power Over” which is based in separation, domination, divisiveness and control and “Power With” which creates connection, collaboration, alignment, and unity. The choice we make will create what kind of world we will live in.” – Michael Stone

A sense of community linked to live interaction on campus and in the classroom is a great equalizer in the face of performance stressors. To be included and to have inclusiveness as an experience in a community of peers is a critically important aspect of campus life. The ability to share thoughts, feelings, insights, successes and shortcomings can provide an important social platform aimed at overcoming stresses that might otherwise become overwhelming.

‘A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.’           Ayn Rand

Any student involved in a creative degree path can identify one clear origin of stress originating from the creative review process. These reviews have the potential to support wonderful exchanges of knowledge and helpful criticism or they can become a pejorative and crushing rush of judgment where students put their work on display for feedback only to become discouraged in the end. In most cases, many students are excluded from participating. Staunch reviewers sit in the front and critique work while those students remaining await nervously for the anvil to drop.

Why would student input not be allowed during reviews? The most common answer is: “In the interest of time” however, it seems a missed opportunity to exclude student input in consideration of fellow students, instructors and invited critics. Inclusionary interaction diffuses stress and pressure that results from competition on both sides of the front row of reviewers during a formal review.

If students can’t connect then the learning institution is the source and the answer.Connectivity eliminates stress that would otherwise occur in an environment of fear of judgment and alienation. This does not discount the responsibility of the individual students themselves who must be vested in their own educational path.

A large segment of the more than 5 million first-generation college students who come from poor families, are challenged with hardships outside of the experience of their 16 million peers—manage to get themselves through college in many instances without much parental input or guidance. The experience of a tempered steel life promotes a perspective of gratitude fostering a more open mindset.

The result of a grateful and supported life for students is the level of personal learning and aptitude that transcends the station point of lack verses one of gratitude. The self-imposed and or idealized expectations of students who operate from a belief system of lack create an added layer of self-doubt and stress that is unfounded and destructive. The difference between trying to fill perceived ‘holes’ in a system of lack verses one of ‘being’ suspended in learning as an additive context is enormous. With this approach of understanding that there is no perfection, only one’s passion, goals and learning objectives can then, and only then, become engraved within a college or university, and the chosen degree path marks the beginning of a lifelong journey, not merely a means to an end.

Education in the Creative Arts

There is a necessity of learning software as a primary focus while in a scholastic program which detracts from time otherwise spent reading, drawing and or concentrating on critical thinking. This has deferred the student from the path of investigation and into the path of rote and mechanical thinking and learning. The software is in itself is simply a creative tool however not an additive tool in the context of creative thinking and actions. This is an inherent flaw and a loss of critical learning space for current design students. A sensible modification might be to allow time for ‘software’ learning outside of the units dedicated to primary subject curriculum. The trick is how to integrate this important digital tool-set without sacrificing critical thinking.