Friday, March 13, 2009

Project 3 - Study Model

On Change vs Stasis (Evolution of Stasis)...
Chipboard "Ribs" represent status quo(stasis)- has a "forward" propulsion, however, only in terms of time (not necessarily in terms of progress). Wooden "Spines" represent an event(change) that disrupts/informs stasis. Physical layers form in the model because of shifts in stasis, resulting in an overall form respresentational of evolution in stasis.


  1. I think you make a good point here that evolution, even though it is a non-purposeful process (i.e., it is directed by cause and effect rather than an intention), none-the-less implies progress. Evolution leads to stronger organisms that are more capable of surviving and thriving. By the standard of survival and thriving, evolved versions of an organism are BETTER than less-evolved versions.

    This element of progress is not incorporated into Christine's system (as she notes), which means that one end of her transforming enclosure system cannot really be seen as better or worse than the other end.

    The element of evolution captured in Christine's system is instead what might be called "transformation across a stepwise datum." Each time the system transforms it then re-stablizes. The stable state becomes the new "norm" or datum. When the next transformation occurs, it moves away from this datum, then restabilizes. This continues in steps: transform the norm into something else, restabilize a new norm, transform the norm into something else, restabilize the new norm, etc.

    This is a very difficult aspect of evolution to accentuate, and Christine's system is a great exploration of how this might occur. It is very different from Jeff's system, for instance. In Jeff's post, he mentions evolution also, but for Jeff, evolution has been a secondary consideration (not his primary theme). Jeff's system does capture an aspect of evolution by using a gradient transformation of components and transforming components effectively to handle additional conditions (e.g., turning the corner). But Jeff's evolution filters out many aspects of biological evolution, such as the stepwise relationship between mutation (i.e., transformation) and steady-states. Christine takes on this aspect of evolution.

    Regarding the statement of a theme, it can be argued that the best statement of a project's theme is the one that is general enough to encompass and summarize all of a project's qualities, while being as specific as possible. So in other words, there are two possible errors here - a theme can be stated too narrowly (in which case some crucial qualities of the project are not explained by the theme), or it can be stated too broadly (in which case the theme implies a much broader collection of qualities and strategies than the project actually employs).

    I would say that Jeff's theme statement suffers a bit from the former problem (he has central qualities in his project that do not seem to be explained by his theme (see comment to his recent post). On the other hand, Christine's theme might suffer from the later problem. Previously her theme was "evolution", but in fact she is focusing on one important aspect of evolution. This might explain her desire to narrow the theme to "evolution in stasis". I'm not too keen on this wording, which seems a bit ambiguous, but the intent of this theme revision seems sound. I might state it more explicitly, for example as: "the stepwise transformation and restabilization of evolutionary systems". Well, that is a mouthful. This is a focused theme that might not be too satisfying in and of itself, if used to drive a whole building project, but it is an excellent way to tackle a difficult theme (evolutionary change) in a systematic way. So in this project Christine might gain some mastery of one aspect of the broader theme, and then in another project, she might master a different aspect, and finally, she'll have all the tools she needs to make something that is powerfully evolutionary - capturing all the essential ingredients of the broader theme of evolutionary change.


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