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Tensegrity as critical to the abuse of stable forms. Sloterdijk discussed the links between paradigms of static and State; that would be a key reference to understand connections between a structural logic that depends on the existence of balanced interdependencies and open and non-hierarchical social schemes. Keywords: Architecture - Theory, nomotop, metastability, tensegrity, presostatics.
Air and Tension or the Democracy of the Clouds. In the societies of the Dogon country, in Mali, exists "the house of the word" or Toguna. The Toguna is the place where the village wise men and elders meet daily to discuss business and later tell stories and establish rules. The architecture that represents this program is a structure of pillars with a flat roof covered by eight thick layers of thatch that represent the eight ancestors of the Dogon people fig.
The Toguna is the place of rules and regulations as the oral tradition is the only way to transmit the laws that maintain the social balance in the Dogon world 1.
These recipes are the peculiarity of the human world. Each member is subject to them as they are the rites and laws that remain while the mortal come and go. This structure of rules that the wise men define is the guideline for social action and is also known as "nomotopo.
For Peter Sloterdijk, philosopher and professor at the School of Art and Design in Karlsruhe, all of modern construction metaphorically resembles a construction of spheres. This is how he presents the modern world in his Spheres trilogy, a monumental three-volume work, where the sphere as a geometric, formal and superficial structure dominates all the presented ideas.
For this, minted in a series of finished neologisms in the word "sphere," the ideas planted reflect on the thematic organization of the modes of modern knowledge. In Spheres III , the last volume, he presents the world as a purely human idea under the neologism anthropsphere that refers to the man inserted into the construction we call world. According to Sloterdijk this human being relates to the world through nine dimensions that designates topoi and that describe how the man interacts with it from his physicality to his psychology, from his individuality to his collectivity, from his relationship with the environment to his political constructions.
Through these, he systematically covers every corner of modern history, remembers ancient histories and projects us toward a future lit by a recent past filled with fascinating events. In this brief definition, democracy is one of the forms of political construction in which the idea of "tensegrity" achieves a special value because its greatest interest lies in maintaining the continuity between all individuals regardless of their status and social class figs.
Notice that such continuity is produced through a field of relationships between individuals that participate in a unified and unifying group.
Flocks of birds, schools of fish and banks of clouds, while meteorological instruments, are formal expressions whose main argument is inscribed in a range of reciprocal relationships in the interior of a system that, without being tensegrity structures exactly, anticipate a higher value over the value of its formal appearance. From here, the tensegrities are structures of relationships whose formal expressions are legible by analyzing the behavior of the elements organized as a system.
Systems composed by both the sum of isolated particles as by the sum of particles pertaining to a group in which they actively participate fig. Societies are the first structures, systems or assemblies that need a clear sense of order. They lean toward the continuous organization of a stabilized system under which the collective, accompanied by an atmosphere of tension, is able to act jointly in a role of checks and balances to maintain balance.
However, the logics of form representing them both in the field of science and explicitly in architecture were late in rising to the task of such a systemic construction. They only appeared at the moment in which the art and ideas came together in the pressostatic structures and tensegrity structures, where a continuous and adjustable force maintains the minimum tension of the group that causes balance to prevail.
When this force dissipates, all the structural organization will vanish into thin air. In pressostatic structures fig.
In some ways, it represents what we could call a breathable structure, or perhaps, way of life with the possibility of creating a self-sustaining structure. The case of tensegrity 3 is a regulative principle of the tensile and compressive energy stored within a lattice of vectors and forces that stabilize the formal assembly.
The existence of an internal tension produces a state of equilibrium. This structural form is solved with a lattice of rods and cables whose spatial organization, under certain rules of order, maintains a global balance without exception so that each element works in solidarity with the entire system.
The similarity of these principles with the order of the social structures even the most ancient, like those of the Dogon people plays an important part in maintaining stability by adapting to the mobile, just as Sloterdijk presents it. It would also be visible in the work of Kenneth Snelson and Buckminster Fuller around the same time. However, what is most valuable in the case of Ioganson is the narrow relationship between the State political situation and the new concepts in statics 4.
Until then, the formal repertoire of statics was limited to structures with a strong gravitational component and low potential energy. In the collective pursuit of the service of art and technique to the revolutionary spirit in the context of the soviet vkhutemas Professional, Artistic and Technical State Studios offered an alternative to classical statics: spatial structures that by strengthening the constructivist debate created a countering image of lightness and collectivity to that of the material weight representing the tsarist aristocracy 5.
After working intensely on the problem and several exhibits, Karl Ioganson proposed a series of sculptures, called spatial constructions, which would include the tensegrity structure. Post-revolutionary Russia was driven on the technical path of architecture and engineering construction as a metaphor of the new social structures desired with a strong collective and collaborative feeling that fled a world of severe rules.
These rules ended in the starvation of the people and the beginning of the Russian Revolution in February of The strong will to rebuild a system of rules and laws put special emphasis on the art of production. Lenin, implicated in the economic reconstruction, dictated patterns for reconfiguring the national production forces with a clear impetus for change.
The reflection of such patterns transformed the educational institutions with a laborious critical revision process of the meaning of art and technique beginning with the School of Arts and Crafts and ending with elementary education and the vkhutemas. These schools functioned for almost a decade as a self-regulated teaching structure supported by a developing and intensely reckless activity 6. In this context, it must be noted that the value acquired by the Russian Revolution paradigm is precisely that both the state and statics had a mutual reflection of intense interaction that ended with the offer of the tensegrity paradigm.
Sloterdijk insists in this relationship between the paradigms of statics and the state, or to say another way, in the intimate relationship between tensegrity and social-political organization, and stresses the concepts mentioned by Pierre Legendre, a philosopher of law and psychoanalyst, born in France in The common etymological origin of the words "static" and "state" allows us to speak of both as construction arts: the construction of laws and the construction of buildings.
When the patterns of social order are established, the empathy maintained with tensegrity or presostatic forms comes from understanding the existence of reciprocal forces; forces organized as a group or laws that are necessary to create equilibrium. In these forms, a repetitive pressure could place each member under the same threshold of stress that, in our view, is expressed in the reciprocity of burdens and rights, as in the responsibilities for the balance of the political, ethical and moral system.
Highlighting the relationship between collective burden or stress with the idea of culture stifles the freedom of the individual collaborator; this is a submission to group laws without space for any laxity within minimum ratios or tolerable maximums.
Without this condition neither statics nor states can exist. In the case of tensegrity structures as static paradigms, they will not remain upright, and in the case of socio-political structures, they will not be appeased.
For all the above, the conclusion indicates that belonging to a tensegrity unit is to be in touch with the tensions received, coordinately and cooperatively sensitized with the systemic whole and to be capable of reacting to the group tension.
A state of overwork on the part of some members leads to an increasing rigidity that risks the integrity of the whole with the rupture of the overloaded elements. For the case of statics, when this increase in rigidity is produced, one can also observe the formal expression of such over-effort through the formal appearance of the built whole. Conformation, meta-stability and organless body. The Swiss artist, Paul Klee, had an unusual sensitivity to nature that, from his perception, never stopped moving.
Klee said that nature was a great vehicle. This, in constant movement, was exemplified in his paintings and puppets through the rolling waves, the growth of plants, the genesis of a sound or through the stresses of the tight-rope walker as he walks through the clouds fig. In , in his Elemental creative theory, he introduces the concept of conformation 8 that has a vital importance for the understanding of his work where he supports his ideas on the instability of form and the perpetual movement of things.
The conformation could be explained as the constant process of the evolution of form. This means that the form is not static but is produced taking time and becoming into account. During his time as a Bauhaus master, he emphasized drawing to covey the evolution of form Klee, Form ceases to be a mere silhouette or stable outline to be a process of transformation in time and sensitive to all scales. The shape determines the form and therefore is above it. Thus, the form should never nor in any place Good is conformation.
Bad is the form, the form is final, is death. Conformation is movement, is action. Conformation is life. Klee, , p. Moreover, Gilbert Simondon, French philosopher, addressed the stability problem from the fields of physics, chemistry and biology and thereby developed his doctoral thesis Individuation in Light of the Notions of Form and Information published in The text addresses the theme of individuation, an old problem in art and philosophy defined as that which makes an individual thing completely unique Simondon, Thus, Simondon proposed a Pharaonic challenge: attempt to explain how things "become.
The accidental collision between matter and form did not convince him. For him, accidents did not exist. He fervently believed in the art and order of energy processes.
Therefore, in this Aristotelian duality, where only matter and form would exist during the individuation process, he introduces the notion of energy. So we could say that individuation is formed by the relationship between matter, form and energy. At this point we can present the concept of metastability. Simondon explains that " the individuation has not been thought out and described adequately due to that we know of only a single form of equilibrium, the stable equilibrium; we are unaware of a metastable equilibrium; it was implicitly assumed that the being was in a state of stable equilibrium; however, the stable equilibrium excludes the future … " Simondon, , p.
This critique of classic stability introduces a series of notions like the "potential energy of a system, the notion of order and the increase of entropy" Simondon, , p. We can begin to assess the dynamic processes themselves rather than the outcomes. Metastability allows us to understand that states of form are neither definitive nor isolated. If we look at the stained glass of the gothic cathedrals, we will see that they are wider at the lowest part.
Even glass, a symbol of perfect form and balance, is not eternally stable. It flows over time. Glass is metastable and, as such, achieves different states of equilibrium over time. Perhaps what is most interesting in this image, applying it to the problem of representing tensegrity, is the idea of considering a metastable system, loaded with potential, explains itself as a group in which matter, form and energy preexist in the system and evolve over time.
In this system there is a global conception of the group that implies an internal and continuous resonance between all of its elements. The idea of considering them separate results from a practice of the modern method which tends to continually separate the elements that make up the systems, but this individuation principle cries out to rejoin and, as such, for a global and continuous consideration.
Because if the qualities of one are codified or informed by the possibilities of the other and vice versa, one must consider the existence of a capacitating energy of movement or state change for it to leave its inert state In metastability the being is understood as a process and not as a stable form.
Gilbert Simondon 11 proposes that the metastability idea is found in the simple molding of a block of clay. For him, the formation of a brick is far from the being represented by the Aristotelian duality between matter and form. Simondon presents a beautiful metaphor: the hylomorphic scheme would be one that a man perceives from outside the studio, so he only sees the beginning and end of the process, the step from clay to brick.
And in fact, to understand metastability , it is not enough to go into the factory and work with the craftsman but to enter the mold itself Simondon, Clay is a material with the ability to be molded, to allow displacement in its composition. However, upon being modeled, it does not suffer arbitrary displacement but its plasticity is ordered according to defined forces that establish the deformation.