Man, machine and human nature (conceptual cluster 3)

by fridarosenberg

Microsoft Word - kulturhuset photos

I used to be quite fascinated by the idea of human-nature as a machine-like entity. To explain, it was simply a useful thought process, while analyzing architecture in Swedish society and its cultural context. This is what I did, when trying to explain why the buildings we have are like they are in my project: Shifting Identity in Swedish Urban Structure from Folkhemmet to Globalization. This question of identity and self-image and how it’s reflected in architecture is still a foundation for the way I analyze history, architecture and urbanism. Yet, to return to how these three texts evoked the idea of individual subjects as part of the collective in a machine-like system reproducing itself, the 20th century’s ideal seems to rest on such ways of thinking. It seems like this could be reasoned to rests on Marx, and the idea of class-society where path of change is understood to be quite linear. (this is of course to be very marginal, general and not at all a qualified argument, but to continue: Here in our readings, Stengers uses “what physics is” as an analogy to explain what “an ecology of practice” might be. In using that analogy, she explains by using a familiar environment, which uses a linear logic or relationship that I was trying to say about Marx. I think then that what the concept of “ecology of practice” seems to argue for and has more of in Guattari’s terms; “are governed by a different logic to that of ordinary communication between speakers and listeners—subjects and the collective. (the three ecologies) Further on: Guattari continues: “this process of ‘fixing-into-being’ relates only to expressive subsets that have broken out of their totalizing frame and have begun to work on their own account, overcoming their referential sets and manifesting themselves as their own existential indices, procession lines of flight. “ To be critical, this is quite utopian idea, that we are sort of more free or self-referential than before… I do think that there are perhaps more possibilities for subjects to seem self-referential, but in a global perspective and what Guattari identifies in his first line, is that we are “undergoing a period of techno-scientific transformations”—and in this the idea ‘terminal’ is quite useful—where I see that subjects are just part of other collectives due to our networks which interconnects individuals, which are not physically connected. What I intend to say here is that yes, the three ecologies; or the way that Guattari argues for a different understanding of the world through “ecosophy” seems relevant due to techno-scientific developments. But, on the other hand, there is partly a utopian idea that the world works different than before, which Guattari acknowledges (see page 36). “It is as though a scientistic superego demands that physic entities are reified  and insists that they are only understood by means of extrinsic coordinates.”

Anyhow, in discussing a product of a machine-like society I used the term machine to describe Kulturhuset as a product of society. The chapter was titled: Kulturhuset: Playhouse, Identity Machine. In essence, I argued that architecture engages the reconstruction of cultural identity. Kulturhuset in Stockholm, typified the Swedish society during the 1960-70s and I described the building as representing the mechanisms that formed a collective, social identity during the end of the 1960s. I argue that Swedish society had been monotonous and the revolt existed among Swedish people. The irony, as I describe it, is that society’s way of coming to terms with this was to create an institution for play where society as a microcosm recreated itself again, without being able to change the paths.   Stenger’s article seems to touch on this fact and uses physics to illustrate how subjects are part of a tradition and in this she continues to discuss “what technology is”, which is highly relevant for me in regards to my studies: thank you for the introduction!