Sketches toward a Binary Aesthetic

| September 11, 2013

If one were to attempt to locate the fundamental elements of an Aesthetic of Technology, where would one start? What are the marks or gestures that might underpin any effort to render such a thing? What are the basic marks you can make? In geometry, we always forget–since the forms are supposed to be eternal, of the heavens–one always starts by drawing a mark. The perceived order of origins might suggest we start with a point, but isn’t a point already a gesture of a line, and not surprisingly it is easier to start by laying down a line before speaking of points. But what then is a line? Without saying anything of its meandering possibilities, we could suggest two tendencies, for a line to go on, and for it to return to itself. We see, quite interestingly, when we lay these down on the page, that we have something resembling the two elements of binary code, 1’s and 0’s.

But before we are “two” quick to divide things up, we might suggest that these are simply two different aspects of gesture, and gesture always returns to itself, whether explicitly or backhandedly. So rather than two distinct items we might call these two modes of loops, and see where this way of thinking/drawing leads us…

A “vector” we could say is simply a gesture which indicates the beginnings of its effects, or other loops, forming something like a point. We usually think of vectors as taking place within a defined space, but it might work better to suggest that we only perceive such a space as a result of a certain kind of arrangement of loops.

Interestingly we can see here why Buckminster Fuller insisted on changing his way of speaking from “Up” and “Down” to “In” and “Out.” [ref]

Fuller, B. (1973). Intuition. Doubleday.[/ref]

In reference to the closed loop of the Earth, we are always moving closer or farther from it. But even these distinctions are simple a matter of relations between gestures, and of scale. Indeed what appears to be a closed loop, scaled up or down tends towards an open loop.

Nor, perhaps, are they simply distinct entities: they form each other in relation to each other. An open loop generates closed loops as a precessional side effect, and vice versa.

Or maybe we could say that every closed loop is an open loop of another arrangement.

Even, and especially when the relations are not complementary but muting. We could perhaps say that the null set is actually quite busy. It is over-full, too much at once.

These are simply some preliminary thoughts on how to approach the rendering of an aesthetics of technology itself, the way in which techne shows itself to us, its aesthetico-logistic operations.

Leave your thoughts below…