(Published in the journal of clinical Psychiatry, Revista de Psiquiatría Clinica)
GRAPHIC EXPRESSION AS LANGUAGE
Graphic expression in this text refers to the development of traces, signs, matter organization (stacking, modelling, empty put, etc.) in a comprehensive manner, or to the material media transformation that in a ephemeral or permanent way states differences on the material environment.
We will refer to the graphical expression as drawing, which although it is, in our work, a part of the graphic expression it’s so relevant it becomes a strong referent.
Drawing can be considered an open and imaginative language. It has the verbal language communication ability. It has limitations for the transmission of abstract or not contingent concepts but offers its effectiveness for the purposes of communication that interest us, which is immediately achieved without the grammatical or semantic structures intermediation that are needed in verbal language.
DRAWING AS CEREMONY
The way in which Hausser contemplates the Paleolithic Hunter celebrating ceremonies around a drawing is interesting. Ceremonies through which the cosmos forces are invoked so they would be propitious and opposes him to the sedentary inhabitant of the Neolithic, for which graphic expressions contain an entire symbolic program explaining the cosmological (and social) order that inevitably regulates the universe.
Drawing as magic, of the Hunter and Nomad, is precise and right-handed. It is so to effectively capture the spirit of hunting. Cluniac paintings of these practices have reached us, but certainly this shamanic culture that lies behind, was expressed daily in every imaginable way about the vital space and on the personal or family environment existence (healing, funeral ceremonies, fertility, etc.) or over the body itself.
The drawing as moral means the intermediate representation of the social and natural order, acquired in sedentary life, in which the social forms have been transformed. Society is then patrilineal; ownership of land, abundance and scarcity cycles, reserves accumulation, richness, hereditary power, religion as an explanation of the cosmic order existence sense etc. Religious ceremonies have a “grammar”, chronological, linear and programmed condition, which has not much in common with the immediate, casual, local character and celebration of the magical ceremonies.
DRAWING ON ITS ANTHROPOLOGICAL MEANING
According to Hall the drawing would be a language that requires only a first generation extension. Such an extension would be a rod, stones for blackening or soot, coal, etc.
On the extent in which the language becomes more complex, it conquers communication qualities (accuracy, registration, interaction, etc.) and requires higher generation extensions. According to this anthropologist in each increment of these levels of complexity and effectiveness the human being, indeed succeeds in these levels, but paying the price of unrecoverable loss of freedom (in which certain nostalgia is understood). Hall explains, in a very didactic way, the transit of the tool, first generation Homo Faber extension, to the machine, a higher generation extension, of the same producer. Limitations not only relate to the freedom for using each extension, limited on the machine itself because of its specialized use, but, and this is important, as distance set between the producer and the final product, in which case, the final product as such could become unintelligible for the producer.
THE DRAWING AND ITS CREATIVE EXPRESION ABILITY
The drawing as an efficient language requires a certain skill, and is also a reference for the communication types to which this language serve and of which I’ll talk more later.
The extension to use (tool, instrument, machine) entails its implementation conditions. The extension of first generation, of which freehand drawing is its most direct expression, draws my attention. The freehand drawing skillful use must not lead to a tool’s virtuous display tool which usually perverts the purposes of interest in this case. An skillful freehand drawing must be such that it allows the reflex acts of graphic expression, to facilitate the flow of the rational-creator being preconscious stage (where, according to Freud, inhabits creativity) towards its registration. It is an act essentially illogical but of a high emotional, cultural and investigative intensity. This picture would be the fundamental and highly effective vehicle for the language that connects the creator with his work. It has a strong magical component insofar as before explaining anything (at that very moment) it invokes the responses’ force or constraints, in which the creator is an important part. It is an inscrutable and difficult (sometimes impossible) to categorize as intellectual or logical drawing, but usually in its synthetic ability (fruit of the dexterity’s effectiveness) contains a high density of information.
This communication, creator – response – creator, is instantaneous; at such speed that the notion of sequence and even direction is lost, the graphical registry appearing in multiple occasions as the process’ trigger. Its habitability in the preconscious stage makes the vigil unnecessary, and probably the logical approach methods obtrusive, increasing the information to conclude in time and place the decision to take.
The freehand drawing essential virtue is the quality of an internal communication language, and it is so that it may become somewhat cryptic and externally unintelligible, to such a degree that the author must be careful to recognize what this process has registered and its usefulness.
What has been said here so far is obviously valid for designers, sculptors, artists, architects, etc. The specificity of each discipline increases the complexity of the system and incorporates the intermediation of something like an internal grammar that specializes the drawing as a language. In the case of architecture, the three-dimensional anticipation, tectonic information and other attributes (as representation codes) are present in the language, even if they appear or not in these early exploration – invention – observation ceremonies.
THE DRAWING AS AN EXTERNAL COMUNICATION LENGUAGE
I here refer to the capacity and utility of a drawing for the information transmission between the creator and the environment. It is interesting to note that this language already responds to grammatical conventions that must be known, to a greater or lesser degree, to make the communication and interaction effective. A drawing made for communication “among equals” hardly requires a relationship order, dimensional references and the instrumental use that “evokes” (this concept being important for me) proposing content and container on the most immediate and essential way possible. This sort of language is effective for the beginning of a multidisciplinary interactive process between colleagues, collaborators and some qualified agents of the architectural production.
Other graphical conventions for communication with other social environment sectors will be precise, conventions proper of technical and cultural stereotypes of each group and each time. E.g. the presentations to political representatives or competitions pervert the spontaneity and immediacy of the process so far described, so that the own language rules, its grammar and lexicon gain prominence over that previous cryptic-essential state of the exploratory stage and alter the hierarchies so that the container might exceed (and silence) the content’s entity without guaranteeing the effectiveness in the creative production communication.
One of these common perversions is picking out superficial information layers to constitute a legal document on the process, in which the creative is not only irrelevant but it often has to be based on an information priority of which the architectural work is valuable as an exchangeable currency
Turning back to the drawing’s graphic language and its creative utility, a gradient of increased complexity is the one in which the production process and the active discipline and social interaction need reliable, parametric and measurable information. In this territory the drawing increases its grammar and lexicon conventions and conditions, in both quantitative and qualitative ways, and requires a high expertise degree for their effective management. This drawing or language is already highly qualified and technical, and able to interact with the productive, social, industrial and cultural environment. Here the methodology is logical – sequential by interactive processes of trial and error so that a status of sufficient precision is reached. The nature of language as an extension (tool) gives way to other extension generations based on the accuracy, intelligibility and interaction and registration reduced requirements. The new information technologies enable precise “machines” to do so. This language is essentially cumulative and especially uncritical about information. If the evocative aspects of those records survive, they are submerged or dimmed in technological communication efficiency.
Another particular kind of drawing, as external communication, language is the one referred to the production sector which builds the architectural project. It is a language of high communication by sectors, to the cost of a low holistic intensity, generated by extremely simplifying the grammar and lexical conventions to freeze the information on the already concluded process on a certain “photo finish”, very clean, of strong contrasts, because of its immediate implementation work purposes.
Here the information has already been dismembered in numerous and different layers, generated and managed according to the construction (building) methodologies. The relational nature of the language is not only relevant but it disturbs the layer’s informative effectiveness and withdraws itself from the information and thus obviously, those aspects of proactive evocation that remained permitting the content of these layers information, (dimensional comprehension of parts or the whole, textures, tectonic nature of the project, etc.) retire. There is a need for both the previous level for this, a technology infrastructure and efficient machines that enable information production processes that are increasingly accurate and demanding.
There is a need to have, for both this and the previous level, a technology infrastructure and efficient machines that enable information production processes that are every day increasingly accurate and demanding.
THE MACHINE AS A WISHES VEHICLE
Informatics and the exponential development of hardware and software has opened space exploration modes, to do so in all its attributes and conditions, generating new forms to look at and want reality to be and producing complex languages of advanced expertise, in what is the beginning of a new human being culture already identified as Telépolis or the third environment (J. Echevarria).
Anthropologically it would mean that this extension, for example, of fourth generation sublimates the relationship between humans and reality, similarly to as how aviation freed men from gravity and its inexorable link to the Earth’s surface.
The servitudes given to the culture by the machine development and computer language entail a high energy cost (in absolute and relative terms) and slaving grammars are assumed, however, on the responses benefits in anticipation of the explored space, more ambitiously required every day.
Geometry has been reinvented clearing the classical paradigms with unthinkable applications which constitute unlimited statements, scientific and technical processes, which stood yesterday at the level of the speculative and today are applicable in the daily practice.
The reality is has been overtaken by the world of desires in a culture of dreams (oneiros), to which not even the features of matter seem to limit.
The use of this culture isn’t exempt of the perversion that any human action entails. The ones implicit in the grandiloquent language, its virtuous handling, and those arising from the political, economic and social conditions of market relations.
The speculative and productive language and machine capabilities also offer the architect new “roles”. Those that go beyond the conventional production in territories ranging from the anticipation of spaces and production forms, until the construction of the hardware and software territory and its interfaces, grammar and lexicon. This cast of new architectural production forms that information technologies have opened and their already significant development on the productive repertoire; define a febrile research laboratory and fascinating findings, today essential to the graphical pedagogies in the training centers on the architecture field.
Here is not only an inexorable and unpredictable future but a fascinating present.