11 February 2012

Is Drawing Dead?

This weekend at Yale there was a symposium that addressed this topic. A pretty renowned cast addressed the topic: Massimo Scolari, Peter Cook, Stanislaus Von Moos, Antoine Picon, and many others.

For me, the first presentation by Cammy Brothers of U.Va probably had the most resonance. She talked about "drawing being relieved of its responsibility in the making of buildings." Also the question of the knowing the rules but willfully breaking them. And finally an issue of temporal simultaneity.

I could not stay for the entire 2 days. There was a lot of talk of the digital, as any discussion of the topic of drawing today is not only obliged to do, but required to do.

But here is my take.

Arthur Danto, in "After the End of Art" indicates that art has ended. What he goes on to describe is that the thrust of art in terms of representation came to its end in various denials of representation. This vein was exhausted. Art has ended. This does not mean that art making has ended, its just that its focus or emphasis has shifted. What has replaced it is philosophy, in Danto's thesis. Art becomes about ideas.

The role of the drawing in architecture has similarly come to an end. With the rise of BIM, parametric modeling, all manner of 3d modeling software, even things like Ecotect, the role of drawing in the representation of a building has all but ended.

What of drawing given this condition? Drawing becomes liberated from its responsibility. Drawing is freed to explore ideas. Drawing can be about drawing. Drawing, at least as it relates to architecture, is freed in much the same way as painting was freed after the invention of the camera. Drawing can focus more purely on the ideas.

To quote Mark Twain: "reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated."

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