“None of our men are ‘experts.’ We have most unfortunately found it necessary to get rid of a man as soon as he thinks himself an expert because no one ever considers himself expert if he really knows his job. A man who knows a job sees so much more to be done than he has done, that he is always pressing forward and never gives up an instant of thought to how good and how efficient he is. Thinking always ahead, thinking always of trying to do more, brings a state of mind in which nothing is impossible. The moment one gets into the ‘expert’ state of mind a great number of things become impossible.” – Henry Ford, My Life and Work (New York: Doubleday, Page, & Company, 1992)
With a manual of factory, the space of production, hundreds of workers or a craftsman can produce exactly what they were given to do. They are ones who actually touch and form the outcome of product, and yet authority of it is not on them. What they are shaping can be easily overlooked as just assembling ‘a product’, yet in fact, it is process of making a physical embodiment of the idea transposed as the given instruction.
Part 1. Reproduction of identity -> Sameness
We as, potentially, architect easily incline to admire and want to pursue steps of few role models, known as star-architects, who we have been impressed by throughout years and years of studies. Many times with respect and sometimes with hatred. However, architectural graduates who dare to take step on path to become their stars, the very first task to be given to them will be more or less of ‘follow to the instruction’. Whatever will be produced by them, methods, forms or strategy, based on existing manual, (it is not tangible, but you know what I am talking about), in many cases visual identifiable but not necessarily. What you produce would be replication of given instruction with a tiny room of creativity depending on minor frictional issues. But it will never be your identity.
If some of them want to say ‘I will create my own identity by myself so that I do not need to reproduce under someone else’s identity.’, I would say also it would not make the situation much different. Once you set up your identity with eccentric design, new theory or whatever means and approved by world that you are identifiable from others, then your lifelong journey of reproducing your identity to become identifiable from others begins.
If ‘identity’ means something that makes somebody, or it, notifiable from others, once he or she think himself or herself set up his or her own ‘identity’, his or her true identity as a being, will immediately vanishes under shadow of the ‘produced identity’. But if one decides to follow the instruction intentionally, the story can be heard differently. Marcel Duchamp, during a span when he stopped making art for 25 years, he chose to live with an identity of chess-player, which he was in love for his life, and he put himself under his manual to reproduce Boîte, a small box containing his identity as an artist, endlessly and diligently. And with no doubt, he was freed from making any new work to keep claiming his persona as an artist by submitting himself under the manual.
I see this as exit-less loop of sameness. If your identity becomes something that you painfully and rigorously try to form it just to be differentiated from others, whether it is shape, theory, strategy or whatever comparable, ironically ‘creativity’ will be no more than factory of sameness of ‘creativeness’. As long as the mater of finding identity comes from competition or comparability, it will not make you identifiable from else.
Part 2. Manual -> the Idea
“The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.” – Paragraphs on Conceptual Art, Sol LeWitt
Sol LeWitt, one of most known conceptual artist who used written instruction to produce art, knew that whatever results come out from draftsman, people who execute his instructions, as long as they followed manuals, those carry his ‘idea’ which he wanted to produce as ‘product’. What is important for him was neither his own ‘identity’ nor ‘authority’ but ‘the idea’ carried over the production of ‘product’.
“Ideas cannot be owned. They belong to whomever understands them.” – Sol LeWitt
I’ve been writing thesis as development from ReCon’s towards my own brief. Part 3 will talk about how buildings had dedicated to embody the idea as buildings, many times religious and sometimes methods to reproduce absolute beauty, such as St. Peter’s Basilica, La Rotonda, or Second Jewish Temple. And I will lay more direct stone to project in Part 4 and it will be about ‘how I want to define my identity’ and ‘what idea that I want to embody’. I need a break so just post former part 2. I wish to get clear idea about method of producing ‘the idea’. I will update this post as I move on to Part 3 and possibly Part 4.