On language and matter — references

Following the jury, I have stepped back a bit from production and consulted references that were proposed to me.

One is a Belgian architect and designer mentioned by Ricardo – Isaïe Bloch – who works with digital tools and come up with truly beautiful work.

The other was mentioned by Charles and is a philosopher, mathematician and logician – Charles Sanders Peirce – notably considered as the founder of semiotics (the study of signs and symbols in communication).

Believe it or not, they have something in common.

Isaie Bloch founded a practice called Eragatory (http://www.eragatory.com/) – focusing on digital manufacturing and craftmanship. He has a great sense of both matter and form, and how digital tools can combine and enhance both, making them interact.
Here are samples of his work :

satire-eragatory-closeup-1-small_1200 la-chaise-eragatory-isaie-bloch-5-small_1200


But one of the project I particularly found interesting was the one called lexICON. He kind of moved from a more abstract symbol to something more architectural – until reaching a sort of composition with recognisable and non-recognisable elements :

eragatory-lexicon_in-situ_small_1200 eragatory-lexicon_small_1200

This connect surprisingly (or not) very well with Peirce’s writing ‘What is a Sign?’.

In order to define what is a sign, Peirce compares the three different type of signs with three different state of mind – both are related.

States of Mind are divided as follow :
– Feeling : state of mind in which “something is present, without compulsion and without reason” – it is just there and we can feel it (e.g. contemplating the color red)
– Reaction : ” it comes upon the breaking of one feeling by another feeling” – it is two things acting one upon another (e.g. a disturbing noise makes us cover our ears with our hands)
– Thinking : a state of being “aware of learning, or of going through a process by which a phenomenon is found to be governed by a rule” – beyond the primal reaction, we learn through analysis (e.g. the noise is related to a door, when I close the door, the noise cease; the door is then some kind of switch for the noise)

Thinking includes reaction, that includes feeling.

Then Signs operates in a similar way and it is possible to distinguish three types :
– Likeness : convey an idea through its imitation (‘itself’)
– Indication (or index) : convey an idea by pointing at it (indirectly ‘itself’)
– Symbol : convey an ideas by sharing a common understanding of a representation (understood as ‘itself’) [for instance a word such as ‘bird’ is a symbolic representation of the idea of a bird, using alphabetical character, or symbols]

Symbol includes indication, that includes likeness.

I summarised these connections in the following diagram :


Most fundamentally, Peirce and Bloch strangely relate as the later – consciously or not – tends to use these three conditions in his work, and I think it is particularly visible in his lexICON.

Felling/Likeness : The top part of his model (yellowish blob) can be understood a the feeling – a rather primal idea, a sensation.
Reaction/Indication : Suddenly the feeling is understood as part of an elevated interior, it is to be accessed as related to space, a universe – here present within a geometrical figure.
Thinking/Symbol : A staircase is a way to access it – having a staircase is the mean by which I can connect this interior to space, and it is an understood spatial typology of connection to higher spaces.

I will come back to all this tomorrow with the group, but these highlight some really exciting fields of investigation for me.

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