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Assemblage, No. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission.

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. He is versity of twoforthcoming ,andauthor bookson the roleof timeandthe life in relation sciences to modern architecture.

A versionof this essaywas previously publishedin England. WhileAssemblage will not normally reprintmaterial,the editorsfeel thegeneralprojectestablished hereis important for the journal's emerging program. Matter,accordingto Henri Bergson,is made up of "modifications, perturbations, changesof tension or of energyand nothing else. Yet even as Bergsonwrote,life was no longerso surely,nor by so great a magnitude,the most complex nor the most autonomous entity in the universe.

For duringthe same years,the mathematicianHenriPoincarewas discovering,to his own horror, that the mechanicsof just three moving bodies bound by a - and interactingin a single relation- gravity single isolated system producedbehaviorso complex that no differential equation,neitherknownnor possible,could everdescribe it.

What this meant was that it was no longerpossibleto show that one state of naturefollowed anotherby necessityratherthan by utter caprice.

Time, in other words,reappeared in the worldas somethingreal, as a destabilizingbut creativemilieu;it was seen to suffuse everything,to beareach thing along, generatingit and degeneratingit in the process. Soon there was no escapingthe fact that transformation and noveltywere the irreducible qualities that any theoryof formwould need to confront. For the veryethics and physicsof the futuristprogram, conceived as an open, far-from-equilibrium system, responsiveto and willingto amplifyeverydestabilizingfluctuationin the environment,necessitatedits multiple impregnationboth in and by the social,material,and affectivesystemsthat surroundedit.

The futuristuniverse- the firstaesthetic system to breakalmost entirelywith the classicalone - could properlybe understoodonly in the languageof waves,fields, and fronts. The type of movements it was obsessedby were those that carvedshapesin time not space;it studied the stabilities achievedthroughhomeostaticknots of force in perpetual strife,it embracedthe beautyand evanescenceof becoming.

Yet futurism'sprofoundestgift to our centurywas its seeminglyhubristicattempt to link the biosphereand the mechanospherewithin a single dynamicalsystem. Umberto Boccioni'sthree-paintingseriesStati d'animobelongs to this projectand as such comprisesthe firstpurely modalpaintingsin the historyof art since the late medieval The spatiotemporal locus of the trainstation scene period.

One scene, but three modalitiesof inhabitingmatter. As primeexemplarsof modal complexity,it was naturalthat railroad stations should playa privilegedrole in futuristpractice; they were the firstliteral,complex systemsof material flows manifestedat a phenomenalscale whose associated formscould be apprehendedas such, understoodand actively engaged. The dynamicaland morphologicalphenomena associatedwith this type of multiple convergence of flows have alreadybeen developed in relationto this work.

Quelli che partonono longer describesa convergenceof flowsbut ratherthe event of their breakingup, or bifurcation. What does it mean, then, when something stable and continuous ceases to be so? What does it mean when the unfolding of a dynamicalprocesssuddenlyshifts into a new mode, when an ensemble of units and forcesbreaksup to form two or more independent,more highly organizedsystems? The paintingQuelli che partonowedges its own diagonalcascades and chevronformsbetween its two neighborpanels:on one side, the undulating,orbicular, systolic-diastolic processesof and embrace in Gli on the addii, and, organicism depicted verticalstriationsof other, the inertial,gravity-subjugated, Quelli che restano.

The fullnessand roundnessof the first workis not simplyone field of shapesamong three, but rather the veryplenitude from which the other two arederived. Between the firstpanel and the other two, there has taken place a catastrophe. But beforewe can understandwhat this means it will be necesand saryto understandpreciselywhat a form is, how it arrives, why the "formproblem"has been so difficult to handle. Most classicaltheoriesof form arelimited by a majorshortcoming: they areunable to account for the emergence,or genesis, of formswithout recourseto metaphysicalmodels.

One of these classicaltheories- perhapsthe paradigmatic one - is the so-calledhylomorphicmodel. Accordingto this model an independentlyconstituted and fixed form is understoodto be combined or impressedwith a certainquantityof hyle,or matter, itself conceived as a fundamentallyinert,homogeneous substance.

Once broughttogether,these two abstract elements are said to form a thing. Yet, as we will see, a form can no more be fixed and given in advance in what space would this workof formingbe done?

Reductionismis the method by which one reducescomplex phenomena to simplerisolatedsystemsthat can be fully controlledand understood. Quantitativemethods, on the other hand, are relatedto reductionism,but they aremore fundamental,because they dictate how farreductionismmust go. Accordingto them, reductionismmust reducephenomena to the ideal scale at which no morequalitiesexistwithin a system,until what is left areonly quantities,or quantitative relations.

This is, for example,the basis of the Cartesiangrid system that underliesmost modernmodels of form. A linearmodel is one in which the state of a systemat a given moment can be expressedin the very same terms numberand relationof parameters as anyof its earlieror laterstates.

The differential calculusof Newton is preciselysuch a model describingflowson the plane differential equationsaremechanismsthat generatesets of continuous numericalvaluesthat, when fed into Euclideanspace,appearas linearmovement.

But if the standard calculuscan successfully model the evolutionof successivestatesof a system,it can do so only insofaras it plots the movementsof a bodywithin that that the system system,and neverthe changesor transformations.

The cell, or blister,form of the sand domes that appear on a beach at low tide are the result of an "exfoliation" the emission or release of a new surface or fold triggered by a conflict of regimes an encounter of forces whose sum will deform the system in a particular direction in the neighborhood of a so-called butterflycatastrophe. The butterflyacts as an organizing center for a shock wave that "knits"the three evolving fronts into a pocket as it passes through them.

Christaller model showing symmetry breaking and the resultant complexity that arises in an initiallyhomogeneous point field through even the most rudimentaryfeedback mechanismsbetween the individualpoints. The diagram models economic activityas it distributesitself in a geographical space, carvingup the field almost randomlyinto centers, epicenters, and satellite regions.

Thisis due to the proliferationof nonlinearitiesin the evolutionary mechanismand its extreme sensitivityto purelychance factors that are continuallyrecycledback into the system, magnifying their effects.

Coleoptera larvaeself-aggregating. A gradient field a field of graduated differences registered by chemicalconcentrations or some other effector-substance naturallyarises as the larvae begin to emit pheromones into the environment in direct proportionto their level of nourishment.

The larvaethen begin to migrate toward regions of greater pheromone and food concentration, which, in turn, both increasesthe concentration and steepens the gradient until a definitive cluster is formed.

Ifthe field is initially homogeneous but very dense, diffusion of informationwill be very rapidand will soon result in a single large cluster. If the field is initiallyhomogeneous but sparse, signals will be weak and not oriented, resulting in no definitive clustering. For values in between, any number of clusters may be sustained, though only if they are established at the outset.

The arbitrarily largerthe initialsize, the greater the chance of a given clusterto persistover time. Escherichia coli bacteria in petri dishes clustertogether into regular,radialpatterns of bunched cells to protect themselves from noxious chemicalsor stimuli for example, antibiotics.

The chemotactic signals that trigger the formation of the patterns are amino acids secreted by each individualbacterium. The clustering is induced by feedback mechanismsbetween the bacteriathemselves. Gleitbrettershearing in sandy slate. The faulting pattern is caused by the superimpositionof two simultaneous laminarcatastrophes,shearing and folding.

Boccioni,Quelliche partono Those who leave , Development of a spiralaggregation wave in the dictyosteliumslime mold. A remarkable,complex series of events takes place that gives shape and organization to an initiallyhomogeneous field of individualamoebae. The first break in symmetry- a cell-free space in an even lawn - becomes the focus for a global spiralwave that first orients the cells, then gathers them into "streamers," drawing them toward a doughnut ring that surroundsthe initialcenter.

Position in the field and responsesto chemotactic pulses causes the cells to differentiate functionallyfrom simple relay elements to complex, self-entrainingoscillators. Suddenly,organized and synchronized waves pass through the field, directing the amoebae to form a single semispherical mound on the spot of the original void and a single differentiated multicellularorganismwith a foot, capable of migratingsignificantdistances in search of new sources of food.

Nebula NGC, but much older galaxy breaks into two distinctstellar populations- the old stars forming a sphericalhalo, the new ones collecting on the much less dense central disk. Cavityproduced behind a sphere dropped in water. A reaction splash above surface illustratesThom's elliptical,or filament, catastrophe. Cuspson a beach illustrategeneralized, periodic,cascadecatastrophein water and sand.

Indeed,not only the systembut also the body itself undergoes. On the one hand, it entailedthe revival of to one visumethods studydynamics,permitting geometrical whose complexitysurpassed the allyto model relationships it limits of algebraic on the other, permittedone to expression; not translational the study only changeswithin the systembut the qualitativetransformations that the systemitself undergoes.

The classicalcalculusof Newton and Leibnizwas developed alongthe lines of a ballisticmodel, the plottingof and of realbodies againstan inert,featureless, trajectories decould be exhaustively immobilespacewhose coordinates scribedin purelynumericalterms x,y. Topologyinstead events deformations that introdescribestransformational duce realdiscontinuitiesinto the evolutionof the system of a given itself.

In topologicalmanifoldsthe characteristics substrate the are not determined by quantitative mapping by the specific"singularspace the grid below it, but rather ities"of the flow spaceof whichit itself is part. These singucriticalvaluesor qualitativefeaturesthat arise laritiesrepresent at differentpointswithin the systemdependingon what the systemis actuallydoing at a given moment or place.

It is just this variability and contingencythat is of greatimportance. In a generalsense, What exactlyarethese singularities? Some of these singularities at "zerodegreesCelsius,"forexample,denotes the singularity. Thus matteris not in any sense homogeneous,but contains an infinityof singularities that maybe understoodas that emergeundercertain,but veryspecific,condiproperties tions. In topologysingularities of flowson the planearemorelimited and specificbut can give riseto enormously complexand behavior.

These have already been classifiedin variegated various and separatrices whose ways,most often as attractors varieties and combinations give riseto specificqualitiesand behaviors: sinks,sources repellors , saddles,and limit cycles. Eachof these describes a particular wayof influencingthe movementof a point in a givenregionof the systemor space. A flowin the planecan essentially be described by two paramor "freedom.

Yet it is enough to underto gain standhow formsemergeand evolvein simple"2-space" of how morecomplexformsevolvein more an appreciation theory complexspaces. What is centralhere is the dynamical of morphogenesis, whichcharacterizes all formas the irruption of a discontinuity, not on the systembut in it or of it. Fora formto emerge,the entirespace system must be transformedalongwith it.

In dynamicsthese arecalled or gradientsand their essentialrole is to link the "potentials" points in a systemand drawflows from one place to another. A potentialis a simple concept anythingsitting on one's. The floor,on the other hand, is an attractorbecause it representsone of of the potential in the system. Any state of several"minima" the system at which things aremomentarilystable bookon the shelf or on the floor representsa form.

States and forms, then, areexactlythe same thing. If the flow of the book on the shelf has been apparently arrested,it is because it has been capturedby a point attractorat one place in the system.

The book cannot move until this attractorvanisheswith its basin and anotherappearsto absorbthe newly corresponding releasedflows. The destructionof the attractor and the creationof a new one is a catastrophe. Now before developingthis theoryfurtherit will be necessary to make a few observations. It appears,in a certainsense, that the concept of formhas been defined as a state of a system at a particular point in time. In fact, formsrepresent stablemoments nothing absolute,but ratherstructurally within a system'sevolution;yet their emergence theirgenesis derivesfrom the crossingof a qualitativethresholdthat a moment of structural is, paradoxically, instability.

This is possiblebecause formsare not simplysystemsunderstoodin the classicalsense, but belong to a specialtype knownas "dissipative systems. By "open"one means that it is an evolvingsystem,like a pot of coffee or the local weather,that has energy information flowingout of it, and likelyinto it as well.


Sanford Kwinter – Landscapes of Change: Boccioni’s Stat d’animo as a General Theory of Models

Assemblage, No. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission.


Sanford Kwinter and Umberto Boccioni Landscapes of Change Assemblage No 19 Dec 1992 Pp 50 65

In adopting and further describe the meanings of these terms within a time-based system, Kwinter is describing a reality that is happening on a variety of levels, including both seen and unseen forces, and that is influenced by time and space. Question: How can these theories and definitions be manifested in physical form? You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email.

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