— PHILOSOPHY OF
10th International Conference and Exhibition
Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Gallery of Science and Technology
THOMAS MICAL, KEYNOTER
Thomas Mical is Professor of Architectural Theory, now living and researching in the Himalayas. His work in architectural theory increasingly traces the emergence, mutation, duration, and diffusion of concepts into and across disciplines.
Plasticity after Indexicality for Architectural Theory Today
In the case of the theoretical matter of contemporary architecture, there exists a prevalent reliance upon the semiotic construct of indexicality to locate meanings and attributes of surfacing along relational lines. Following from the projection of Krauss’ mobilization of Piercian indexicality in works of minimalist and post- minimalist art, it has been the case that material indexicality has been engaged as a core construct of material choice in speculative construction. This reliance on the intellectual indexing of textures has been accelerated with the spread of digital models and processes, noticeable in the rise of the discourse of the Deleuzian virtual/actual in the 1990’s. These permutations of defining and describing the traits and signals of matter, and the mobility or transitive nature of matters of surface construction, are no longer aligned with the index, but something more chameleon-like and effusive.
Matter itself is now vibrant and increasingly engineered and designed at a micro level, often for high-performing laminar ultrathin surfaces, and often with performance criteria that increasingly include timelines or scripted manoeuvres over time. To this condition, we propose to return to the notion of plasticity in Malabou’s works, and test them against architectural propositions, within historical, cognitive, and performative channels. In so doing, this paper will seek to define an extension of Malabou’s works on plasticity, including a quick foray into recent works in ultrathin surfaces, to develop a more robust appraisal of the plasticity of surface matter optimized under of the dual meanings of sense in architectural theory today.
Thomas Mical is Professor of Architectural Theory, now living and researching in the Himalayas. He completed his professional M.Arch. from Harvard GSD and his Ph.D. From Georgia Tech. He has taught more than 50 design studios globally and has been a tenured professor in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. His work in architectural theory increasingly traces the emergence, mutation, duration, and diffusion of concepts into and across disciplines. His transdisciplinary Ph.D. students work in diverse practice-led knowledge production assemblages across the Spatial Arts.