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247-976 105101 Pats (0):1S6x284mm 08042009 1448 Page 347 - Symbiotic Architecture Prehending Digitality Luciana Parisi Abstract This article tackles an old, classical problem, which is acquiring a new epochal relevance with the techno-aesthatic processing af form and substance, expression and content. The field of digital architecture is embarked in the ancient controversy between the line and the curve, binary communication and fuzzy logic, Since the 1990s, the speculative qualities of digital architecture have exposed spatial design to the qualities of growing or breeding, rather than planning, However, such qualities stil deploy the tension between discrete spaces and continual curving. In this context, the atticle suggests the computational coexistence of discrete coding with continual morphing, defying any easy resolution for an aesthetic of conti ‘uity or discontinuity, the superiority of the analog or the meta-logic of the digital. The metaphysical dimension of such coexistence needs to include the abstract capacities of experiencing the transition from one state to another as the registering of algorithmic processing. Computation is intrinsic to microperceptions, incomputable quantities deploying the infectious property of the digital code. The article draws on the digital architecture of eg Lynn to explore whether the computational nature of the digital calculus has the potential to challenge the bifurcation between the bio- logical and the mathematical, the physical and the mental. Key words computation @ extensive continuum w interaction = prehension = spatial design INCE THE 1960s the use of computing in architectural design has led to new perspectives about the generation of space by means of inter- faction. Such perspectives also anticipated some of the most recent Theory: Culture & Soriety 2009 (GAGE, Wl. 26(2-3}: 317-376 DOE: 10.1177m268276109105121 Las Angeles, Landon, New Dethi, and Singapore), -6- $ [247-976 108421 Parisi (D)156x234mm 06/04/2009 14:48 Page 348 348 Theory, Culture & Society 26(2-3) debates about the impact of responsive software within the context of ubiq- titous digital media. In particular, some of the eybemetic experiments with architectaral computation carried out hy Gordon Pask's electro-mechanical, chemical and biological computers (1958), selForgan their own sensors, primiti responsive media environment, whereby space is computed in response to sensorimotor date. For instance, Stanza’s project Sensity collects sensori- motor data from the change in the weather, he traffic noise and vibrations ‘of buildings and the movement of people. These become key components, ‘of an emergent architecture involving the interactions of sense data, controlled via visual interface, able to re-form the experiences of the city in roal time? From this standpoint, the seamless model of ubiquitous interaction, governed by a universal machine processing data from distinct. communi ‘ation platforms through input-output interaetion, is in contrast with the caleulus of architectural variables defined by sense-clata changes, includ ‘atmospheric fluctuations. shades of colors, speeds of movement, and so ‘on. Henee, recent debates about the nature of software architecture are characterized by an emphasis on the architectural modeling of curvilinear ity and variability as opposed to the ubiquitous framework of ditect communication between computational objects, determined by a Euclidean geometry of fixed shapes executed by equations, ‘This tendeney towards an architecture of variation and morement of course js not new, and is not simply triggered by the use of digital software in design. Sanford Kwinter, for instance, highlights how movement was centeal to the Ralian futurist aesthetic of architect Antonio Sant’ Elia* and to the sculptural work of Umberto Boccioni (Kwinler, 2002: 54; 61-66; 10). Sant’ Elia’s La Citta Nuova, a collection of drawings and than concept studies. exposes, according to Kuwinter, his futuristic sensibility towards the Contingent and the nev, dynamic movement and the plasticity of the body (pp. 73-4). An aesthetic of spatial continuity, deployed by the force of curvilinear motions, is here at play. Similarly, architect Greg Lynn pointed out that the eurent use of architectural software programming brings back the baroque concer for the curvature of the line of Leibnizian memory. Movement and curvature have become central to a software responsive architecture aiming to disentangle the spatial form from Negroponte’s conception of the ‘architecture machine’ involving a mechanical fusion hetween the machine and the user, and to diverge from Le Corbusier's axiomatic design of finite lines, right angles, frozen surface and his disdain for the curve. One could add that concems with movement and curvature were also at the core of the Archigran’s generation of urban space. suggesting an architectural organi cism and, to some extent. a curvilinear experience of space that remains parallel to, albeit opposed to, the mechanic geametrics of extension.’ This article will not argue that software architecture and the increasingly respon- sive mediatic environments pose a new problem for the conception and eyes and eats, have anticipated the design of 347-376 105121 Paris (0):156x234mm 05/04/2009 14:48 Page 349 Parisi ~ Symbiotic Architecture 349 perception of space. Rather, this article tackles an old, perhaps classical problem which is acquiring a new epochal relevance through the technose entific and aesthetic processing of form and substance, expression and content, Here novel computational qualities of abstract thought and feeling are triggered by the symbiosis, and not simply the fusion, of codes and objects. ‘The field of digital architecture therefore is not immune from the ancient controversy between the Line and the curve, between input-output communication and the fuzzy logic of asymmetric connection. In this article, such controversy will be discussed through the instance of the neo- Darwinian model of the genetic algorithm, currently used in software arch lecture to implement the genealogical design of types (based on the ‘exchange of genetic instructions), and of the symbiotic model of parallel algorithms, a software deployinent of parasiting architecture (hased on the trading between genetic populations). The article considers the epochal qualities ofthe tension between lines and curves characterizing digital architecture, which is not exclusively ‘expressed by the technical computation of the architectural form. Rather, such technical computation cannot remain isolated from the eapacities of these epochal qualities to traverse distinet computational states as in software architecture, interactive art and media.® Abstracted qualities instantiate the affective transformations of the spatio-temporal experience in the post-cybernetic climate of the biedigital age. Such abstractions are here conceived as speculations or veritable activators of the force of the future entering the architectural design of the spatio-temporal experience of the present. Speculation in architecture is not new and can also be found, for example, in the mechanonetwark aesthetic of the metabolist movement in the Japan of the late 1960s. Architect Kisho Kurokawa exposed the biome- chanical speculations of metabolic cycles to the urban designing of each quarter in Tokyo according to a circular network (1977). His metabolic design of the heart of Takyo included a central nucleus and seven tentacu- lar axes leading to peripheral paths of energy-information exchange. A network of secondary paths led to huge helical or spiral towers, resembling. gigantic mushroom with spores and moss. The spiral design of the towers ‘was explicitly opposed to the Cartesian model of a priori master-mass plan which, for Kurokawa, could not account for the natural curvilinear evolu- tion of environments, The structure of a eity was then conceived as a mul planar transport system centred on the activities of daily metabolic life. As the double helix transmitted information, so the spiral structure embraced the metabolism of urban space for data transmission. ‘The unitary-space of the DNA helix was taken as a prototype of a city with three-dimensional cluster systems of growth (197: 54). At the centre of metabolie urbanism was the capsule: a minimum dwelling unit in evolving mega-steuctures, a cell in a stale of variation triggered by the breaking down of substances yielding energy for growth. ~o- 247-978 108121 Parsi (D):186%284mm 06/04/2009 14:48 ae 350 -¢e 350 Theory, Culture & Society 26(2-3) Not a container of the body, but an information milieu conforming to its inhabi- tants. Not a standardized prefabricate, but a modular system allowing for the change and replacement of parts at any space-time. For Kurokawa, speculative architecture was already deploying the alliance hetween man, machine and space, resulting in an info-organie body ready to metabolize the new form of habitation and dwelling of the komo movers. Similarly, Kurokawa's mechano-metabolism of the city envisioning the new quality of cybernetic feedback between media and architecture, with a minimal space of externalized tubes and wires, also anticipated the late 1980 biomechanical eroticism of eyberpunk urban Tetsuo, the iron man (1989), Kurokawa’s philosophy opposed the geometric line in architecture with metabolic dynamics of continual growth and renewal by mechanical processes, where a large infrastructural matrix connects reconfigurable mega-structures. However, it has been argued, his projects are limited by the mechanical views of first-wave eyhernetics. conforming biophysical ‘variations to homeostatic eycles of transmission. In the mid-1960s architect, Arata Isozki questioned the mechanical principles of the metabolist model hy designing instead labyrinthine spatio-temporal complesities defining dynamically open architectures.! The metabolic networks of the mechanoarchitecture then seen too indebted to the finitucle of the line and do not fully follow the labyrinth of the curve. Kurokawa's metabolic design did not move beyond the centralized arrangement of megastnuctural meta- logies able to expose local degrees of variation in complexity. On the other hand, the curvilinear aesthetic of the ‘pod design’ by the futurist architect Jean Louis Chanéac!! deployed a more organic, adaptable and mobile architecture, where the free construction of individual cubi entailed a conception of habitat for the greatest number (Allison et al., 200 279-80). His design-concept of ‘plastic polyvalent cells’, where each cell ‘ean be juxtaposed and superimposed to form a neighborhood or an entire cily, reminds us of the symbiotic architecture of bacterial genomes adling layers upon layers, remaining nested in an associative parasitism that builds slimy networks for the circulation of goods. Similarly, the ‘Habitat Evolutif experimental design of the late 1960s," where dwellers’ movements and perceptions acted as modalities of extensions, also deploy the growing. networked arrangements of physical relations. And yet, one may wonder: are these examples of evolutive architecture sufficient to explain the epochal qualities of digital coding in generative architecture? ‘Whilst the concept of evolutive habitat in the 1960s and 1970s seems to include the activities of inhabitants — guaranteeing the vatiations — in the formation of a networked environment, it also tout court reiterates an organic principle of variation according to a concept of nature as an integrated whole, an architectural vitalism or organicism. The Euclidean geometric order of the line involves a tendency towards a mechano-organization of spatiality according to a principle of discontinuity, whereby the system is divided into parts that are united by a eyborgnetwork. On the other hard, the non-Euelidean architecture of the curve involves an organieism of space 347-376 103121 Parsi(0):155x234mm 05/04/2008 14:48 Page 351 ee Parisi ~ Symbiotic Architecture 351 determined by a principle of continuity according to which each and any part of the system is always already working for the whole. From this standpoint, the speculative qualities of a digital architee- ture of space-time as developed, for example, by Gibson's Neuromancer (1984), deploy an entire data environment turning all physical objects into a series of numbers, which are operated by a mechanogeometric order of discrete codes, the binary calculator of all nature. On the contrary. the speculative architecture of spatio-temporal coding as exposed in Octavia Butler's genetically engineered environment of the Oankali™ rather points al the ingression of the unforeseen curvature in the genetic line of inheri~ tance. Such engineered environment allows for a symbiotic and not genetic architecture of nature by precluding all return to an organic principle of variation or holistie concept of nature. ince the 1990s, the speculative qualities of digital architecture: have actualized a non-standard architecture® which, on the one hand, conforms to the genetic codification of the geomelic order and, on the other, explores the curvilinearity of data. As discussed in the next sections, genetic, evolu- tive and symbiotic algorithms (GA, EA, SA) have exposed architectural design to the qualities of growing or breeding, rather than planning, digital variations in extension. However, such qualities are still imbued with the tension between an architecture of genetic generation af diserete forms and ‘an architecture of continual curving. In this context, this article suggests that the epochal qualities of such tension are deploying a more intricate coexistence of diserete coding with continual morphing, evinced by a fuzzy ‘mathematical logic of computation which defies any easy resolution into either an zesthetie of continuity or discontinuity, either a superiority of the analog or the meta-logic of the digital. For example, architect Greg Lynn uses the software program by ‘Wavefront Technologies Inc called Meia-Balls! so as to model an architec tural organization made of assemblages of interacting local forces. zones of inflection and fusion rather than totality and holism (Lym, 2004b: 164). Through a notion of iterative differentiation, distinct temporal variations ‘can be accounted in an evolutive architecture evincing the movement and fluctuation of all kinds of interacting components. Thus, the inhabitants — parts — do not add movement to a given space, as it were from the outside. but rather movement remains intrinsic to the software calculations of spatiality. Such architecture points al a new conception of coded spatiality. [Lean be argued that the infectious relationality of numbered nurabers (i.e. deter~ inate probabilities) marks the ontological condition of biological, techni- cal and cultural networked spaces. Recently, ithas heen observed that codes = both digital and biological — have viral capacities of communication. Viruses no longer constitute an exception, an external contingency of the code, but have become rather the rule of a viral networked order.!? This is, an asymmetric network implying that aulonomous programs can coexist in single modes of operations and contribute to the evolutions of networks. 347-978 109121 Parsi (0)-156x234me 08/4009 14:48 Page 352 852 Theory, Culture & Socioty 26(2-3) theinselves, The emphasis on information codes as composed of internal, external and associated milieus of interactions has le to @ new conception of digital culture as itself composed of milieus of viral ecologies." “This argument, however, ean be pushed further to suggest that a symbi- atic architecture may need to account for the experiential dimensions of abstract extensiveness without falling into the impasse between the digital and the unalog, the technical and the natural, mathematical and biological nature of extension. In other words, itis possibic to sugges, echoing William James, that for ‘a relation to be real it has to be an experienced relation® (1901; 533-43, 561-70). The metaphysical dimension of velationality attributed to network and viral architectures needs to include the abstract ‘capacities of experiencing change by capturing the transition from one state to another or registering the algorithinic passing between distinct blocs of space-time. In other words, such relationalily needs to be implicated in the process of infection that makes networks more than a formal organization of parallel vital programs. Similarly, the articulation of an ontological relationality that may radically overcome the impasse between nature and culture, codes and experience, has been proposed by Bruno Latour’s actorsnetwork theory 1 and the disconnection of partial objects n which these objects remain separable despite participating in assemblies. In other words, actors remain atomi & ‘oluble, and at once undergoing changes through multileveled inter ¢ actions. A relational ontology of this kind admits the cuexistence of conti- nity and discontinuity of all ators: chemicals are as much actors as are corporations and ideas. No materialist ontology is here invoked to idealize the difference between the actore-objects forming networks, For Latour, connections of ideas ate neither more nor less powerful than physical connections to the extent that al relations require some type of effort at coming together, Thus, networks expose all levels of gaps, and not just breaks between mind and reality. Hiatuses exist everywhere and are bridged everywhere by the nexus of aciual occasions, as Whitehead would put i Im this article, such network model of relationality will be discussed by drawing on Alfred N. Whitehead!s notion of extensive continuum (1978 61-82) and on the algorithmic theories of continuous discontinnity (Chaitin, 2005}. It will then be suggested that relationality is implicated in the activities of microperceplions. infinitesimal, incomputable quantities deploying an infectious property of the digital code resonating across the mental and physical prehensions of all kinds of entities-objects-actors building a symbiotic architecture. To this end, the article will draw on the digital architecture of Greg Lynn so s to explore whether the computational halure of the digital calculus has the potential to challenge the bifureation between the biological and the mathematical, the physical and the mental Brian Massumi has argued that the diagrammatic use of software architecture in the design of shapes and the qualification of forms ean be placed in resonance with the proprioceptive and affective activities of 347-376 109121 Patisi(D)-156x234mm 96I04/2009 14:48 Page 353 Parisi — Symbiotic Architecture 353 brientation of a body in space (2005).!° Relationality is not determined by a direct line between two terms: computational and physical architecture. On the contrary, Mussumi insists on an amodal relation, a non-relational relationality, where a topological curvature exposes the body's capacities of variation and movement across distinct levels, shapes and forms. Such amodality acts as a virtual residue in the direct relations between terms; an intetstice or gap, irreducible to the terms. Yet such residue works as 2 topo- logieal knot opening the terms of the relation to an outside of the physical and the mental zone of perception and cognition, tapping into affective rhythms of orientation, extending spatio-temporal experience heyond itself Massumi suggests thal such affective rhythms of movement and vari- ation replace diagrammatic architecture with the topology of a biogram, where centres fold into peripheries and out again, where ares wave into Knots (2005: 191). He observes that generative architecture may nced to integrate affective perception and experience, habit, memory ad movernent into modeling. To this end, a topological rather than simply generative or digital architeeture holds the promise of extending the ‘diagrams’ into “biograms’, reconnecting space to the virtual body, enabling technologies to address not simply pre-existing forms but emerging experiences (op. 201-5). To itnplicate the biogram into digital calculation will then entail the soft design of extensive experience. As Whitehead argues, ‘Extension is the most general seheme of real potentiality’ (1978: 67) ~‘All actual a are internally and externally extensive’ (p. 77). Information space therefore depends not on an embryonic relation with the human body as a centre of temporal perceptions uble to frame spatialized data as to make data part of experience ~ as, for example, Hansen claims (2004: 1-10). On the contrary, it will here be argued, following Whitehead, that there is primarily neither Lime nor space to he experienced, but rather a relation of extension between events, There is potentiality in extensiveness insofar as the real world is ‘composed! of the tiniest abjects of perceptions: a body and thumb, a drop of water and a swarm of flies, a molecule and an electsie charge, What is an object for one pereipient, however, is something else to another percipient. A drop of water to a human pereipient is a swarm of flies to an electron (Whitehead, 2004: 167). ‘The continuity of nature is hete found in events that are extensively connected in their intrinsic und extrinsic physical and conceptual relations (Whitehead, 1978: 288) Extension, from the Latin exfendo, defines the capacities of relations to stretch or spread out. Whitehead proposes an energetic conception of extension which implies tension and effort. Here space and time are & partial expression of one relation of extension hetween events, which in itself is neither spatial nor temporal (Whitehead, 2004: 185). This is not only because spatial relations extend through time but also because, he observes, since the discovery of electro-magnetic relativity we know that what i simultaneous in space for one percipient is successive in time for another, depending on their relative state of motion. In this sense, the extensive —9- 347-376 109121 Paris! (D):1S6xz34mm 6/04/2009 14:48 Page 354 354 Theory, Culture & Society 26(2-3) propagation of energy is an activity of successive divisible events, whereby earlier events are part of wider events: « discontinuous continuity in the evolution of prehensive extensions. From this standpoint, the neo-Darvwinian model of the genetic and evolutionary algorithm will be set in contrast with the endosymbiotic model of parallel evolutionary algorithms in generative design, to point at the central experience of discontinuous continuity in the differential caleulus of soft architecture. This suggests that the fuzziness of information cannot but resonate throughout a body, however small its prehensive capacities of experience may be. A two-folded expression of symbiotic architecture will be addressed hore: the differential calculus, the surplus of digital code, points at mental and physical anomalies of imperceptible connectedness between micro- bodies and macrobodies and, at the same time, al the production of new prehensive capacities of extension, ‘These prehensive experiences of the extended relations amongst all kinds of actual occasions add to the eoncres- cent nature of atomic objects, growing asymmetrically out of singular events. Symbiotic architecture introduces stealthy occurrences in the seemless Figure 1 “Becoming Animal is an interactive performance piece developed by Minimaforms. ‘the project explores the story of the mythical three-headed beast Kerberos, guardian of the underorld, The objective ofthe piece is to create an ‘environment of performance through collective participation and conversation. ‘ach participants presence stimulates the three heads of the Kesheros, triggering avior-hased interactions and exehanges. Interactions are expressed thxough sions and general activity of the Kerberes, With special thanks to Theodore Spyropoules, minimaform.com 347-376 103121 Parsi ():156x224mm 06/04/2009 14:48 Pape 255 Parisi ~ Symbiotic Architeewure 355 Calculation of digitality. These have a divect impact on thought to be felt in ils invisible variations entangled to a multiplicity of inorganic bodies Symbiotic architecture is the stieky residue implicated in the smallest and the shortest of encounters, a sort of biofiliie slime® that gels without things together in the unnatural dens of an anomalous nature. Symbiotic architecture tums space inlo blobs, a wel or aqueous extension: ‘fa] neut solid, to borrow Luce Trigaray’s term, {that} has no ideal statie form outside of the particular conditions in which itis situated including its position and speed. Gel solids are defined not as static but as trajectories” (Lyan, 2004: 171). Examples of symbiotic or blob architectures are, like the genetically engineered environments of the Oankali, populations of large numbers para- siting upon each other, stretching trajectories into curving labyrinth, building a wet supersurface in the multiplexing experience of an extended! continuum. Digital Generation The epochal tension between the geometric order of the line and the curving curve of spatiotemporality will he discussed specifically in the context of software design. This is a window into the new conjectures of the architee- tural experience, not simply concerning the technical qualities of spatiality but also how these are directly implicated in aesthetic and cultural qualities of the digital ambience. The centrality ofthe genetic algorithm in the design of network archi- Lecture derives from a mathematization of biological organization, intended to forecast the evolutive behaviour of extension. Since the early 1990s, genetic and evolutive algorithms (GA, EA) have heen used to explore design variations that can be bred via software simulations. At the core of digital architecture is a design technique based on neo-Darwinian models of evolu tion. In particular, Davskins’s conceptual device of the ‘blind watchmaker’ algorithm suggests that the evolution of forms is not simply derivable from the random mutation of simple genetic instructions but. more importantly. on non-random cumulative selection leading to the development of complex shapes called biomorphs ~ a complex set of genes (Dawkins, 1986). Davkins’s genocentrie view of evolution argues that the enrergence of complex form cannot he explained by random genetic mutation. Instead, only the workings of a blind nature that intervenes to combine accumulated variations in the most complex of ways can account for evolutionai complexity. In the Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins refines his previous genctie theories” by emphasizing the role of natural selection. He argues that the emergence of complexity cannot be explained by single step selectio according to which the entities selected are soried once and for all. For example, clouds through the random kneading and earving of the winds ccome to look like familiar objects — a sea harse, a group of sheep. a face with a nose and so on. For Dawkins, the production of these shapes is based con a single-step concept of selection, derived by one type of combination without evolution. Accumulative selection, on the contrary, points out that, 367-976 103121 Pans (0):156x234mm OE/D42009 14:48 Page 356 356 Theory, Culture & Socioty 26(2-3) each selected entity ~ or at least the result of sorting entities ~ reproduces in time. The results of one sieving process are fed into a subsequent sieving, which is fed onto the next one and so on (Dawkins, 1986: 45). Selection therefore implies the sieving of entities over many generations in sequen- tial succession. The end product of one step is only the starting point for the next generation of selection. Cumulative selection indeed points at a blind watchmaker that selects at each step the best adapied generations of genes to favour their survival into the next To demonstrate his point, Dawkins devises a computer simulation of such process through a recursive programming of a simple tree-growing procedure.” The result is a complex shape emerged out of simple rules of replication ~ recursive programming ~ applied loeally all over the branch- ing tree. The biomorph —a set of recursive genes — develops and (z-sextially) reproduces. In every generation, the genes supplied hy the previous gener- ation are passed to the next generation with minor random errors or mute- tions. This means that ~ as generations go by ~ the total amount of genetic difference from the original ancestor can become very large. Although the mutations are random, the cumulative change aver the generations is not random. Whilst progeny in any one generation are different from their parents, each progeny is non-randomly selected to advance into the next seneration, Since Dawkins’s ‘Biomorph Land” is very large ~ thus implying that there are a very large number of genetic populations ~ it is as if the evolu live development of the hest-adupted shape-creature is already mathemat- ically contained in the areas of the genotype. The ‘Biomorph Land’, like Conway's ‘Game of Life’ is « practical example of the use of evolutionary computation for the generation of form. While its original purpose was only to illustrate the theoretical principles in progressive-cumulative selection, it was soon adopted by a generation of artists and sefentists.2t In digital architecture, Dawkins’s nation of cumulative selection has been used to search for the genetic space of shapes that yeneratively repro- duce and develop through random mutations, Delanda (1998), for example, ‘explains that generative models of simulation are searching devices explor- ing a space of possibilities through the combinations of traits s0 as to find, ‘over many generations, more or less stable solutions to problems posed by the environment. The searching device in the Feld of computer simulations is called a ‘genetic algorithm’ in which a population of computer programs is allowed to replicate in a variable form. The use of genetic algorithms has then enabled architects using CAD to breed new solutions to spatial design instead! of directly programming those solutions. Take, for exemple, the generative solutions of a chair designed by architect Celestino Soddu®® as a way to evolve a modular type according to parameters of random mutation and cumulative selection at each chair generation. Evolutionary design, accorling to Soddu, enables a fast design for industrial production, a sort of prototype of & uniquely evolved form. ‘fo evolve the modular prototype of a chair 2 basic algorithm 347-876 103121 Parisi (D):156e234mm 081042009 14:48 Page 357 as Parisi — Symbiotic Architecture 357 indergoes repeated cycles of evaluation, selection and reproduction leading to variations in the composition of the algorithmic population and exploring the space of possible solutions in the vicinity of the best adapted genera- tion of chairs. In the computer model of the ‘Blind Watchmaker’, genetic configurations of variables are arranged into a matrix where each combi- nation of variations occupies a different place defined by the distance hetween parents and offspring. More specifically, for exch set of possible offspring that may he generated, a given distance from the parent to the offspring occurs with equal and uniformly distributed probability. This modular evolution of prototypes involves the adaplation of a single population in a fixed niche. For example, all individ assessed according to the same criteria and the same fitness function, whieh distributes equally to specifically located genes, Every individual gene has an identifiable fitness, and all individuals in the same space are ranked in the sume way. The only type of variable dynamics between individual genes and amongst generations of genes is competitive exclusion, i.e. the algo- rithms of the same niche compete to become members of the next genera- tion, There is no concept of change in the mechanisms of selection, variation, reproduction of genetic algorithms over evolutionary time. ‘The basic intuition of genetic and evolutionary algorithms follows the dominant intuition of natural evolution: by accunnslating small random vari- ations that incrementally improve fitness. best-adapted solutions progres- sively grow in the design of spatiality. Here the axiomatic order of the line establishes a set of simple rules out of which all complesity can reproduce. Is there any tortuous path, any anomaly, in such generative design of space? Since mutations are already contained in the genetic space of possibilities and within the phases of cumulative selection, changes in shape are here caleulated possibilities. The mutations of the genetie algo- rithm are here mainly conceived as a sort of combinatorics of Os and 1s positions. What such digital binary logic assumes is that nature like culture ~ natural environments as those constructed artificially wth CAD —operates through a genetic-digital programming that contains in itself all possible solutions for the design of a new shape of chair, ‘What if indeed genetic space did not coincide with the calculable positions of Os and Is? What if contingencies in evolution were determined neither by the slight random mutation of the same genetic space through generation nor by the cumulative selection mapped through the Bell Curve, as a limit that redistributes variations in space? What if the evolution of genetic algorithms is entailed not primarily by a progressive complexifica- tion of form out of simple elements but rather by complex parallel connec tions, the symbiotic nature of extension? Alge Dawkins's model of the biomorph proposes a serial genetic algorithm — a sel of finite instructions that can be executed a picce at a time on different processing devices, and then put back together again at the end to chairs are sis lune Syn 347-875 103121 Parisi (O)1S6x284mm 06/04/2009 14:48 Page 358 858 Theory, Culture & Society 26(2-3) get the correct result, Other models of evolution instead have focused on the activities of parallel algorithms entering a symbiotic alliance triggered by environmental variations, Serial algorithms are hierarchically arranged into a genetically related lineage through the gradual accumulation of random variations> On the contrary, parallel algorithms are nested into each other activities, trading and distributing variations across milieus of interaction. Serial algorit have a saturation point and a problem of memory space, whereas parallel algorithms allow simultaneous communication between different processors and the sharing of memory and message transmission. Parallel algorithms are distributing algorithms designed to work in chister-arranged computing environments. Such algorithms are governed by a multiple agent system (MAS), which is « parallel computer system built from many very simple algorithms whose parallel communication leads not to the evolution of one algorithm or the other but to a new algorithmic behaviour. Ant colonies and hee swarms are examples of multiple agent systems working in parallel towards a shared goal. These are self-organizing systems thal are not ‘centrally guided by one set of instructions but grow out of parallel algorith- mic processes. A parallel algorithm has also been defined as a symbietie algorithm or cluster algorithms, working in parallel yet independently of any other clusters running in the system, building muhiple and composite solutions to the same problem. 4 ‘The evolution of genetic algorithmns is based on their local interactions with the environment. A symbiotic algorithm involves the joining together ~ the parasitism — of previously free-living entities into & new eompnsite under certain conditions. Such a conception of symbiotic parasitism has been derived, amongst others, from Margulis’s (1992) serial endosymbiotic theory stating that the origin of multicellular organisms or eukaryotes is not explained by the cumulative selection of random mutations but by a symbi- otic allianee between distinct colonies of bacteria engendering a novel cellular composite For endosymbiosis, variations are the results of distinet yet parallel entities, each containing relatively large amounts of genetic material whose independent symbiotic roles remain active in the new composite, Whereas genetic ~ or serial ~ algorithms use a finite set of binary features or genes lo track their evolution in a single lineage, where every individual gene has the same features which only change in value, the symbiotic algorithm entails the parallel processing of binary features which are neither contained in a single lineage nor inheritable in a filiative fashion, Rather the inter- dependence of the symbiotic algorithms points at a labyrinth in evolution, In evolutionary computation, the compositional ~ symbiotic ~ algo- rithm has many resonances with the ‘Building Block Hypothesis’ theorized by Holland (1975). However, symbiotic interdependency, as Watson and Pollack (2003) have recently argued, distinguishes compositional symbio~ sis from the “bottom up’ hypothesis. In particular, Watson and Pollack suggest that symbiotic interdependeney accounts for a number of modules 347-376 103121 Parisi (0)-156x284mm 05/04/2009 14:48 Page 359 Parisi — Symbiotic Architecture 359 Where the number of possibly maximal configurations for each module is low, and yet greater than one. ‘Thus, the dimensionality of the system is reduced not to simple elements hut to self-contained paris that ean function on their own yet remain interdepend Inerdependent modular structures are hierarchically organized in clusters and subelusters. Far from being random, such modular depend- encies show that the complex is not dependent on the simple, Rather, the configuration of a module is dependent on the configuration of ether modules. This reduces the dimensionality of the search space for an algo- rithm entering in evolution with other entities regardless of their distane ‘As Barabési (2003) would say, the world indeed can be scale-free. Arguing against the fact that most quantities in nature follow a Bell Curve. a peaked distribution characterizing random networks around a homogeneous average, Burabiisi insists that network architectures follow the rathemat- ‘eal expression called ‘power law’, which is characterized by the absence of @ peak (p. 67). In particular, he argues against random graph theory, ‘which has dominated nelwork theories by equating complexity with randomness. According to this theory, the formation of networks stems from a number of isolated nodes connected through randomly added links, through which a gigantic cluster of several nodes emerges. This concep- tion of networks is based on an egalitarian model, according to which all odes have approximately the same number of links. However, Barahiisi explains that his research on the distance between nodes hs revealed that despite the millions of nodes, the web can be scale-free. Indeed, he argues that network architecture does not coincide with the geometries of Euctid- ean space (where each node occupies an individual place). Network phenomena such as clustering, he suggests, cannot he measured according to randomness. Clustering is 2 ubiquitous phenomenon cutting across levels of order = biological, social, economie ~ following the mathematical expression called ‘power law’, a continuously decreasing curve where many small events coexist with a few large events (Barebési, 2003: 70): the network entails not equal distribution of links but unevenness, where few clusters have many links. Barabési suggests that such power-law distribmions cheracterize what he calls scale-free networks, non-centred modular organization secounting for independent but interlinked sub-networks that can eoexist and cooperate. Similarly. the parallel or symbiotic algorithm suggests that modular interdependency is defined by the uneven symbiotic encapsulations of distinct entities ~ a symbiotic sex rather than the linearity of sexual or asexual reproduction. Whereas the genetic serial algorithm relies on the accumulation of hereditary material from parents to offspring, determined by half the genetic material from one parent and half the genetic material from a second parent, symbiotic encapsulation may simply take the sum ‘of genetic material from both parents, a sum that is more than two, more than © and 1. Thus, symbiotic sex — or the infectious activities between 347-976 109121 Parisi (0):156x234mm 06/04/2008 14:48 Page 360 360 Theory, Culture & Society 26(2-3) paiallel algorithms ~ points at the acquisition of genetie material without direet genetic transfer or filiation. According to" Watson and Pollack (2008: 189-200), Symbiogenetic Evolutionary Adaptation Model algorithms (SEAM) show clearly that the concept of a module is not dependent on gene ovdering in specific niches but on epistatic dependencies (ic. the relationship among genes). This also implies u rethinking of the activity of a natural selection which is direetly influenced by the milieu-sensitivity of an entity and, thus, by its contingent eapacity to enter an ecology of genetic relation. Endosymbiosis, however, is not concerned with the extension of simple genes towards the evolution of a complex form but with the parallel bacterial genomes forming clusters or information ecologies: architectures of infection. Rather than generating variation through the cumulative model of selection, symbiotic algorithms expose the primacy of multiple genomes entering in uneven, curving composition. ‘The pavalleliser of symbiotic algorithias points at a relational dynamies in evolution where genetic populations are large numbers that occupy no fixed discrete locations. The parallel algorithm, therefore, may need to be rethought not simply in terms of modular organization. The conception of symbiogenetic modularity proposes the standardization of building material that allows fast assembling and disassembly of the autonomous parts that compose & modular home, for example.” On the contrary, endasymbiotic parallelism may more importantly point to the mutational nature of the assemblage, an extended matrix of continual variation: the genetic deformation of the grid, the anomalous connection between unreachable milieus, the viral coactivities of differentiation, the topological continuities of discrete genomes, Whilst modularity more dircetly defines the retrospective link between pre-ordained parts that can be broken apart and brought hack together in the same order, a syinbiotie algorithm may instead be pushed to expose the mathematics of eurves, the topological continuum between discrete clusters of numbers. In short, the primacy of relational movement or anomalous connection in extension. Dawskine’s inode! of the genetic algorithm functions according to the binary logic of digital communication — a cognitive model of computation ~ based on the probability function of a set of possibilities. On the contrary. the symbiogenetic algorithm exposes such digital logic of combinatorics to the vagueness of information mailieus, a cloud of fuzzy ‘numbers that eannot but be prehended. A symbiotic algorithm thus accounts for the curving of a spatio-temporal experience not simply as a result of the responsive interaction of the user with the software, Rather. the intrinsic implication of the symbiotic algorithm in computational design points al the fuzzy. tortuous qualities of the software population itself. Tn the next section, the symbiogenetic algorithm will be context in the soltware design of blob and folding architecture, to argue that sofiware expresses biomathematical features of extension defined by an experiential field of numerical continuities in diserete coding. 947-976 103121 Parisi (0):1S6x284mm 06/04/2009 14:48 Page 361 Parisi ~ Symbiotic Architecture 361 Figure 2. “Brunel Gateway’. Minimaforms, through an invitation from world renowned performance artist Stelarc, conceives of a threshold space suspended above an existing reflection pool as an exterior room and sancti is an open cell structure that operates as 2 po ‘The structure ‘esperiential relationships between the users and the contest. With special thanks to Theadore Spyropoulos, minimaform.com Since the early 1990s, the combination of mathematies, genetics and infor- mation technology has become central to architectural design. In partieu- lar; software has become a tool for the design of a responsive and evolulive environment bringing back movement in extension.2? Experiments in para- metric design have developed according to distinet tendencies. On the one hand, the geometric order of the line dominates designs of digital space by implementing a superEuelidean modeling of spatio-temporal experi- ence commanding a responsive behaviour implemented by the software architecture of ubiquitous media.2 On the other. such experiments have tured away from the Euclidean order towards the possibility of including environmental variations in the system now open to the anomalies of a fuzzy logic.” [As opposed to the focus on the evolution of complex form from simple genetic instructions within a digitally rendered Euelidean space, a new conception of extension based on the centrality of variability has entered software architecture: ‘no geometry of complexity and morphology resulting from an epigenetic process can be fully Euclidean or elementary’. It is up > 347-375 108121 Parsi (0) 186x28amm 06/04/2008 14:48 Page 362 362 Theory, Culture & Society 26(2-3) to Felations to produce the elements, not the other way around. * comes hefore clementarity’(Spuybrock, 2004: 11). Variability in extension challenges the Cartesian ideal geometry of exact coordinates. Amongst many experimental designers aiming at includ- ing variations and parallel algorithmic calculations in software, architect Greg Lynn (1999) has pioneered modes of articulating movement and force in the sofivare design of space. Lynn does not use software for rendering and visualizing data, but eccording to its material capacities to design exible, mutable, differential spatiality. Unlike the use of software to imple- ment a generation of prototypes that randomly vary up to reaching a thresh- old of cumulative selection, Lynn (1999: 18) suggests that the veritable challenge of software design can only result from the assemblage of inde- pendent interactive variables, parallel algorithms able to influence one another through their potential activities. Here the Euclidean grid of isolated positions summed up to one another aecording to the logic of the line deprived of any force and time, represented by steady-state equations is contrasted with the Leibnizian geometric curving of the world instant ated by the conception of the monad, infinitesimal habitats converging and diverging in a point of view, which resembles less an exact mathematical point and more a vectorial flow. the continuation or diffusion of the point (Deleuze, 1998: 23). Lynn (1999: 15) takes the monad to be an integral calculus of var ables, al once # mathematical singularity and an infinitesimal, incalculable, differential multiplicity. Contrary to Deseartes, Lynn highlights, Leibniz’s integral calculus ~ the calculus of coexistent variables — defines the monadic conception of objects in space, based not on the bifureation of force from matter but on the dynamies of a gravitational field defined by the ‘movement of inasses in space, or vectors entering in a mobile balance with fone another. Digital animation, according to Lynn, needs to be rethought in the contest of a Leibnizian mathematics of differential forces and motion that accounts for variability in spatial design (1999: 16). Lynn draws on Leibnia's study of differential ealculus* to express the contrality of time, motion and foree in architecture, the point at which the tangent crosses the curve. A point-fold, as Deleuze calls it (1993: 14), or ‘enveloped time, where the straight line is abvays a curve, a nondimensional point of conjunction of vectors, a real yet inexuct quantity, an intensive degree of differentiation. Only zandom. irregular, complex equation ean calculate the itrational numbers of the curve, the limit of the relation between two quantities ~ exact points ~ that vanish into the eurve ‘The irational number implies the deseent of @ eireular are on the straight line of rational points, and exposes the latter as a false infinity, a simple lundfinite that ineludes an infinite of lacunae... The straight line always has to be intermingled with eurved lines. (Deleuze 1993: 17) ‘The calculation of infinitesimals {infinitely small numbers) defines conti ous relationality between the smallest quantities, a continuity to be found 367-976 103121 Parisi (0):156x234mm 06/04/2009 14:48 Page Parisi Symbiotic Architecture 363 in the evanescent quantity, which retains the character of what is disappear- ing —a virtual residue. Recently, mathematician Gregory Chaitin has re-addressed the question of the differential caleulus in his algorithmic information theory, suggesting that the string of hits running between 0 and 1 corresponds not to a calculable mumber but to a random, inreductble, structureless quantity. Randomness is here understood as maximum entropy, something, that cannot be compressed. Since randomness has no paltern or structure, Chaitin argues, it has to be understood as ‘a thing in itself”, an irreducible «quantity. Chaitin defines such an incompressible quantity as the nuraber an infinitely long and utterly incalculable number made of gaping holes, « number maximally unknowable (2005: 12° tis impossible to calculate the value of digit-hy-digit, or bit-hy-bit, in binary codes. Chaitin affirms that these digits, writlen in decimal, coincide with a number between zero and one: a decimal point fellowed by a lot of digits going on forever. Whilst the number is perfectly well defined mathematically, the digits in the decimal expansion of this real number (i.e a number like 3.1415926 . ..) cannot be determined. Every one of these digits spans between 0 and 9. but it is impossible to know what it is, since the digits are accidental, random (2005: 105-6). The incomputable cipher defined by Chaitin re-introduces a sort of randomness into the scene of evolutive mathematies. However, Chaitin (1979) defines randomness not in terms of an empty space between nodes ~ a space of equally distributed information ~ but rather as a full, densely packed zone of information, In short, this mathematical interval between zero and one is neither a diserete number nor a void, but is an intensive quantity defined by an intrinsic numerical variability, which remains computationally open in relation to the configuring constrains of an inexact cipher Similarly, Lynn (1999: 25) explains that the mathematics of animation software is based on the un-compressibility of the infinitely small interval, 1 dynamic space full of information defining a differential equation with more than two inleracting components, such as velocity, direction, and temporality of each veotor. The interval defines a relational space pregnant with information populated by infinitesimal variations. qualitative trans- formations of the form-matter relation, According to Cache, each singular and distinctive point is a geometric point of infection, an infinite curvature of digits where wumbers move int opposite 1s. Inflection is ‘the true atom of form, the true object of geography" (Lynn, 1999: 40), the slopes and the oblique gradients of hills and valleys rather than the ground of basins. This conception of continual variations in extension has been central to the study of the flexible grid or ‘rubber math’ described by the mathematician D'Arcy Thompson (1961; Lynn, 2004b: 381). In his ‘writings, he analyses variations in the morphology of animals using deformable grids, which yield curvilinear lines due to changes in form. He compares the curvature of deformations in formal configurations to the curvature of statistical data, such as speed, and weight and gradient forces, 361 Theory, Culture & Socieyy 26(2-3) such as temperature. He then concludes that these variable deformations are instances of discontinuous morphological development. Through a concept of variable grid, D'Arcy Thompson develops a mathematic of species rooted in dynamical sets of geometric relations. Indeed, deforma- tions are not simply derived from a given form but from a continuous rela- tionality hetween internal and external forces. Here the accident is understood as the continual deformation or destratifcation of the species, directly constrained by the un-computable relationality: a point of inflec- tion, the curling of the line between the inside and the outside: an accident ‘constrained ly inflection Contrary to neo-Danvinian genecentrism, Thompson believes that genetic information is unable to fully specify the generation of form, Rater, form ean only result from the microuetivities of the environment (natural forces), which ean be described with the mathematical laws of differential calculus. Thompson finds such laws in the geometric shapes of shells and sponges, which cannot be explained by genetics, i. genetic inheritance and random tuutations. He affirms that evolution is not governed by natural selection bul, more importantly, by the variable constrains and parameters within which organisms develop certain limits that channel animal forms into particular pattems which are constantly repeated across the phyla. For ‘example, he argues that the shape that droplets of viscous liquid take when dropped into water is virtually the same as the medusa forms of jellyfish. And yet such 2 convergence of form is net accidental. Indeed, this accident is fundamentally constrained by the physies of moving uids described in the equations of fluid mechanics. Thompson points at a concept of mobile stability between divergent series of internal andl external forces. Lynn draws on Thompson to address the nature of geometrical folds, a supple gcomictry that enables the object to bend under external forces whilst folding those forces within (Lynn, 2004a: 28). This is the topology of curving and not segmenting line, expressing the movement of folding and unfolding between distinct levels of interiority and exteriority. D’Arey Thompson's speculations on the deformation of types suggest 4 topological rather than a modular evolution of shapes: a bencling architecture evincing the capacities of algorithms to infinitely curve in symbiotic accord with the gradient variations of the environment. Singular intricate knots are not simply reproducible in the fashion of modular ty ‘gies ~ the complexification of types — insofar as the ecological condi ‘of reproduction are constrained by the infinitesimal accidents of inflectio In digital architecture, such topo-ecology is described with a notion of developmental landscape, defining the space within whieh organisms evolve and replacing the notion of fixed types organized in phylogenetic trees. This moclel of developmental landscape has also been discussed in terms of a fitness landscape: a surface that represents an external environ tment zeross which a facetted sphere rolls (Lynn, 1999: 28-82). The faceited sphere expresses the organism with its own internal constraints, whilst the landscape stands for its potential pathways of development. A landscape 247-376 109121 Parisi (O):1S6x284mm 6/04/2009 14:48 Page 355, Parisi — Symbiotic Architecture 365 becomes a field where a small vectorial change is distributed smoothly across a surface so that its influence cannot be localized at any point, Slow and fast movement is built into the landscape surface through hills and valleys. Yet the mobilization of space is not derived from a direct action of objects but is imbued in the environment itself; the potential for moveinent is enveloped in extension. The movement of an object across a Tandscape then entails the intersection of its initial direction, speed, elas- ticity, density and friction doubled with the inflections of the landscape across which it is traveling. [tis not that the abject performs movement. Rather, the landscape can initiate movement across itself without literally requiring any motion on behalf of the object. ‘The inflections of an environment are then gradient slopes enfolded into its own geological stratification, Surfaces are not simply horizontal, not merely composed of pieces stitched together alongside a trajectory tending al infinitum. Surfaces then clo not constitute a ground. On the contrary. surfaces are themselves points of inflections, folds that are of an oblique nature, already imbued with motion through an intsinsic propensity of space to movement. These surfaces are not an emply space but microbodies full of dens where virtual force and motion are stored, From this standpoint, the notion of fituess landscape defines mot an covironment for the selection of best-adapted organisms but a field of residual potentials housed by the slopes of inflecting surfaces-bodies ready to propel movement again. In digital-generative design, the breeding of topo-ecological surfices corresponds not exclusively to s comhinatories of codes ~ discrete quantities. Rather, t exposes the realities of the curvature in fuzzy nutnbers, the incompressible qualities of gradients where extension becomes inflection or infection: active and passive parasitic farces mark the obligueness of the environment, never reaching a point of equilibrium insofar as these are governed by a mobile stability directed by vectors of attraction and repulsion, Such multiplex assemblages of potential residue have been incorporated in Lynn's experimental designs of blobs: warped kinematic spaces (2004; 157-67). Blob surfaces are held together by their mutual eapecity to infect one another and compose symbiotic assemblages. The blob is not topographi- cally specific hut is specific to its topological evolutive environment. which remains irreducible to one form or another. Lynn understands blobs as monads equipped with internal forces of attraction and mass. ‘A bleb has a centre, a surface area, a mass relative to other objects. and a field of influ- ence: i.e. the relational zone within which the blob will fuse with or will he inflected by another blob’ (1999: 30). Blobs are objectiles defined by relations of proximities that enable them to xedefine their respective surfaces based on particular gravitational properties or fuse into one contiguous iface defined by the interactions of their respective zones of inflection. The blob is not an entity shaped by its intemal genetics but remains open to the gradients of the relational field that compose its dilferent configura tions. It is not the variation of the same genetic instructions to generate new 347-378 103121 Parisi [D)156x234mm 06/08/2009 14:48 Page 365, 366. Theory, Culture & Society 26(2-3) spatial configurations of an object. The potential to acquire different config- urations is embedded in miniscule gractients ~ infinitesimal variations. or intensive quantities, of speed, temperature, and pressure of a symbiotic environment, mapping an entire ecology of coexistent milieus of information. A blob architecture, in other words, has more in common with an endosymbiotic conception of evolution than a generative model of evolution- ary types. In particular, it is possible to suggest that the parallel algorithms al work in the design of a blob architecture coincide with Lynn Margulis’. evolutionary process of assemblages, where no single body can remain in royal isolation from the parasitic architectures of bacteria. A bacterial meta- metazaic environment, according to Sagan, characterizes evolution as a series of intricate eco-systems replacing the gradual evolution froin simple to comples form with symbiotic parasitism, where the host and the quest become accomplices in the production of intricate ecologies (Sagan, 1992: 378-9), Here the environment is not a typographic ground oceupied by an ‘organism that gradually evolves through random mutation and cumulative selection. The environment is not a static ground, but a veritable mobile house. Like the snail carrying the house on its back, the environment is continuously being moved by a series of epigenetic relationships where the outside is enfolded within the movement of an extended continuum. Sim larly, blob architecture proposes a non-modular concep! of extension, an incomputable pack of numbers: open-endedness in digital calculations, turning limit points into a continuum of complex numbers. This is a continuum of slimy residue that connects things together: an infectious extension in the infinitesimal populations of numbers glued to cach other. 2 stealthy building of anomalous socialities. Here the status of the object and the subject is rethought in terms of cries of inflections a line is distinguished as a place, a site, a point of view. Far from the ocularceniric tradition that ‘equates the point of view with a pregiven subject or that assigns to an object 1 fixed position, the subject here is defined by ‘what remains in the point of view’, the viriual residue of infletion. Similarly, the object is an objec tile virually coexisting with an infinitesimal numbers of objects. which transform in relation to the variable positions of the subject, The latter, as Deleuze drawing on Whitehead affirms, is less a sub-ject than a super-ject: ‘a point of view on variation’ marking the conditions in which ‘the subject apprehends a variation’ (Deleuze, 1993: 19-23). From the continuity of infinitesimal variations — incompressible into a discrete set ~ to the discontinuity of the viewpoint, a new conception of extension as ‘continuous repelition’ of the point of view is made possible by a multiplicity of enveloped inflections. An extensive continuum remains un interrupted by the disjunctions and conjunctions of the lines: a mathe- ‘matical, tppo-ecological continuum in the minute perception of mierebodies. Leibniz’s differential calculus cannot be disentangled from the activities and passivities of microperceptions housed by an entity veetors of a curve. From a ee 367-376 109121 Parisi (O)156x284men 06/04/2009 14:48 Page 957 Parisi — Symbiotic Architecture 367 how small, how inorganic, itis: tiny folds probing in every direction, vibra- tions under the skin, passages through states resonating across all layers of perception (Deleuze, 1993: 85-90). Digitel/generative architecture is not exelusively concemed with the modular evolution of forms, determined by the Euclidean spatio-temporal parameters, but also with incomputable chance ~ the unstructured cipher ~ in the digital calculation of parallel forces, gradients, motions, temporal ties, However, such irreducible complexity entails the primacy of an infec- tious relation of the tiniest bodies. In short, as argued in the next section, the symbiotic nature of space. the flexibility. clast alleabitity. of geometrical forms instantiated by « mathematic of discontinuous continu- ity, needs to account for the experience of relations. If architectural form has to move beyond the sterile evolution of algorithnis in Newtonian space, the experience of the distinet levels of the abstract and the concrete has to be explained. Felt Spat Blob architectures borrow from the digital calculations of spatial evolution not simply the eombinatories of Os and 1s but, more imporiantly for us, the infinitesimal variations of curving lines linking 0 and 1. where a mullisyn biotic enmeshing of surfaces engenders the grid. Like the quantum bit? — cor qubit — the symbiotic algorithnn defines not one state or another (0 or T) but encompasses at once 0 and 1: a quanium entanglement. The digital ‘animation of such parallel surfaces works not to imitate the spatio-temporal growth of form, a sort of digitalization of natural evolution. Such animation indeed probes into the relational capacities of minimal units of information, not ultimate atoms ‘but miniscule folds that are endlessly unfurling and bending on the edges of juxtaposed areas, like a mist of fold that makes their surface sparkle, at speeds that no one of our thresholds of conscious- ness could sustain in a normal state’ (Deleuze, 1993: 93) Here software is not a mere tool for design, since as 2 tool it implies an experiential zone for the quasi-imperceptible activities of minute percepts. the obscure dust of the world, drawn into clarity by their variable relations. An eniire process of continual relation between mictopercepis and perceptions ~ nonsensuous and sensuous prehensions ~ draws the curv ture of felt thought, a thought that is felt. Arguing against the primary fimetion of sensory perception as defined by Hume, whereby the world is perceived in distinct objects. here and now. Whitehead points out that perception cannot he ‘divested of its allective tone’, ‘its character of a concern’. in other words, sense-perception is entangled to non-sensuous or conceptual prehension: the continuum of the immediacy of the past in the immediacy of the present. Non-sensuous prehensions define the activity of feeling continuity in discontinuity (Whitehead, 1933: 180-1), Non-sensuous or concepiual prehensions are neither sensory responses nor cognitive reflections, bul expose the activities of thought al all levels of nature. Greg Lynn points out that the differential calculus 347-376 103121 Pans (0):156x234mm 6/04/2009 14:28 Page 368 368. Theory, Culture & Socicty 26(2-3) remains central to the software activity of designing spatio-temporal vari~ ations as embedded in an environment of algorithmic computations open to the fuzzy logic of incomputable qualities. Yet one could push this argument further and suggest that the qualities of the differential caleulus in software define not solely the centrality of fuzzy numbers ~ incompulable quantities = in the symbiogenetic evolution of the architectural form but, more impor- tantly, expose the ‘psychic mechanism of perception, the automatism that at ‘once and inseparably plunges into obscurity and determines clarity’ (Deleuze, 1993: 90). In other words, symbiogenetic algorithms in software architecture are not definable in royal isolation from the dark aetivities of matter, the dusty percepts, and the incomputable thoughts adding new curves in the continual extension of spatio-Iemporal experiences. We have seen that the digital metaphysies of « diserete mathematical universe able to explain all complexity out of simple, elegant axiomatic rules, as those implemented in architectural design with the genetic algo- rithm, is never simply ~ or exclusively — an ultimate matter of combining binary probabilities resulting in a computable-cognitive equation. Chailin’s incomputable algorithm suggests that there is mathematical extensiveness between actual codes containing too much information ~a chaotic fuzziness ~ indivisible in an exact set of equations. Such extension is not determined by the void, since emptiness is only perceived as such from the point of view of elurty, of remarkable and distinguished perceptions, while remain- ing populated by fuzzy obscuritics, the infinitesimal chaos of siinute percepts. This leads us to define not a digital architecture of Form, the clear genetics of form — an axiomatic digitality in perception, as the ultimate ansparency of mathematical formulations devoid of incomputable darkness. Digital architecture, and ils extension in the design of contem porary media culture, may need to include the perceptual experience of extensive continuity, the vagueness of minute percepts. This is an halluci- natory perception ready to grasp ‘the haze of dust without object’ out of ‘which form emerges and soon falls back into it, in a flick of a second, which is Tong enough for an abstract incomputable extension to be minutely prehended (Deleuze, 1993: 94). But what exactly are these minute perceptions, which do not cease to expose each perception to hallucination? As Whitehead would suggest hallucinations derive from the vibrations of matter contracted by all sorts of organs of perceptions, enveloping incalculable dust into distinet clear form. In other words, the calculus is split into two causalities corresponding to two parallel symbiotically nested computations. ‘These correspond to lwo inseparable yet distinguished faces of the calculus: ‘one relates to the psycho-metaphysical mechanism of perception, and the other to the psycho-organic mechanism of excitation or impulsion’ (Deleuze, 1993: 97). The differential calculus therefore entails the infective relation between mental and physical realities: minute perceptions are minute entities- things-actots defined by the communication of movement through receptive organs distributed everywhere in nature. Thus, what is perceived is not 347-376 103121 Parisi (D)156x284mm 06/04/2009 14:48 Page 369 Parisi ~ Symbiotic Architecture 369 disentangled from what happens to a body. and the latter exists in no royal isolation from what happens to abstract extension. Ifthe modification of objects in digital architecture has so far utilized the differential calculus to expase the infinitesimal variations of an environ- ment of dens and slopes (storing vintualities, fore and motion), then it may be useful to ask a few questions: which clear perceptions does the dilferen- tial caleulus select from minute obscure percepts? Which states af halluci- nation does digital design entail? Which kinds of communication and propagation of physical movement does it imply? In short, what are the physical and mental affective states enveloped in an architecture of symbi- otic extension that does not depend on a subject (prehending) or an object (prehended)? What is the surplus value of code in digital architecture? What does digital extension add to the abstract conereteness of an extensive continuum? What kinds of prehensive events dnes it deploy? Whitehead’ concer with the relation between extension and prehen- sive extension points out that extension is required by process (1978: 67-8) In other words, extension is implicated into an intensive spatium of virtual spatio-temporal coordinates directly experienced as prehended in the immediacy of the past in the present. Yet while process is not in the digital processing. the infinitesimal divisions of such processing are indeed involved in a relationship of extensiveness, which necessarily entails aetivi- lies of mieroperceptions, al once sensuous and nonsenstious, physieal and mental Lynn's design of Port Authority Gateway, for example, has modeled the site as a gradient field of forces simulating the movement of pedestrians, cars, and buses at varying speeds (1999: 103-19}. The final design of the Gateway has heen derived from a software field of forces that already includes the interactivities of distinct components of movement. The break- down of these components into geometrical particles that would change shapes and positions has enabled the study of singular eycles of movement over a period of time, The generative capacities of extension are here imbued in the design process itself deducted from a relational ficld of micropercepts. Here the speed and slowness of variable interactions ‘construct an architecture of infection: an experiential mutation of levels of relations between the abstract and the concrete ‘The qualitative nature of the epochal tensions between the line and the curve in the ambience of digital culture is thus evinced by the surplus value of the code. ‘The surplus is defined by its relational capacities in the field of influence of all kinds of micropereepts, defying privileged points of orientation and exposing the propensity of movement in the software itself san associative milieu of calculations, the numbering numbers of differential relations Tt could be argued that this kind of digital architecture is mainl concerned with the software rendering of form and not with experient relationality, and with sensory-motor interactivity where touching a wall coincides with the sensory reception and not with the inventive process of 347-376 108121 Parisi (0):156x234mm 06/08/2009 14:48 Page 370 370 Theory, Culture & Society 26(2-3) prehensions, for example. Yet it would be misleading to overlook the subtle persistence of prehensive events (mental and physical) caught up in the darkness of minute activities exceeding both sensory-mnotor responses and ‘mental recognition, Such events operate in the overload zones af too much information: the incomputable extension of Omega, the supple spatio- temporal eurvalures pressing against the cortex of cognition, stispending all channels of sensary perception, melting the body into throbbing micrabodies, of an extensive continuum. Here the locality of relations is each time engen- dered by the speeds and slowness of past vectors and veetors to come. To ‘overlook these zones of tiny infleetionsinfeetion is to deny that experience. ‘occurs in the interstices of macroperception, that socialities are builtin the intramaterialities of an entity-thing-actor no matter how small, how inor- ganic. Digital architecture does not simply reduce the relational event to binary processing, On the contrary, it has been argued! here that coded spatialily is infected with incomputable quantities, spatio-temporal anom- alies in experiential thought entering the everyday through the symbiotic dependencies with nonsensuous worlds. Notes 1, Pask also designed an erly system, ‘Musicoloue’ (1953), whieh drove an array of lights that aapted to a musicians perfomance Late in 1936, he desaed the SARI o"slE-adaptve Keyboard inset which romana the wos Rest adlpive + Teaching system to-go info commercial proction (rae, 2001) Images af the tuiclour can be found ipulrcitevonchiteteog/200008 {accessed 20 March 2008), 2, Sensty artworks entail a collection of data across the urban environment ‘Through the installation of a network of sensors some fixed and some embeded, sense data is gathered and then published online. then interpret the rmiero-data of the interetive eity. The ouiput from the sensors displays the emotional state ofthe ety online and the information will be used to ereate instal lations and sculptural arfaets. All the documentation for te Sensity project, 2004-7, canbe found at httpsfvwrestanza.co.ukisenstyfindes.huml#Sensity (accessed 20 March 2008). 3. This debote can be traced hack to the Architectural Design Lymn, ‘Folding in Architecture’ (1993), when questions abou uclidean architecture allowed by eomputer-based design sterted to mest explie- ily characterize the transformations in conceptions of geameirie space. 4, See Antonio San Elia, “Manifesto for Futurist Architecture’, at buy. sunkoowa.nulfaturisinfarchitectur.itml (accessed 30 August 2008) 5. This eoneept was fist itraueed by Negroponte ave hs MIT group atthe MIT Media Lab, which wos followed by the publication of Architecture Machine: Toward More Human Environment (1970) 6. In "The Gity of Tomorrow’ (1998 [1924), Le Corbusier argues that 2 modemn city ‘must live by the straight lire, eliminating the chgos of the streets, the conglomer- ate of different architectural styles. He maintains that {Whe eurve is ruinous tliffeult and dangerous: i is @ paralysing thing. The straight line enters into all 347-978 103121 Parsi (0):156x23¢mm OB/04/2008 14:48 Page 371 Parisi ~ Symbiotic Architecture 371 human history, into all human avn’ (1998: 45). A straight line because he has a goal and knows wh ‘sane and noble, The winding road, on the ot furthermore: Jmyjan walks in hae is going’. The straight read and, is the result of» “happy= {go-lucky heedlessness’ and ‘animality (p. 47). 7. Archigran’s ‘Instant City’ (1968-70) is a Hating web of balloons that could be grafted onto existing stra ke # new portable eity 8, Amongst many examples of interaetive media architecture, minimaorns project “Becoming Animal’ points at the centrality of movement partiipation and eonver~ sation for the production of an interactive environment. ‘The project explores the story of the mythical three-headed beast Kerheros, guardian of the underworld Each participants presence stinsalates the thee heads of Kesberos by tviggering Dchaviour-based intersctions and exchanges. Interactions are expressed through sounds, facial expressions and general activity of Kerberos. The images used in this artiole are courtesy of Theodore Spyropoules, director of minimaforms (syrxaminimaforms.com) 9. On metabolist projects, including Kurokava’s Nakagin Capsule ‘Tower. see Intp:#/wowkisho.co,ppage php!209 and archrecord.construction.com (accessed 30 August 2008), 10. Moving heyond the biemorphic model toward smo time, architect isozaki emphasized the need to consider diverse forces in order to foster true complexity. Isozaki’s architecture wanted to move beyond the linear and teleological view of growth at the core of the metabolist model ofthe city towards 4 vilalist organiefsmn of dynamic complexity see Asada, 1998), 11. Chanéue's ‘Prototype de Cellule Polyvalente” and uth at http/fmi.lrac-ente.fefpubliefactionel/pafdossier August 2008), 12, Paseal Hausermann, Jean-Lo movernent proniting the concept ofthe ‘egg house’, enabling the dwelling to adapt to its inhabitants, who will direct the extension oF combinations of cells ~ an archi- tecture that evolves through free aggregation, interconnection and juxtaposition of tw form an inkiabitable whole (Allison ct al., 2006; 296). es to ‘organie model of spuc Chanéae and Antti Lovag wer t Gibson's adapted by the architectural vision of th 19) 14, In Dawns, the first book of the trilogy Xenogenesis, Octavia Butler describes the Oankali’s genetic engineering techniques of evolution exploiting the extremely infectious nature of genetic codes. The entire architecture of such engineered nat isa lab of genetic experiment seuity of eodes exeveding the progtam of numbered probabilities via their residual potential to be combined anew, ‘The engineered environments of the Oankali are governed! not by new stochastic calculations of a binary eode ~ in other words. a set of delimited probabilities, but by the miilieus of connectedness of the eode ~ its approximate proximities, the associative numbering zone of all numbered codes (Butler, 1987). pt of eyberspace was famously ly 19906 eybemetie culture (Benedikt, 25, For the historical formation of the concept of non-standant architectuse see Allison et al. (2006: 17-20) 16. Examples of Greg Lynn's blob design ean be found at htip:fhewy.gHform.com! andl at httyt/vwie.glforn.convblobwall.atl (aceessea 30 August 2008), 347-276 109421 Parisi (D)-185x234mm O514/2008 14:48 Page 372, 372 Theory, Culture & Society 26(2-3) 17. Tony Sampson and Jussi Parikka have both in different ways Universal Turing Mac! fn the research on computer evolution as a means of computation (Parikk: wed that the ‘can be rethought as a Universal Viral Machine. Drawing es carried aut by Cohen, they argue for viral 2005; Sampson, 2004) 18, For further insights into this ergument see Parikka (2005) and) Fuller (2008), 19, As Massumi states, ‘Doesn't topological design mothod digitally repeat what cur bodies de non-computationally as se make way to and from our workstation? ‘Then when we watch the program run. arent we ding it again, slumped before the 7 Are we not immobily repeating our body's ability to extract form fom 5: 183) 20. A biafin is a complex agyrogation of microorganisms morked by the exeretion of @ protective and adhesive matiix. Biofilms are also characterized by surface ‘attachment, structural heterogeneity, genetic diversity, comples community inter~ actions or an extracellular matrix of polymeric substances (ce Bassler, 1999; Greenberg, 2003}. For the architectural shapes of hioflms, see btip:thrww, hiophysiescompbiological_tissue/Bioilm.gif and. bact 30 August 2008) 21, Dawkins’ genecentrie view af evolution is extensively discussed through the ‘concepts of the ‘selfish gene’ and the ‘extended phenotype’. proposing thot the ‘organism and the environment act as the hosts ~ or vehicles ~ of a mierolevel of ‘evolution driven by genetic replication (Dawkins, 1976). warldeom (accessed 22, As Dawkins specifies: ‘the computer stants by dravsing a single vestical line. ‘Then the Tine branches into wo. ‘Then each of the branches splits into too subbyra e model is applied locally all ove es anil oon. It is recursive hecause the sa he growing tree’ (1986: 51). 23. Convoy’ ‘Game of Life’ works according toa similar principle of evolutionary computation. See the ‘online example at_htp:/Arww:bitstorm.ory/ginietlifel {aceessed 20 December 2006), 24, One ofthe best known artists inthis il is Willian» Latham who, together with Stephen Todd and the IM research team, generated very complex and organic looking 3D images and animations. 25. On the use of the biomorph model in architectural design. see Celestina Sodou’s rapid prototyping realization: hitp/sswy.celestinosodda,comrp/RP_ arch him: hup:livwve.celestinosedd.com/qyRP _chairs.htm_hitpd/vwre:celestinos ‘oddu.com/design/soddurings htm (accessed) 20 November 2006) 26. On the use of generative algorithms in architecture see John Frazer’s online book and animations, An Evolutionary Architecture, at: hitpd/fwwwanschool.ac.uhl publications/eafexhibition.html (accessed 30 August 2008). 27. A modular home is simply a home built to local building ends in 2 eontriled, cuvironmentally protected building centre using precise and eflicient construction technology. For examples of modular homes see www. modularhomes.us 28. Auto CAD, 3D Mas, Maya, Rhino and Adobe Photoshop are the most common sofisrate nov used as architectural tools to perform procedures such as stream scripting, automation and interaction 29, Such software iniplementation canbe found inthe digitaization of media across distinct platforms, from mobile phones to online TV. The ubiquitous conception of media as anticipated in the 1960s by Mark Weiser's view of uhiquitous computing, [947-376 109121 Parisi (O):156x284mm Os/04/2000 14:48 Page 373 | Parisi - Symbiotic Architecture 373 also defined as the coming age of calm technology, leads to an architectural design of dveet stimulus, whereby the user is predispo instruct 30, Most recent examples of parametric design including the continual variability of local settings in usban modelling have heen eentral to the projectsexperiments carried out by the group Miniimaforms at htp:ffwww.minimaforms.com and by the ‘AA DRL Design Research LAB sewis.aadel.net. In particular, Minimafonas’ proje “Brunel Gateway’ explains how the algorthmie architecture of a threshold space Ihecomes an open cell structure that operates as a perceptual framing device, Mini- tafors here conceives of space as an open cell network, where series of aperable lenses amplify and collapse the experiential relationships between the users and the context oto respond to computational 31. Bemard Cache explains the notion of singularity: ‘In mathematies. what is said to be singular is not a given point, bul rather a set of points on a given curve. A point is not singular it becomes singularised on a continuum. ... We will retain two types of singularity. On the one hand, there ar the estrema, the maximum and the minimum on a given curve. And on the other there are those singular points that, in telaion to the extrem, figure as in-betweens. ‘These are points of infloe- tiow .. defined only by themselves’ (Cache, 1995: 16). 32, Calculus is built on two major complementary ideas, buth of which vely ett cally on the concept of lis. Differential ealeulus analyses the instantaneous rate of cliange of quantities, and the local behaviour of functions. a slope, for example, of a function's graph. Integral caleulos looks at the accumulation of quantities. such as areas under a curve, linear distance traveled or volume displaced. ‘These two processes are said to act inversely to each other by the fundamental theorem of caleulus. 133. Chuitin's notion of algorithmic randomness aims to re-address Turing’s eoneept that 2 computer isa mathematical concept that never makes mistakes. Whilst being always finite, its calculations can go on as long as it has to. Alter Turing stipulated this idea, von Neumann added that time needed to eamry out the calculation = the complesity of computation ~ had to become central to the study of information. However, Chaitin suggests that rather than time, the question to he addressed fr complex computation is the size of computer programs. He divcetly derives the importance of size from 19th-centary physicist Ladhvig Boltamann, who coined the notion of entropy. which is the measure of randomness (how disordered or chaotic 4 physical system is). In Boltzmann statistical mechauies, contrary to classical physies, there is a difference hetseen going backward and forward, the arrow of time of the past and the future. For Boltzmann's theory. there is a tendency of ‘entropy to increase: systems increasingly get disordered. Chaitin draws on Boltz- rmann's problem of increasing entropy to argue thatthe size of eomputer programs is very similar to this notion ofthe degree of disorder of a physical system, Entropy and prograu-size complexity are closely related (Chaitin, 2005: 56-85) 34, "Thompson's shape variations defined by 2 grid in movement can be found at hnip:/fwws-geoups.des.st-nd.ac.uk/-history/Miscellencoushlatey-htal (accessed 30 August 2008), 35. For more information on Lynn's blob architecture see htpslfwwew.glorm.com, 36. The comperison between a symbiotic and a quantom algorithm is of entcial relevance here. This point, however, cannot be adequately discussed in this eticle 247-376 108421 Parisi (0)156284mm 06/04/2009 14:48 Page 374 374 Theory, Culture & Society 26(2-3) and will be the ebject of futher research. On recent discussions on the quantum bit see Collins (2005). References Allison, J MJ. Brayer, & Migayrou and N. Spiller (2006) Future City: Experiment ‘and Utopia in Architecture. 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New York: Prometheus Books. ide University Luciana Parisi is the convenor of MA Interactive Media al the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London. She has published various articles on the relation between science, technology ancl a {947-378 108121 Parisi (0):155x284mm 06/04/2008 14:28 Page 375 376 Theory, Culture & Society 26(2-3) the ontogenetic dimensions of evolution in nature, culture and capitalism, Her research has also focused on the impact of biotechnologies on the concepls of the hody, sex, femininity and desire. In 2004 she published Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (Continuum Press). She is currently working on generative or soft architec~ lure in relation to perceptive and affective space. [email: |.parisi@gold. ac.uk}