Drawing Dromologies

a publication at Leonardo Electronic Almanac

 

Anthi.Kosma.Dromologies V

by Anthi Kosma

anthokosmos@hotmail.com

Keywords:
Drawing, Emotions, Accompany, Dromology, Flow, Speed

Abstract:

What is inter changing in new media technology is not only the knowledge, the information or the codes but also the emotions raised from the pleasure of making, the feeling of belonging in a community and the act of sharing experiences. With new technology, an individual experience is transformed to a shared one. Technology offers a wide new range of possibilities, in graphic design and craftsmanship and a new means of communication. Acceleration is found in digital products because they are made and distributed rapidly. The apparently/physically lonely moment related with new technology is opposed to the way that technology is enforcing our relationship with the world. Drawing dromologies are the ways of the lines. Lines and footprints made of pixels helps us to explore unimaginative places and dromologies in a trip where we are accompanied by others through a rhythm and velocity every time more rapid, impressive and emotional.

*

”[…] the thing itself is felt as if it was at the same time myself and something else than me […]” – Jean-Luc Nancy [1]

‘Presence’ and ‘self-awareness’

The idea of constant presence and body disappearance in a continuous trajectory of ‘self dissemination,’ which is created by instant communication and the speed of new media, are not presented here as two counterpoints but as two sides of the same coin. For this reason, the above statement has been identified as a state of the body with the lack of ‘self-awareness’ and, at the same time, a deep understanding and meeting with oneself. In particular, we will describe these states of dissemination in the act of drawing where we consider drawing as an action and not as an image. [2]

Similar cases

At first, some similar cases of ‘self-awareness’ are described in order to understand the phenomenon of self-awareness and its aspects in drawing. The state of dreaming is a case where the body is apparently intact but which is at the same time changing, in a kind of “endomorphosis” as Nancy remarks in his work Tombe de Sommeil (“The Fall of Sleep”). [3][[1]]. In the case of new media, the disappearance of the body is not unconscious: it is, as in dreams, a double reality that the body is facing, which creates the suspension from the form limits and the formation of an amorphous substance that is kept intact.

It could be said that the difference between static and constant transformation of the body is not something unusual but rather something common. Who hasn’t caught himself standing close to a window and looking outside for some time? Daydreaming and, generally, actions where concentration is required are some examples of an absent-body. Csikszentmihalyi defines “flow” as the moments when what one feels or desires and thinks become one. He also talks about the pleasure one feels when the body and mind expand their function during these acts. [4] Another example is when Agamben, in his homonymous book, names the artist as “The Man Without Content,” in order to characterize the lack of self-awareness that accompanies the state when the artist enters into unknown territories and acts in a way that he has never acted before. [5]

In his work Les Muses (The Muses), Nancy describes the loss of consciousness of the body in front of a screen and associates this moment with the creation, the moment and the state where art may be possible as the following quotation shows:

“The body is feeling in the same time as a unity and as a plurality […] in the same time disperse […] (touch the keyboard, see screen, listening to the radio) and unified […] the body feels at the same time like a unit […] my ‘I’ is lost in it. It is here where the arts are possible.”  [6]

After these examples, the loss of self-awareness and strangeness can be more understood. In the case of drawing, Nancy, once more, describes this state in the case of the first imager. Here, he is outside of self even before having been his own self, before having been a self. In truth, this hand that advances opens by itself this void, which it does not fill. It opens the gaping hole of a presence that has just absented itself by advancing its hand. [7]

The human body is static only in appearance; in reality, as the biologist Maturana said, it is an organism in constant change and interaction with its environment in a reciprocal relationship. For the neurological system there is no interior or exterior. [8] Even if the body is in constant relationship with the environment, what is changing? What does this state of lack of awareness imply? How are these changes reflected? The answer to all these questions can also be found in emotions. What one is experiencing is not only coming from and related to his environment, but it is also reflected as Damasio (among other authors) said in his body through changes that occur to color, temperature, mental state and generally through our emotions. [9] Whether they can be seen or not, emotions are always a response that occurs to our body produced by a stimulant. It can be said that we cannot control our emotions: they are automatic and uncontrolled. It follows that the experience described as ‘self-dissemination’ is definitely an emotional one, because it affects our body state; but at the same time, the impact it has on our body is independent.

Considering the premise that the body changes according to emotions and through the acceleration in use of new technology, making is another state of ‘self-awareness’ that is deeply affected by emotions. As Daniel Miller describes in the following quotation:

[…] here are actually two meanings to the words “I make it.” One seems rather more modest – merely informing you that it was my labor, time and effort. The other, which seems to be increasingly common, is when ‘Ί made it’ is a claim to achievement. Ι made it as an important person in the world. The emphasis is less on the ‘it’ that was made and rather more on the I.” [10]

In order to describe these changes, feelings and emotions during the ‘self dissemination,’ the art of drawing is used as an example of creation, both in the sense of an artistic discipline and in terms more concrete. New media and the virtual environment have undoubtedly expanded the use of drawing and increased the possibilities for innovative design providing new and multiple ways of use, which allows free and infinite attempts to be tried. For instance, in architectural drawing new technology architects have greater room for experiment, through simulation. As Edward Robbins explains in his book Why Architects Draw? :

Freed from the time-consuming and costly realities of design-while-building; architects have greater room for experiment. The experiments can work through a whole range of ideas and possibilities without incurring particularly high costs for labor or resources. Since design-in-drawing does not have to be built, architects no longer necessarily need a client nor the resources about architectural ideas and possibilities. [11]

Drawing dromologies

In the process of drawing – which can be defined as the act of leaving marks on a medium, in this case a digital one – acceleration is defined as the average speed of illustrating races and possibilities of modification and change, such as in the case of graphic races, also marked by lines and contours. Drawing is reaching the logic of speed dromology through races ‘dia-dromes’ made by marks and codes in a free drawing, a kind of digital doodle or diagram. It is significant that not only new media provides rapid actions and reactions but the act of drawing is also described as a rapid one. Speed works as an obstacle to control, disenables consciousness and often manages to disconnect us from logic and cognitive operations. Many times, it can seem as though we act without thinking; with a mechanic or automatic way rather than with a conscious one. We refer to the action of drawing as a process of research and experimentation and not as representation, where the speed and the acceleration are basic components forced by the new technologies. In the stage of creation no one seeks for a predetermined result in an operation in some cases similar or close to ‘action painting,’ an aimless way of drawing, an act without aim or pattern. In this case searching is like being lost and trying desperately to find answers, combine solutions, elements, factors, and so forth. Acceleration makes this race more intensive, often producing unpredictable results and therefore unpredictable emotional experiences.

Dromology moved by

Emotions raised in a procedure like drawing are not a personal matter disconnected from the environment, the others, our relationship and meeting with them. “I’m not interested in how people move, but what moves them,” [12] declares the choreographer and artistic director Pina Bausch, focusing on the inner forces driving the body into actions. The abstract expressionist painter Willem de Kooning was struck at the age of seventy with a new found love for his medium and it was then when, without any effort, he entered into an extensive and outstanding creative process, producing a series of masterpieces. [13] What moves people is a complicated matter, but motives and impulses exist and are impressible into action. Many times, action is described as the experience of a personal fight between oneself and the medium (words, names, forms, colors and so on) but fewer are mentioned in the interior or exterior impulses which move us, make us participate in this action, get involved in a specific situation, a kind of art and so on. Draw dromologies are facilitated by technology, have different aspects and ways of doing but are always affected by the environment. Emotions are not always individual but, as Csikszentmihalyi said, there is a flow related with the collective, with being with others: Nancy’s “Nos Autres.” New media also provides collectivity in quick rhythm; from a lonely to a collective dromology.

In new media, it seems that strong impulses exist, which move and accelerate the processes. Speed, quantity of accessible information, rapid change and multiple points of view are combined with the possibility to communicate and interchange with others. This possibility transforms the experience of dissemination and lack of ‘self-awareness’ from a lonely procedure, or a procedure shared with few, to a collective experience. In this case, the impulse is found in the contact with the other, not because one is not alone physically, but mostly because others – being with others – accompany the feeling. The rapid answer and reaction increase the velocity and at the same time provides a kind of ‘flow’ based on the pleasure of being with the others. [14] In this case, the fact of ‘making’ comes not only from oneself but also from others and the interaction with them.

Technology offers a new way of doing (digital, codified), in both graphic design and craftsmanship in general; as well as a new way of communication. Acceleration is not only met in the rapid way things are being made, but also in the rapid way they communicate, comment and interact. The lonely moment related with new technology is opposed to the way that technology is enforcing our relationship with the world. Richard Sennett, in his work The Craftsman, is referring to the programmers of Linux when he speaks about the craftsmen. Sennett, through the example of Linux, has shown another way of collaboration; of working facilitated by the media and the rapid sharing of information, which also reveals the sense of the community where emotions are related to collectivity and begins with others through their craftsmanship. He also speaks about the contemporary craftsmen, a community of new craftsmen who are trying to find out problems in order to solve them in a constant interchange of knowledge. [15]

What is interchanging is not only knowledge, information or codes but emotions raised from the pleasure of making, the feeling of belonging in a community and sharing experiences. With new technology, an individual experience is transformed to a shared one.

Drawing a disseminating raft

Drawing dromologies are the ways of the lines. In Greek, drawing (σχέδιο) it is the raft (σχεδία). Drawing, marks and signs are the medium, the raft, by means of transference to explore through the lines and the footprints made of pixels unimaginative places and dromologies in a trip, which is accompanied by others through a rhythm and velocity every time more rapid, impressive and emotional.

Notes:

[1] Jean Luc Nancy, Tumba de Sueño (Buenos Aires: Amorrortu, 2007), 19.

[2] Jean Luc Nancy, Le Plaisir au Dessin (Paris: Galilée, 2009), 2.

[3] Jean Luc Nancy, Tumba de Sueño, 15.

[4] Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Aprender a Fluir (Barcelona: Kairos, 2007), 41.

[5] Giorgio Agamben, El hombre sin Contenido  (Barcelona: Áltera, 2005).

[6] Jean Luc Nancy, Las Musas (Buenos Aires: Amorrortu, 2008), 144.

[7] Ibid., 75-76.

[8] Humberto Μaturana Romesín and Bernhard Pörksen, Del Ser al Hacer: Los Orígenes de la Biología del Conocer(Santiago: J.C.SAEZ, 2004).

[9] Antonio Damasio, El Error de Descartes: la Emoción, la Razón y el Cerebro  (Barcelona: Crítica, 2007).

[10] Daniel Miller, “The Power of Making,” in The Power of Making, ed. D. Chaney (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2011), 15-23.

[11] Edward Robbins, Why Architects Draw (London: The MIT Press, 1997), 30.

[12] Pina Bausch, “Press Page,” Inamori Foundation’s website, http://www.inamori-f.or.jp/laureates/k23_c_pina/prs_e.html (accessed December 14, 2011).

[13] Antonio Muñoz Molina, “De Kooning, Talento y Desastre,” El Pais, December 3, 2011,http://www.elpais.com/articulo/portada/Kooning/talento/desastre/elpepuculbab/20111203elpbabpor_4/Tes(accessed December 14, 2011).

[14] Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Aprender a Fluir, 87.

[15] Richard Sennett, El Artesano (The Craftsman), trans. Marco Aurelio Galmarini (Barcelona: Anagrama, 2009), 21-22.

Acknowledgements:

IKY, State Scholarship Foundation of Greece: Scholarship for Postgraduate Studies Abroad, Ph.D.
Antonio Verd Herrero (Professor UPM, ETSA de Madrid) and AAAA (Aula de Apertura y Acompañamiento al Aprendizaje-Classroom of Opening and Accompaniment) at Learning through Moodle virtual platform.

Biography:

(1980) Anthi Kosma born in Sparta, Greece
(2005) Architect Engineer. (8.70/10). DUTH: Democritus University of Thrace, Department of Architectural Engineering, Greece.
(2008) DEA, UPM: Polytechnic University of Madrid, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid. (2010) Ph.D. student. Thesis: Project drawing. A phenomenological approach to the state of ‘birth’ of a project. A study between two architectural cultures. (Directors: Javier Seguí de la Riva, Paloma ‘Ubeda Mansilla). UPM, ETSA de Madrid.
(2010-> now): IKY, State Scholarship Foundation of Greece: Scholarship for Postgraduate Studies Abroad, Ph.D.
(2011) First Price: Colective Housing “plot 6.2 “ Nuestra señora de los Ángeles II””, Madrid, Spain
With “N+10”: Emilio Ontiveros de la Fuente, Sergio del Castillo Tello, Rubén Miguel Águeda, Laura Currais Pérez, Maria Hernandez Enriquez, Kattalin Aurteneche Onandia, Marta Bueno Martín, Daniel del Rey Hernández, Angela C. Juarranz Serrano
(2011) Let’s get lost – Installation, Cultural Center “Fernando Lazaro Carreter”, Madrid (with“comehastartarte”)
(2011) Cut-Copy, personal exposition, Cultural Center “Fernando Lazaro Carreter”, Madrid
(2013) Graphic Improvisation (Design Courses) www.imprografika.wordpress.com

Glossary:

Accompany: to be or go with as a companion.
Drawing: the act of tracing on a surface.
Emotions: consists of the myriad of small changes to an individual’s physiology.
Self-awareness: awareness of your own individuality.
Raft: a flat structure, typically made of planks, logs, or barrels, that floats on water and is used for transport or a platform for swimmers.
Dromologio: Itinerary.
Body: the entire material or physical structure of an organism, especially of a human or animal.
Dissemination: to scatter widely, as in sowing seed.
Accelerate: to increase the speed of.

 

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