SYNTACTICAL SITUATIONS – an exercise in becoming familiar with the concreteness of abstractions

Out of kindness comes redness and out of rudeness comes rapid same question, out of an eye comes research, out of selection comes painful cattle. So then the order is that a white way of being round is something suggesting a pin and is it disappointing, it is not, it is so rudimentary to be analysed and see a fine substance strangely, it is so earnest to have a green point not to red but to point again.

(Gertrude Stein, from Tender Buttons)

I am currently exploring with a group of architectural students in the MAS class Architecture and Information at ETH Zurich how to space-out syntactical situations into a matrix that can be encrypted and deciphered (coded) by: (1) reading e.g. Gertrude Stein’s poem A BOX as the algebraic formula of an abstract crystal (the “identity” of “A Box”), (2) by making the symmetry relations explicit that are at work in articulated syntax (actualizing the virtual realm in which the expressiveness of the poetic articulation works), (3) by taxing and measuring the different “places” (activity, subject, object, qualifications of all and of the relations in between) this virtual realm affords to be occupied through substituting the words with others, (4) by adding and balancing both sides of the virtual symmetry relations with additional components that are considered as factoring in the articulated identity, (5) then studying how the substitutions, additions and distributions of weights affect the original taxonomy of the “places”, (5) and comparing what the applied operations do to the original space to which the the poem owes its form.

Curious to see what comes out!

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