by Vera Bühlmann author’s manuscript. In his Ten Books on Architecture, the Roman architect Vitruvius gathered all the existent knowledge on architecture in one comprehensive treaty including the building of temples, of course, but also the construction of clocks (gnomon, sun-dials) and the fabrication of machinery. The dedicated aim of gathering all the distributed knowledge … Continue reading

# Category Archives: Thinking as an Algebraic Mechanist

# Equation

by Vera Bühlmann author’s manuscript. The mathematical notion of the equation is first documented in the 16th century, when it seems to have been introduced as what we would today call a terminus technicus for organizing the practice of equalizing mathematical expressions. It seems to have been introduced to European Renaissance science and philosophy together with algebra: … Continue reading

# Invariance

by Vera Bühlmann author’s manuscript. The main inclination this article will try to develop concerns a danger that Michel Serres has stated as follows: not to confuse invariance and identity.[1] Jacques Monod, to whom Serres refers with this statement, has pointed out the source of this likely confusion with regard to what he calls the … Continue reading

# MANUSCRIPT // The creative conservativeness of computation

(Alternative title: The Secretive Conservativeness of Computing) *this is the manuscript (in draft character) of my paper delivered at the “Within the Domain of the Sun’s Inverse, or: Where are we when we are thinking computationally?” Seminar (cf the documentation of the event). »The philosophical role of the sun has transformed many times, but it … Continue reading

# Symbolic Solids, or: exploring Architecture’s Inverse // Architecture beyond Design

This is the documentation of my talk at The Building conference Columbia University GSAPP, organized by Jose Araguez with Aaron White. The Building 15 November 2014, 9:30am to 5:30pm, Wood Auditorium, Columbia University GSAPP Ever since the theoretical turn of the 1960s, right through to the present, the status of the architectural object in the sphere of history, … Continue reading

# Seminar | Within the Domain of the Sun’s Inverse. Or: Where are we when thinking computationally? Speculative Reasoning and the Nature of the Cosmos

The open seminar is co-curated by Vera Bühlmann (ETH Zurich) and Erin K Stapleton (Kingston University, London). It is a laboratory for applied virtuality event, organized by the Chair for Computer Aided Architectural Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, ETH. The event will take place at Wirtschaft Neumarkt and Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, on November 26th – 27th 2014. … Continue reading

# MANUSCRIPT // The Sun and its Inverse: Reclaiming the Role of the Mathematical in Understanding Media [and the Technics of Digital Communication] with Michel Serres

My paper at the conference THE ULTIMATE CAPITAL IS THE SUN // METABOLISM IN CONTEMPORARY ART, POLITICS, PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE (http://theultimatecapital.org) organized by Matteo Pasquellini, Elena Agudio, Dorothee Albrecht, Bonaventure Ndikung and Eylem Sengezer at Akademie der Künste in Berlin, October 25/26 2014. précis While listening to the other papers on neuroscience, the contemporary attention on … Continue reading

# ABSTRACT // The Sun and its Inverse: Reclaiming the Role of the Mathematical in Understanding Media and the Technics of Digital Communication with Michel Serres

My paper at the conference THE ULTIMATE CAPITAL IS THE SUN // METABOLISM IN CONTEMPORARY ART, POLITICS, PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE (http://theultimatecapital.org) organized by Matteo Pasquellini, Elena Agudio, Dorothee Albrecht, Bonaventure Ndikung and Eylem Sengezer at Akademie der Künste in Berlin, October 25/26 2014. ABSTRACT My paper will consider some of the circumstances in which the understanding … Continue reading

# Universal Genitality // All the time of life itself and the secretive circulation of genuine unlikeliness.

This is the manuscript to my lecture at the New materialist methodologies. Gender, politics, the digital conference in Barcelona, Spain, from Sept. 26th. The version I put online here is expanded with two appendixes. The original abstract was entitled “Acts of Engendering by Abstract Thought, or Reclaiming »the Mathematical« from the Celibacy Imposed on it under the … Continue reading

# PhD Colloquy Winter 2014/15 || An Untimely Nature of Communication: The Cyphered Reality of Channels

….and: The Birth of Geometry in Encryption and Deciphering–Towards a Physics of Communication. “Bacteria, fungus, whale, sequoia, we do not know any life of which we cannot say that it emits information, receives it, stores it and processes it. Four universal rules, so unanimous that, by them, we are tempted to define life but are unable to do so, because … Continue reading

# On Michel Serres’ book The Natural Contract (1990): “Cosmoliteracy – the Alphabetization of the Nature of Thought”

This is the manuscript of my talk at the joint annual conference of the Society for European Philosophy and the Forum for European Philosophy, September 3-5 2014 at Utrecht University, with the annual theme: Philosophy after Nature. Cosmoliteracy – the Alphabetization of the Nature of Thought by Vera Bühlmann A-cosmic philosophies have only language or politics, writing … Continue reading

# Generic Mediality – A Response to Mark B. N. Hansen’s “Speculative Phenomenology of Micro-Temporal Operations”

Hansen’s lecture and my response were held at the joint annual conference of the Society for European Philosophy and the Forum for European Philosophy, September 3-5 2014 at Utrecht University, with the annual theme: Philosophy after Nature. http://philosophyafternature.org Generic mediality, and the Real as the physical substance of technical criticality (gk. krinein, Ermessen). by … Continue reading

# New book out: Die Nachricht, ein Medium – Generische Medialität, Städtische Architektonik

Was würde es bedeuten, die architektonische Frage darüber, wie das Wissensmögliche seine Genese, Fügung und Gliederung findet, unter genuin städtischen Vorzeichen neu zu formulieren? Medialität müsste darin eine zentrale Rolle spielen. Sie wäre der Inbegriff all dessen, was in seinem Bedeutungsgehalt vermittelt, erhalten, entwickelt und erzeugt werden kann. Mit der Inversion von Marshall McLuhans berühmten … Continue reading

# Materialism Without Territory. Art and the Environment

A two-day seminar which took place on Friday 30th and Saturday 31st of May 2014 at Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich, which I co-organized together with Jorge Orozco for the Chair for CAAD at ETH Zurich, laboratory for applied virtuality. The event’s website with videos of the lectures is here: http://materialismwithoutterritory.wordpress.com. (click on the titles of the program below to be … Continue reading

# SUMMER COURSE: A SEMINAR ON »Information Societies and the Questions of Subjectivity and Identity«

MEDIACY, COMMUNICATION AND MODERNITY This is the schedule for a seminar that is about to start for the MAS Postgraduate Course Architecture and Information at ETH Zurich. We meet once a week on Monday afternoons, in order to encode and decipher together some of the »intellectual magnitudes« that are formalized in the key vectors which constitute … Continue reading

# The Body of the Cipher, or the Form of Actualization (an atomist view on computational entities that are generic in their kind).

lecture manuscript, held at the Seminar Materialism without Territory, Art and the Environment, organized by the applied virtuality theory-lab at CAAD ETH Zurich, May 29/30, at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. CONTENTS (1) Slides I – V (intro to the formal context, aim and overview of the following text) (2) Representation versus … Continue reading

# The reciprocal double-articulation of »sustainability« and »environmentality« or The mode of »insisting existence« proper to the circular.

abstract This text inquires how Louis Hjelmslev’s idea of »an algebra immanent to language« can help us to characterize discretized probability densities as a kind of »symbolic alphabeticity«. It is the manuscript for my talk at the 5th metalithikum colloquy in may 2014. CONTENTS (1) Introduction: The Materiality of sense, or: “capable of being … Continue reading

# Zugabe. Die Geburt des Komischen – Oder: Wie das Nichts seine Authentizität durch Einkleidung erlangt

»[…] so frage dich, ob unsere Sprache vollständig ist; – ob sie es war, ehe ihr der chemische Symbolismus und die Infintesimalnotation einverleibt wurden; denn dies sind, sozusagen, Vorstädte unserer Sprache. […] Unsere Sprache kann man ansehen als eine alte Stadt: Ein Gewinkel von Gässchen und Plätzen, alten und neuen Häusern, und Häusern mit Zubauten … Continue reading

# The Sound of no Thing: Language / Instrument = Symbolism / City

»Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.« (Ludwig Wittgenstein, PI 4) »[…] ask yourself whether our language is complete; – whether it was so before the symbolism of chemistry and the notation of the infinitesimal calculus were incorporated in it; for these are, so to speak, suburbs of … Continue reading

# The Soul of the Universe, Fabulous Discretion, and Dis-cyphering the Being of Chance

* this is the manuscript to the paper “Serious stories around the fantastic dream of a mathesis universalis and the inception of Universal Algebra in the late 19th century” delivered at the The Common Denominator Conference, Universität Leipzig, March 21st 2014. ******************************************************************* The title of my paper announces “serious stories” around the inception of universal algebra, so let … Continue reading

# Arché, Arcanum, and Articulation. What is at stake with the notion of the universal ?

CONTENTS 0 précis I Genericness as the symbolical body of reciprocity Enunciating the universal Universal text, generic code, pre-specific data Ada Lovelace, the Enchantress of Numbers Algebraic Paradigms II Lemmata in how to theorise the universal while remaining neutral on matters of believe Lemma 1: Universality in terms of objectivity Lemma 2: Universality in terms … Continue reading

# New book out: EigenArchitecture – Computability as Literacy

Medializing the generic. A path out of the technological and economical excesses in contemporary architecture. A book on research and education in architecture and information technology, conceived of as philosophical interplay between two species similar in kind: neither of them is in the least disciplinal, both affect everything, and both are arts of structuring. The … Continue reading

# “Die Empörung des Modells // models, outraged“ – abstract and slides of my talk at the Zhdk conference “David and Goliath – Models between art and architecture”

my talk will attempt to pick up the beautiful mentioning in the conference flyer of “models as mighty miniatures“, under the tentative title of: “Die Empörung des Modells // models, outraged“. The conference is organised by the Forschungsschwerpunkt Transdisciplinarity and the MAS Spatial Design: Florian Dombois, Stephan Trüby, Reinhard Wendler. website, flyer of the conference, another flyer … Continue reading

# manuscript for the gta ETH conference “universal – specific”: The question of ‘signature’ and the computational notion of ‘genericness’

“…linguistics has just provided the death of the author with a precious analytical tool, by showing that the complete utterance is an empty process that functions perfectly without the need for filling it with its individual interlocutors: linguistically speaking, the author is never anything more than he or she who writes, in the same way … Continue reading

# New book out! Sheaves – when things are whatever can be the case

by Ludger Hovestadt, Vera Bühlmann, published as Vol. II in our Applied Virtuality Book Series (ambra, Vienna/Austria) This is a book that holds the intellectual wealth of our world to be elemental. Today, the classical architectonic elements of form, quantity, units, numbers, principles, foundations are all constituted by information, and by literacy. Artefacts are things … Continue reading

# Printing Architecture: Michael Hansmeyer’s and Benjamin Dillenburger’s Digital Grotesque

My colleagues have realised the first large scale instance of printed architecture, and they call it the Digital Grotesque. A disturbingly beautiful piece about which they say: We aim to create an architecture that defies classification and reductionism. We explore unseen levels of resolution and topological complexity in architecture by developing compositional strategies based on … Continue reading

# Signification | Communication: theory and applications of glossematic coding as method for pre-specific modeling

The next PhD Kolloquium (Winter 2013/14) Computing symbols as literacy and ability starts next Tuesday September 24th. download the flyer here: PHD_KolloquiumWS13_flyer «The entities of linguistic form are of “algebraic” nature and have no natural designation; they can therefore be designated arbitrarily in many different ways.» (Louis Hjelmslev) Since Claude Shannon‘s Mathematical Theory of Communication (1936), the notion … Continue reading

# The question of ‘signature’ and the computational notion of ‘genericness’

Abstract for the Universal – specific. From analysis to intervention? conference organized by ETH Zürich, D-ARCH Department of Architecture, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta), Prodoc Art and Science Keywords: Michel Serres; the algebraic quantity notion; computability; literacy ********************************** “By world-objects I mean tools with a dimension that is commensurable with one of … Continue reading

# Articulating a thing entirely in its own terms Or: what can we understand by the notion of «engendering» ?

CONTENT What is the subject of the generic? Grammatizing symbolical domains An abstract object’s integrity: political subjectivization Beyond urban comfort, in a state of expulsion Generic as an adverb, universality as an ouevre Bodies of thinking live in algebraic universality Characterizations of the subject of the generic Characterization on a grammatical level The man without … Continue reading

# Abstract: Serious stories around the fantastic dream of a mathesis universalis and the inception of Universal Algebra in the late 19th century

Proposal for The Common Denominator Conference, Universität Leipzig, March 2014. Keywords: Critical Reasoning; Symbolic Reasoning; Amphiboly, Reflection and Projection; Computability In 1898 Alfred North Whitehead published A Treatise on Universal Algebra in order to present “a comparative study of the various Systems of Symbolic Reasoning“ that had been allied to ordinary Algebra since mid 19th … Continue reading

# Primary abundance, urban philosophy – information and the form of actuality

This article argues for a radical perspectivity shift in cogitating the urban, which involves an ap-proach to infrastructures not solely in terms of functionality, but predicated on the pre-modern philosophical terms of capacities and capabilities. Characterizing infrastructures as technological means of maintaining a steady supply of existential basics poorly recognizes the peculiar space of potentiality they maintain and provide … Continue reading

# How to substantiate liminitudinality or: Gilles Deleuze and the formula of capitalism – towards an entropic economy

* manuscript of my paper at the Deleuze Conference 2013 in Lisabon, July 13th. With a few additional annotions. During this conference, we have heard many accounts and twists on a disturbing relation which Deleuze’s philosophy of capture, through the terms of what he calls the method of transcendental empiricism [1], appears to maintain with … Continue reading

# Summer 2013 Phd Kolloquium on ‘computing symbols as literacy and ability’

Information – in the light of the strange theory of light and matter (quantum electrodynamics) According to Shannon & Weaver’s mathematical theory of information, information is strictly speaking neither a value (number) nor a magnitude (quantity), but it can be treated symbolically in terms of so-called random variables: values governed by chance. But how can we … Continue reading

# Offen ist abstrakt. Für eine Philosophie der Künstlichkeit, oder: Das Generelle lebt seine eigene Geschlechtlichkeit

Unter der Bezeichnung Open Design beginnt sich gegenwärtig das Label für eine Aufmerksamkeit herauszubilden, welches eine bestimmte Wiedererkennbarkeit, Einschätzbarkeit und Entwicklungstendenz in den aufkommenden Infrastrukturen zu indexieren sucht, in denen heutige „Produkte“ – so allgemein gesprochen wie es die Anwendbarkeit des Begriffs Design heute eben verlangt – ausgedacht, entwickelt, hergestellt, verteilt und erworben werden. Dabei … Continue reading

# Illustration of Categoricity – preliminary notes on Herman Weyl’s categorial take on the circulus vitiosus of analysis

In this new category of posts called “Distinguishing the General from the Generic” I would like to publish posts that explore a twofold line (1) of why, for an understanding of computation as a literacy, keeping the notions of generality and genericity distinct seems of crucial importance, and (2) how we might do so. The approach … Continue reading

# Limitudinality. Data space is quantum reality.

The colonization of categories, or: how can we conceive of that which is being named by polynomials resolved through adjoining complex roots to their coefficients? “Le fondement c’est donc ce qui nous donnera ou ne nous ne donnera pas le droit.” (Gilles Deleuze, Qu’est-ce que fonder?) “I really do not know that anything has ever been … Continue reading

# A psycho-political essay on the imagined life-form of existentialists who begin to populate the symbolic grounds of generic urbanity

In the Quantum City, it is mainly existentialists who gather. Existentialists of the symbolic. People who know they could do virtually anything, if they wanted to, and if they got organized properly. Yet they feel largely undecided. There is a sense of brute potency all around them, which at one and the same time attracts … Continue reading

# One plenum? Many real infinities? Notes on the virtuality of order corresponding to polynomial grammaticality

Polynomials name terms that comprehend ever so much as the term is capable of bounding within a constellation of terms as incorporated by a formulaic system. the determinability of this so much is added separately, by the decision regarding which numerical domain is being put at the basis of the solution space. What is a quantity? It is not … Continue reading

# Characteristica Designata VI: emerging fields in the synthesis and analysis of data

Contemporary technologies operative on the symbols of universal algebra and their code-based characteristics, namely information, have meanwhile spelled out three fields that begin to appear within the emerging logistically based order. I will attempt to characterize these fields (as the beginning of a to-be-continued reformulation and articulation): Quantum Activity as a kind of actuality that abstracts from … Continue reading

# Characteristica Designata V: legacies of philosophical realism

The distinctions I would like to draw involve whether and how learning can be considered a private activity or a personal one, whether and how we can think of it as being achievable by realizing ones potentials or by appropriating and identifying with the role of an intellectual princeps or master, or less Aristotelean and … Continue reading

# Characteristica Designata IV: algebra as an undiscovered continent, and attempts to appropriate it as the symbolic positivity of ‘pure instrumentality’

In his classic textbook The Development of Mathematics (1950), E.T. Bell describes how abstract, symbolical Algebra appeared like an ‘undiscovered continent’ on the horizon. Those who pushed the application of the symbolic method without dedicated political or economical commitment were ‘adventurers’, whom Bell calls ‘illegitimate Kings’ striving for ‘profit’: masses of young mathematicians were recruited, … Continue reading

# Characteristica Designata III: an existential ‘genitality’ proper to symbolic numericalness

A resurfacing of the debate about amphiboly and concepts, and the relation of this theme to number theory, took place in the 19th century and can perhaps best be associated with an address by Arthur Cayley, a British algebraist working on variational calculus and invariance-theory, to the the British Academy for the Advancement of Science … Continue reading

# Characteristica Designata I

This series of posts will focus a an old theme in philosophy, the idea that there can be a characteristics capable of expressing that of which we can say that it is a property of all things. My interest is to consider a shift in how we can relate to such universality which took place … Continue reading

# Peter Sloterdijk’s phantastic philosophy—taking the concept of the differential as a relational measure

Abstract How can we consider the situation of thought leaving the interiority of the thinking subject ? With this theme as an underlying motive throughout many of his writings, Peter Sloterdijk considers the question of hominization in terms of anthropotechnics. The primary importance of technological developments, he holds, concerns thinking. More specifically, we are challenged … Continue reading

# Continuing the Dedekind Legacy – Computing within the open totality of what can be the object of thought

abstract The paper presents an architectonic notion of computation in the philosophical sense, which depart from the genuinely algebraic ideas in number theory that have been articulated a.o. by Richard Dedekind. Such a perspective interprets the idea of singularity (Ray Kurzweil) as a hubris in the Fregean positivist tradition relying on some „third empire of … Continue reading

# The idea of a Characteristica Universalis between Leibniz and Russell, and its relevancy today

Abstract In this post I will investigate the Leibnizian idea of a Characteristica Universalis from a comparative point of view on two diverging paradigms on computation that can be distinguished, as I will argue, to have emerged since the end of the 19th century. While algebraists like Augustus de Morgan, George Boole, Charles Sanders Peirce … Continue reading

# Shape Grammars beyond their analytical application

Die Modelle von Benjamin Dillenburger erinnern unmittelbar an die Hängestrukturen, die wir von Gaudi kennen. Bei einem zweiten Blick jedoch zeigt sich eine Irritation: Verglichen mit der Natur-Ästhetik, die mit Gaudi assoziiert wird, stellen Dillenburger‘s Modelle sich in einer „unnötig“ differenzierten Gestalt dar – unnötig deshalb, weil Gaudis Hängemodelle als Inbegriff für eine Art „natürlicher … Continue reading

# Neo-baroque Articulation of Columns: Modules, Solids, Units

We are familiar with the use of generative grammars, L-systems or other recursive procedural frameworks, similar to the subdivision generally applied here in the work of Michael Hansmeyer, mainly from the analysis of natural process and organic structures. What is extraordinary about these examples here is the fact that Hansmeyer does not seek to reference … Continue reading

# architectonic articulation – the stanzaic structure of genuinely procedural shapes

Most architects working with CAAD today are, at least from the perspective of their daily practice, well familiar with what constitutes the main topos in Deleuzes’ and Guattaris’ text „Geology of Morals (Who Does the Earth Think it is)“ [1], namely the assumed primacy of code to form. However, the dynamics of concretion which is proposed in … Continue reading

# Within the Republic of Things – what architectonic form would the Roman Capitol have if it were transformable today into a philosophical school?

“All algebraic inquiries, sooner or later, end at the Capitol of modern algebra over whose shining portal is inscribed the Theory of Invariants.” This writes Arthur Cayley in a letter, around 1850, to his friend James Joseph Sylvester [1]. It strangely resonates, as a statement, with another very famous saying, namely every road leads to Rome. … Continue reading