Towards a Flat Ontology of Architecture

Project: Issue 3, Spring 2014

Consider the orca.
A biologist might tell you that orcas are, like any creature, the product of DNA mutation coupled with natural selection over time, as if that explained everything about the evocative thing right there in front of our eyes. In that worldview, the orca is simultaneously reduced to an outcome of interactions of tiny atomic units and of enormous ecological systems. In a theoretical and popular world obsessed with networks, flows, and processes, it seems like the orca must also be a network or a flow or a process; to a hammer everything looks like a nail. But this denies the specificity and discreetness of the orca: the depth of its slick black rubbery skin, the alien figuration of its white patches, its toy-like scalelessness. Rather than undermining the orca by attempting to justify or generalize it, why not instead embrace its specificity as an object, with all of its mysterious, irreducible character and inclinations?

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