Impedance

I like to draw against noise. Recycled paper, security envelopes, other people’s drawings, walls: each provides a little texture of hazard that I can find my feet on, so to speak. It’s the difference between a grassy field and a THX 1138 frictionless plane.

Why would you draw on bright yellow trace paper? Its lack of good taste and finish makes what is drawn on it less precious, sure. But unless you wad it up first, it doesn’t give you any little accidents to work off of. The weak contexts of vintage starchitecture do this in another way – ley lines pulled from street networks or nearby skyscrapers give a wattle for the daub, the necessary tissue to hang your branded forms off of.

Consider the typical material production of design. How do students make? With a spectrum that ranges from liquid to paste to powder. With ink shot onto paper, with various coarse papers compounded from pulp, and increasingly, with powders blown into form. These new designers have the impedance of their own experience, certainly – which solutions they move toward and away from, what they value, what they know. They have the impedance of their tools: the angles and proportions they privilege. But they lack the impedance of materials. So they steer straight into the hylomorphic, first in their ideation and then in their production. This is why I would like them to try building perfect things in scrap, in secondhand; where your improvisations build upon one another into an overall accuracy.

(November 2017)