Meso-Chaosmos: Situating Architectural Control

This paper describes architecture as a form of cosmotechnics (Hui) which currently manifests a Western-Christian worldview globally. This worldview is entangled with the assumption of a God-given right to control and subordinate nonhuman nature (anthropocentrism). The text looks at the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi – which itself is a cosmotechnical architectural-aesthetic concept embedded in a Zen Buddhist cosmology – and elaborates on its understanding of human-nonhuman control as an alternative example. Afterwards it zooms in on the notion of control and speculates where it is located on the spectrum between microcosm and macrocosm and to what degree it can be active or passive. The conceptual spectrum of microcosm-macrocosm is used to locate control. The qualitative spectrum of chaos-cosmos is used to define its magnitude and directionality. The paper argues for an architectural cosmotechnological understanding of control which is located partially in the physical and partially in the metaphysical world and which is partially active and partially passive – between chaos and cosmos. This conceptual intersection of both spectrums is defined as a point of continuous active negotiation between the human and the nonhuman world. Awareness of this intersectional control point affords a thinking of post-Christian, postcolonial and posthuman architectural cosmotechnics.

By Sebastian Gatz
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