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graduate seminar / WAAC / fall 2013

Discussions, projects, and interventions took place in the fall of 2013 at WAAC architecture graduate program, Alexandria, Virginia, centering on the structure, background, and critical potential of the rhetorical/architectural figure of metalepsis.

THE SEMINAR IDEA continues in the spring, 2014, with adjuncts, affiliates, and outliers in State College, Pennsyvlania and elsewhere. The newslitter, a generally once-a-week provocation for discussions and projects, is still being published. See the spring addition to the old fall index.

Contact: Don Kunze, for information about participation and contribution to the seminar on metalepsis

button latest projects ARCHITECTURE AND METALEPSIS

Critical questions are those that must be re-cast continually within new epistemologies and new vocabularies. What remains the same is the gap, by which the subject learns how to tarry with the negative that is subjectivity’s essential nature. A seminar scheduled for the fall of 2013 will feature the rhetorical figure of metalepsis as a motive for revising the order of the Vitruvian "virtues" of utilitas, firmitas, and venustas. Key texts from Todd McGowan, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Žižek, Harold Bloom, Henry Johnstone, Eric Santner, and others will promote the idea that theory should move away from interpretation and toward active experiment. The Atlas of the Obverse will be used as a resource, but recent key papers, such as "Reversed Predication, a Review," "The Goldfish Variations" and "Metalepsis of the Site of Exception" will involve key terms: reversed predication, cross inscription, diegesis/mimesis, and the inside frame. The seminar will be directed from an independent web site developed in late summer and revised through seminar members' projects. Lectures and discussions will alternate with periods of experiment and reflection. Selected lectures will run simultaneously with silenced presentations of Hitchcock films running in the background.

From "Metalepsis of the Site of Exception": The figure of metalepsis brings a fresh perspective to the operation of dissensus within physical settings, where the architecture of “sites of exception” at the same time establishes retroactively what about architecture is architecture — i.e. its root relationship to venustas. Metalepsis deploys a logic by which “diegetic” framing elements are materialized as (phallic/phenomenal/material) elements whose anamorphic qualities create an uncanny disturbance within the “mimesis” of framed representation. The framing elements themselves constitute a case of reversed predication, a container-contained or hierarchical relationship that has “flipped.” This primary instability at the phenomenal level is nonetheless a stable topology within subjectivity as a whole; and the process of obversion is, as Lacan’s idea of extimacy demonstrates, fundamental to the subject’s realization of subjectivity as fundamentally negative. Despite the complexity of conditions and perplexities that result from translating topological conditions into “projective” experience, a calculus that represents … metalepsis shows how historically well established cultural practices (the uncanny, detached virtuality, storytelling strategies, ideological formations, etc.) already–always involve metalepsis as an operational logic. Architecture and landscape theory, in moving from interpretive to active modes, may use such a calculus to recast theory as primarily experimental, pro-active, and provocative.

Seminar members may use the LOCUS or BOUNDARY LANGUAGE sites as resources.

metalepsis of the site of exception an introduction to the idea of metalepsis as a calculus for architectur (to be published in Architecture Against the Post-Political: Essays in Re-Claiming the Critical Project, ed. Nadir Lahiji and Elie Haddad)

readings a bibliography of essential background sources for metalepsis … not exhaustive but exhausting if you try to read them all. Sample, skip around, pick what you like.

films: because film experience is more or less standardized from performance to performance, it is easier to spot how metalepsis works in this medium. See the list for some good examples.

events: check this for the schedule of meetings, lectures, films, field trips, and other activities of the metalepsis seminar.

a newslitter accompanies each session, headlining the main topics for discussion and citing some useful sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 ; the spring semester begins a series of VIRTUAL SESSIONS, each with its own newslitter: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

workshops: special projects during the semester will be listed here.

latest writing: the seminar generates position papers, PDFs, on-line resources, and links to external resources; check here for whazzup.

broader spectrum ideas: from the locus site, lists of writings on lacan, vico, the horizontal atlas, discourse theory, film criticism, the architecture studio for end times … and more!

background resources: a working list of helpful on-line resources; essentials are in bold-face.

interest in landscape and place this seminar is pitched to embrace architecture in all its senses, including the landscape.

contact: how to get in touch with members of the seminar; a program of players and projects.