getting rid of…

What’s written today about digital modeling software, and the process of using it, for design and construction of buildings and such things, seems always, as it has for 20 years now, to be about getting rid of things.

If digital modeling of a building is to live up to the promises made, the promises made on behalf of digital modeling tools (or the process of using them with others as the qualification always goes) — and here one has to ask, why are promises made for that? Early on one can point to interest, curiosity, the imagination set in motion, possibility, specialization (I remember those reasons myself), but why now? Twenty years later, why hold onto those promises?

Some still do. Some still hold onto the fascination. Good. Fans are needed. Energy is needed to keep things in motion, and to get in deep enough to make tools (and process) work. These guys are inspiring. They are tool/process experts, do-ers, and they’re aware of the meaning of what they’re doing and why they do it, or at least aware of an awareness of those questions. They’re artists. Their work speaks for itself. Nevertheless, they also speak, and they’re very much worth listening to. Anyone using digital tools for any purpose will recognize the journey they’re talking about in their podcast, “Wrong F_ing Question”.

The AEC space has been bogged down with the wrong f_ing questions about software for too long. Rigidity has set in.

Is digital modeling living up to the promise (erroneously) made 20 years ago (and repeated ad nauseam today) that its success is to be measured by modeling’s success in getting rid of drawings? Or that the persistence of drawing, and those who persist in drawing drawings and using drawings, that they are the reason for the failure of digital modeling to reach (this definition of) success? This zero-sum game where modeling wins where drawing loses, and drawing wins where modeling loses?

I intended to keep calm in this post but I can’t. The stupidity of the entire discourse, to the extent that it overwhelms even the possibility of useful discussion, bugs me. The stupidity pervades, from beginning to end. It undermines the question(s), and the premise (its own premise), while predetermining all of the answers, all of which are self-defeating and counterproductive (i.e., idiotic

The relation of drawing and modeling is not a relation of zero sum win-lose. It is rather a relation that is far more interesting and useful, just to say the least. More accurately, the relation connecting these two things, drawing and modeling, is a relation that resides at, or very near, the very core of thought, cognition, understanding, expression, communication. I describe why in my (free) book, here:

To hack at that relation by calling the yin the winner at the expense of the yang the loser, is counterproductive in the extreme. It is to hack at the root trunk of cognition itself. Really nothing could be more counterproductive.

Others today say that the success of digital modeling is a function of its efficacy in getting rid of certain kinds of construction work, as this is what’s essential, they say, for raising efficiency and productivity.

I suggest:

thinking: a dynamic, an act of looking at the wider whole, and, looking with narrower focus close-up, and, in order to make any sense of either of these, an interplay between them, a reflective consideration of the relation between wide and narrow, whole and part, environment and what’s seen in focus.

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