Arts of Sciences Laboratory LAPIS
Arthur Lepizig, Chalk games, Prospect Place, Brooklyn, 1950
The laboratory investigates the processes of representing scientific thought by way of figurative tools offered by the artistic disciplines. In the fields of architecture and engineering, the expressive arts are integral to the development and execution of each project, from the moment when ideas and concepts take shape to when forms eventually find a framework stable enough to outlast the transitory condition of their construction.
The ability to transform ideas into images is an extraordinary expressive aptitude of human intelligence that has allowed us to conserve and transmit an astonishing heritage of technical and intellectual knowledge.
In the field of the expressive arts, the idea of representation includes both the content and the act of representation itself. It is, then, the conscious perception of an object via the tangible experience of its material qualities, but it is also the intuition of its essence through emotional experience, through thought, passion, imagination and creativity. This process allows ideas, feelings, imaginative constructs, opinions and concepts to be defined and to take on distinct identities. It is, in other words, the process through which they ‘manifest’ themselves. Depiction is the definition, through a finished form, of the idea being represented, whether this is a concrete object or an image born of the imagination. It is the physical explication of a mental image through a communicable form. It is the ‘representation in form’ of an idea or a concept through artistic media. It is the passage of an idea from representation to defined form. It is perhaps simpler to say that representation sketches out the character of an intuition or an idea, while depiction outlines it in a concrete, specific way. While representation is related to the perceptual and conceptual spheres, depiction is devoted to the concrete and the tangible. Architecture is a complex, heterogeneous discipline that encompasses the expressive, technical and liberal arts. Within it, assimilated and inseparable, are intellectual, scientific and poetic components. For this reason, the representation and depiction of an architectural idea require an approach that is simultaneously theoretical, technical and poetic.
“Die Welt ist meine Vorstellung.”
(Arthur Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, Erstes Buch, § 1., Bibliographischen Institut F.A. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1819)
The laboratory will have the specific mission of operating in a field that straddles art and science. It will provide an emotional approach to disciplines that are founded on the search for certainties and objective reasoning. Indeed, the founding principle of representation is the condition of absolute subjectivity in which the object represented is established in relation to whoever carries out the act of representation. It is easy to observe, in the field of architecture, how differing kinds of architecture can be the expression of one single idea, or how highly dissimilar images can represent one piece of architecture. The issue is that in architecture, as in the arts, reality is fundamentally linked to the point of view of the person observing it. The theory that ‘the world is my representation’ defines the difference between the thing itself and how that thing appears to us. For us, reality is that which we perceive it to be. Appearance is relative reality, which corresponds with our truth. For artists, truth is that which they want to depict; for scientists, truth is that which they manage to demonstrate; for architects, truth is probably somewhere in between, only the appearance of truth.