CentreCATH Home Page CongressCATH 2005 The Ethics and Politics of Virtuality and Indexicality
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Author: Henriette Bier, Delft University of Technology.

Panel: Architecture III - Digital Indexing, Saturday 2 July, 14.00 - 16.00.


Within the theoretical framework of a Foucauldian distinction between ‘trace’ and ‘diagram’ this paper focuses on the concept of what we will refer to as ‘hyper-indexicality’. This form of idexicality proposes a trans-referential system existing in more than three dimensions [hyperspace] as an instrument to link and arrange nonsequentially not only references [on the web] but also parameters in design.

Summarily speaking, hyper-indexing involves the generation of meta-data by establishing primary connections and relations, while storing secondary, for the query redundant information. Similar to meta-data, the parametric model in architecture represents the setup of a meta-design allowing for a reconfigurable design. It establishes relations between parameters, which are measurements or values on which other measurements and values depend on. The parametric model establishes, therefore, inter-dependencies. Each time a parameter changes, the model regenerates to reflect the new value.

On the hyper-indexical level, these inter-dependencies can be seen as specialized connections established in real-time. Furthermore, considering these connections virtual, the distinction between indexicality and virtuality becomes blurred. The hyper-index seems to satisfy the Deleuzian interpretation of virtuality: its actualization into physical realization is a link of virtualites, implying that the unfolding of multiple actualizations might emerge from the link or intersection of other virtualities.

Note: The paper presents ‘actualizations’ of the [hyper]index based on studio and research oriented work developed within the departments of Public Building and Design Methods at TU Delft.

Participant Profile

Henriette Bier is a Research Associate at the Faculty of Architecture TU Delft. Her work explores the impact of digital technologies on architecture. She received a Diplom Engineer degree from TU Karlsruhe. After graduating she worked on projects with Morphosis in the US and taught at universities in Austria and Germany. She is currently pursuing a PhD on digital technologies in architecture with focus on [Intelligent] Computer Based Systems.

Arts and Humanities Research Board School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies University of Leeds