Lesson 8 Math part:

Hundertwasser and Griffeath


Syllabus


Lesson 1
Math part |
Art part |

Lesson 2
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Art part |

Lesson 3
Math part |
Art part |

Lesson 4
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Art part |

Lesson 5
Math part |
Art part |

Lesson 6
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Lesson 7
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Lesson 8
Math part |
Art part |



Final Project

Student's Work



 

Goals:

Other ways of filling space. Today is an exercise in breadth.

  • 1: Pippa's slide show, art history and context for Hundertwasser.

  • 2. Discussion of Happy Hundertwasser. You could argue that Hundertwasser's work and extensive philosophy was a nervous reaction to the Bauhaus (machines for living) and Jackson Pollack (Tachism) both.

    From "Friedrich Hundertwasser"
    by Herschel. B. Chipp and Brenda Richardson, University Art Museum
    University of California, Berkeley

    Cathedral (II), September 1953

    Cathedral (II)

    "The irresponsible vandalism of current functional architects is well known. In the beginning functional architects simply wanted to tear down the beautiful stucco-facade house of the 1890s Jugenstil, and put up their own empty structure. I cite Le Corbusier, who wanted to destroy Paris completely in order to erect Justice, the constructions of Mies vander Rohe, Neutra, the Bauhaus, Gropius, Johnson, Le Corbusier, etc., should be torn down, for even thirty years ago they were already obsolete and morally unbearable."

    Sun over Tibet, April 1959

    Sun over Tibet

    It was also a reaction against strict imitation, in particular photography. I think some people also just got hives from the cold war. This art was offered along with a very theoretical basis. One extreme Hundertwasser found too geometrical, the other random. Where might a middle ground be found?

    Nostalgia for the Beyond - A Spiraloid, February 1958

    Nostalgia for the Beyond

    "I paint flat horizontally without and easel; this is a vegetal, earthbound discipline. My colored lines are like the sap rings on trees, like sediments of nature, like organic growth."

    The middle ground for Hundertwasser lies in plant growth. But not in an imitative way. Do not imitate nature's accomplishments, rather imitate nature's methodology: growth. This basic idea he called Transautomatism.

    The Big way, June1955

    The Big way

    "The plant is never wrong. He who follows the rules of the plant is never wrong. But the rules of plant life appear to be too simple, too easy to be true. Therein lies the biggest mistake of man."

  • 3.

    Yellow Houses, August 1966

    Yellow Houses

    Hundertwasser refuses rationalim and functional architecture. In the 1958 document "The Moldiness Manifesto", he proclaims an affirmation of a general freedom of building.

    "The apartment house tenant must have the freedom to reach from his window as far as his arms can stretch to scrape off the mortar or deface the gridwork of his building. He must be allowed to paint as far as his arms can reach - everything pink, for instance, so that from the street or from a distance everyone can see that there lives a man who distinguishes himself from his neighbors (those cooped up chickens!). He should be allowed to saw up the walls and to make all kinds of changes and to fill his room with mud to polyethylene - even if the architectural harmony of a so-called masterpiece is destroyed in the process.

    Yet all rental agreement and leases prohibit this!"

    As symbol of the incarnation of vegetal determinism he chooses mildew.

    A Raindrop that Falls into a City, August 1955

    Raindrop

    "We should be glad when rust settles on a razor blade, when a wall grows mouldy, or when moss grows over the geometric angles of a corner, because, together with microbes and mushrooms, life thus moves into a house through this process we more consciously become witnesses of the architectural changes from which we must learn."

    Singing Bird on a Tree in the City, August 1951

    Singing Bird

    Hundertwasser espouses slow proliferation.

    "I am in favor of slow revolutions. First of all you must start with the existing system. The improvements which I make by using my window right will bit by bit make people understand the importance of nature within this system. By making more and more use of their window rights, people will grow progressively conscious of their tree duty; that is, of the respect for horizontal environment, nature. If man walks in nature's midst, then he is nature's guest and must learn to behave as a well-brought-up guest."

    Houses in Rain of Blood -
    A Picture that Makes an Austrian Jew Weep, April 1961

    Houses in Rain

    The swelling of moldiness must make structures ferment and smash straight lines. He foresaw the literal mass production of domestic mildew, which one biographer claims later comes to pass as composting toilet.

    "Beware of the straight line and the drunken line, but especially of the straight one! The straight line leads to the loss of humanity."

    The Asian War, October 1958

    The Asian War

    Along with the "Right to Windows" came our "Duties to the trees".

    from "Paradise Destroyed":

    "An ecologist without a conscience is doomed to failure, and the same is true of an artist who does not bow to the laws of nature.

    The world has not improved. The dangers felt have turned into reality.

    Nevertheless, today, although nothing has been done, my longstanding warnings are at last being taken seriously.

    Yet there are still no lawns on the roofs, no tree-tenants, no plant-driven water purification plants, no humus toilets, no rights to windows, no duties to the trees. The essential reafforestation of the town has not come about.

    What we lack is a peace treaty with nature."

    Homage to Tachism, January 1961

    Homage to Tachism

    In conclusion, Hundertwasser replaced imitation of vegetal form with imitation of vegetal behaviour. This resulted in paintings where people and landscapes and cityscapes decompose into organic, spiral and mazelike forms, as you saw in the slide show.

    The Beard Is the Grass of the Bald-Headed Man, October 1961

    The Beard Is the Grass

    "The spiral existed long before Hundertwasser... It was considered then as a mythological, decorative, or geometric element.

    His spiral is organic, biological and vegetative. The spiral starts to move where amorphous material is transformed into life. It is the symbol of life and death." -Pierre Restany

    But this artist was not the only person learning to think like a plant!

  • 4. Some might be familiar with Conway's game of life as the first cellular automata. It and other similar ideas sprouted during the same time period, late 40's initially, through 70's to present. Conway, Ulam, Von Neumann and many others were inspired by possibilities of robots and other developments. They developed "Artificial life".

    The following reading is from Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition by Ed Regis about Craig Reynolds' "boids", birdoid objects. These were demonstrated at a Sept, 1987, conference on Artificial Life. From chapter entitled "The Artificial Life 4-H Show".

    "Higher up in the artificial-life kingdom were Craig Reynolds's "boids". Reynolds was a computer graphics and animation specialist at Symbolics, Inc., of Los Angeles, where he was working on a coputer-animation film that was supposed to have lots of birds flying around in the bakcground. He wondered if there was any way to create herds of animals schools of fish, flocks of birds, and so on- without tediously calculating the trajectory of each individual member at every step of the way. So he thought to himself, why not create some computer birds, let them loose, and see if they'd flock together all by themselves?

    It was a crazy idea, but on the other hand Reynolds knew that the synchronized flying of real birds was not produced by any master controller or Head Bird giving commands to all the rest. Rather, each member of the flock flew solely on the basis of its own individual perceptions of the world and of all the other birds in the assemblage. So he wrote a program that would produce "bird-oid" objects, and gave them a few general instructions about how to fly: Aoid colliding with other boids; match heading and speed with the others; stay together in a group.

    Reynolds didn't know precisely what to expect when he let his boids fly off in computer space. Maybe they'd arrange themselves in agrid as if they were wired together. Maybe they'd line themselves up single file and fly through the air in a thin stream. What actually happened was that the boids gathered themselves into a flock and flew precisely as flocks of real birds did, expanding and contracting in quite natural ways.

    There were a couple of unexpected bonuses as well, for not only was the flock behaving in a most birdlike manner, so were some of the individual boids themselves. At one point, a solitary boid left the pack and flew some distance away. It curved around in a loop and then-as if it realized its error-raced back to rejoing the group. There was nothing in the program that explicitly called for this, and for all intents and purposes the boid seemed to be acting on its own initiative.

    And then another of the boids, contrary to its program, did smack into an obstacle. What happened at this juncture was a little unnerving: the boid bounced back from the obstacle, fluttered for a moment as if it were stunned, and then zoomed off to catch up with the flock. Reynolds never programmed that behaviour into his boids either, but there it was."

  • 5. David Griffeath's cellular automata.

    Do not imitate nature's accomplishments, but rather her methods.

    "The rules of plant life appear to be too simple, too easy to be true."

    Cellular automata demonstrate laws of growth and change, put into action and pictorial form. Each pixel represents an organism which changes nature, as represented by its coloring, depending only on a small group of immediate neighbors and some rule represented arithmetically. The starting place is a randomly colored screen of pixels. Out of randomness, will a structure develop? What sort of structure might it be?

    "The spiral starts to move where amorphous material is transformed into life."

    Spiral sequence:

    Griffeath Soup l0

    Griffeath Soup l1

    Griffeath Soup l7

    Note that these are "organic" spirals, as opposed to geometrically derived spirals.

    Under some conditions, the spirals degenerate. Spaghetti as degenerate spirals:

    Griffeath Soup l4

    Griffeath Soup l5

    Griffeath Soup 62

    This has slime mold photos lifted from movies.

    And what about actual Mold?

    This page has a different picture than Griff's.

    Some more images from Griffeath's work:

    sink or shelf for surfing purposes

    Which one looks like Hundertwasser? What do you think of these as art? Griff's color choice seems to have improved since Pippa critiqued his work a year ago. Coincidence?

  • 6. Decomposing image:

    newca5 and newca6

    Griff's dream! griff decomposing in mold.

    What is going on here? How does it relate to art? What is the difference between making a plant and becoming a plant?

  • 7. Hundertwasser and architecture. 1972, Your Right to Windows, Your Duty to the Trees, about human relationship to nature and landscape.

    Vertical vs horizontal planes mirror the apposition of the natural vs the manmade world.

    "Modern architecture scandalously robs us of our humanity by its disgraceful dictates. WE are legally restrained from making any change or additions to facades, designs, or interiors, either in color, structure or masonry. Even tenant-owned buildings are subject to censorship (by regulations of the Board of Works and Lease statutes). Such regulations are characteristic of prisons, cages, and tables - all ready-made, a priori structures, for which construction is completely halted prior to prisoner or animal habitation, assuring total alienation between inhabitant and structure."

    One of his art pieces involved altering the facades and windows of three houses in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 1972.

    "But we have no right to change the windows on our houses" said the inhabitants, "No one has the right to do this, and if you have done it, it's because you're and artist and an artist has all the rights."

    And he draws a direct implication: people deprived of their right to art tend to take it out on the natural world.

    "By making more and more use of their window rights, people will grow progressively conscious of their tree duty..."

    "The architect as we know him today, if he is at all capable of doing so must be allowed to construct only monumental architecture; habitable architecture is not within his range and must be forbidden him. Society does not allow a notorious poisoner or an anarchist to pursue his desires freely, and the same restraints should be imposed upon architects."

    This is about the right of an organism to interact with immediate surroundings. Hundertwasser is imagining each individual interacting with his immediate surroundings creatively, leading to a larger order. He is having a vision of people behaving like Griffeath's cellular automata, leading naturally to an ordered state! It is also a vision of social utopia based on people's need to do art.

  • 8. PAIRS OF PICTURES

    " I have steered people onto the road of vegetal destiny. This was the sense of the mildew in the 1958 Seckau manifesto, a sense that is clear to all now that ecology has come into vogue, but which was incomprehensible to the public then ..."

    PAIRS OF PICTURES about hippies:

    "What splendid opportunity lost! They called themselves the flower people. That was the mistake: you can't skip the stages of biological destiny. The flower is not the plant. The hippies wanted to harvest fruit that had not been sown. The flower is only a very fleeting phase in the life of a plant, as is, for that matter, the object in relation to social reality."

    PAIRS OF PICTURES "Everything is infinitely simple and so infinitely beautiful."

  • 9. What is the difference between the extroverted "making of a plant" and the introverted "becoming a plant"?

ANSWER

From "Friedrich Hundertwasser" by Herschel. B. Chipp and Brenda Richardson
University Art Museum
University of California, Berkeley

Bleeding Houses,1952

Bleeding Houses

The City, 1953

The City


MOULDINESS MANIFESTO:

AGAINST RATIONALISM IN ARCHITECTURE

This manifesto, originally titled Verchimelungsmaifest gegen den Rationalismus in der Architektur, was prepared in conjunction with an extensive demonstration against modern functional architecture. Hundertwaser first presented the manifesto to the public in a recitation at the Abbey of Seckau (Austria) o July 4 1958. This was followed by recitations a the Galerie Van de Loo, Munich, on July 11, and at the galerie Parnass, Wuppertal (German) on July 26. The manifesto has been published in German, Danish, Finnish, French and Italian. This is the first translation in English (from the original German transcript), and the first publication of the manifesto in English. Mouldiness Manifesto is a distillation of Hundertwasser's ideas on the subject of modern architecture and reveals his irritation with the persistent trend toward what he considers the disastrous sterility of functionalism as related to architecture.

Painting and sculpture are now free. Inasmuch as anyone may produce any sort of structure (creation) and subsequently display it. In architecture, however, this fundamental freedom to construct does not exist. Our present, planned architecture cannot be considered art. Architecture in the Western world has succumbed to the same censorship as has painting in the Soviet Union. Our modern buildings are detached and pitiable compromise by men of bad conscience who work with straight-edged rulers.

No restraint should be imposed upon the individual's desire to construct. Each person should be allowed to build ( and ought to build), and would thus be truly responsible for the four walls within which he lives. There is a certain risk that such a fantastic sort of amateur construction might collapse, but we should not be afraid of the human sacrifice that this new style of construction might engender. It is the only way to stop the process in which human beings move into their quarters like chickens into their coops. The big revolution in architecture will come only with the acceptance of the concept of absolute uninhabitability, just as the revolution is still in store for us, since the course of architecture runs thirty years behind the other arts.

If an inhabitant-built construction is unsound, its collapse will usually be predictable and the tenants can escape. After that, however, each tenant will be more critical and more creative regarding his own housing, and with his own hands and from his own experience the tenant will make walls and pilings stronger until they o longer seem too fragile.

The tangible and material uninhabitability of slums is preferable to the moral uninhabitability of modern functional architecture. In the so called slums only the human body can be oppressed, but in our modern architecture (allegedly "constructed for the human being") man's soul is oppressed. Therefore, the principle behind functional architecture should be rejected. We should instead adopt as the premise for improvement the slum principle, that is, wildly, luxuriantly growing architecture.

With time and experience functional architecture has proved erroneous, just as has painting with a ruler. We are now finally approaching in giant steps an architecture that will be impractical, non-utilitarian and finally, totally uninhabitable.

We had to reject completely total tachistic automatism before we finally came to see the wonders of transautomatism. Similarly only after denigration of the concept of total uninhabitability and of the creative mould process will we be able to see the wonders of a new, true, and free architecture. However, since we halve not yet reached even the first stage of total uninhabitability (because, unfortunately, we are not yet in a state of transautomatism) we must strive to reach that state - i.e., accepting as creative the process of mouldiness in architecture - as quickly as possible.

The apartment house tenant must have the freedom to reach from his window as far as his arms can stretch to scrape off the mortar or deface the gridwork of his building. He must be allowed to paint as far as his arms can reach - everything pink, for instance, so that from the street or from a distance everyone can see that there lives a man who distinguishes himself from his neighbors (those cooped up chickens!). He should be allowed to saw up the walls and to make all kinds of changes and to fill his room with mud to polyethylene - even if the architectural harmony of a so-called masterpiece is destroyed in the process.

Yet all rental agreement and leases prohibit this!

The time has come for the people to rebel against their confinement in cubical constructions (like chickens or rabbits in cages, a confinement which is basically alien to human nature. Such a cage or utility construction is a building alien to the nature of all three human types who deal with it:

1. The architect and/or his design have no relationship to the finished product, the building. Even the greatest architectural genius cannot either select or predict his tenants. The so called human element in architecture is a criminal fraud, especially when measurements and determination are based on the statistically-average man of the Gallup poll.

2. The brick-layer has no spiritual relationship to the building. If for example, he wants to vary (if only slightly) the construction of a wall according to his own personal concepts (if he has any), he loses his job. Even more, of course, the brick layer is usually completely indifferent to questions of innovation since he will not be living in the structure anyway.

3. The tenant has no relationship to the structure, since he has not built it, but only moved into it. His human needs (his human space) are in all probability completely different from those represented by the structure. And this unfortunate situation will prevail even if the architect and the mason concentrate on building exactly according to the specifications of the future tenant.

We will be able to speak of architecture only when architect, mason, and tenant are a unity, which in practical terms means having one person assume all three functions. Nothing else is architecture, but only a criminal act become form.

Architect/mason/tenant is a trinity just like the Holy Trinity. There is a great similarity, almost quasi-identity, of these two trinities. If this unity, architect/mason/tenant, does not exist, there can be no architecture, since the current manufactured constructions cannot possibly be construed as architecture. Man has to regain his critical creative function, without which he ceases to exit as a human being!

Also criminal is the use of the ruler in architecture, which a can be easily proved, has become an instrument of decay for the architectural trinity. Perpetuating the straight line ought to be forbidden, if only on a moral basis The rule is the symbol of new illiteracy. The ruler is the symptom of the new decay.

Today we live in a chaos of straight lines. If you do not believe this, take the trouble to count the straight lines which surround you. And then you will understand, for it is a never-ending task.

On one razor blade I have counted 546 straight lies. By imagining a linear connection to another identical razor blade, one sees 1,092 straight lines, and, adding the whole package, there are approximately 3,000 straight lines form the same blade.

Not long ago possession of the straight line was a privilege of royalty, wealth, and learning. Today every idiot carries millions of straight lines in his pants pockets.

This imprisoning and entangling jungle of straight lines has to be cleared. Until now man has always cleared away his jungles and freed himself. But to clear a jungle one must first become aware that one is in a jungle. For jungles take from us stealthily, without the knowledge of the population. This time it is the jungle of the straight line.

We should reject any modern architecture in which the straight line or the circle have been employed, if only for a moment or if only in a conceptual way. Because of the straight line the products of design, drawing board, and modeling have become sickeningly sterile and truly senseless. The straight line is godless and immoral. The straight line is not a creative line, but simply a reproductive lie. In it there live not God and human spirit, but a mass created, brainless ant addicted to comfort.

Consequently, straight line structures (whether the line is curving, bending, hanging , or perforating) will not endure. The straight line represents a panic to stay in fashion. The straight line manifests the architects anxiety an(l his desire to evolve into tachism, that is, uninhabitability.

We should be glad when rust settles on a razor blade, when a wall grows mouldy, or when moss grows over the geometric angles of a corner, because, together with microbes and mushrooms, life thus moves into a house through this process we more consciously become witnesses of the architectural changes from which we must learn.

The irresponsible vandalism of current functional architects is well known. In the beginning functional architects simply wanted to tear down the beautiful stucco-facade house of the 1890s Jugenstil, and put up their own empty structure. I cite Le Corbusier, who wanted to destroy Paris completely in order to erect Justice, the constructions of Mies vander Rohe, Neutra, the Bauhaus, Gropius, Johnson, Le Corbusier, etc., should be torn down, for even thirty years ago they were already obsolete and morally unbearable.

However, transautomatism and those who think even beyond uninhabitable architecture are more humane in their treatment of predecessors: they want no more destruction. In order to rescue functional architecture from its moral ruin - in order to revive it - a decomposing solution should be poured over all those buildings, allowing the mould to settle.

The time has come for industry to recognize it basic mission: to pursue creative mouldiness! It is now task of industry to evoke in their technicians, engineers and directors a moral feeling of responsibility for mouldiness and critical decay should be the very basis of the principles of education.

The technicians and scholars capable of living in mould and producing mould creatively will be tomorrows aristocracy. And only after the acceptance of creative mouldiness - from which we have a great deal to learn - will a new and wonderful architecture arise.

Addendum: 1959

Todays architecture is criminally sterile. Unfortunately, the building process ceases at the very moment when man takes up residence in his domicile; ideally the building process should begin only when man moves in.

Modern architecture scandalously robs US of our humanity by its disgraceful dictates. WE are legally restrained from making any change or additions to facades, designs, or interiors, either in color, structure or masonry. Even tenant-owned buildings are subject to censorship (by regulations of the Board of Works and Lease statutes). Such regulations are characteristic of prisons, cages, and tables - all ready-made, a priori structures, for which construction is completely halted prior to prisoner or animal habitation, assuring total alienation between inhabitant and structure. This situation is not altered by the fact that the inhabitant is free to leave his domicile and move around through his city or village.

True architecture derives only form natural construction, which is organic development of a shell around a group of people. Such a construction is like the growth of child to man.

The absolute finite (drawing of a line beneath...) ill building construction is tolerable, if at all, only in monuments and uninhabited architecture. If a structure is intended to house people, the discontinuation of construction prior to habitation must be seen as an unnatural sterilization of the growing process and as such should be punished as criminal transgression.

The architect as we know him today, if he is at all capable of doing so must be allowed to construct only monumental architecture; habitable architecture is not within his range and must be forbidden him. Society does not allow a notorious poisoner or an anarchist to pursue his desires freely, and the same restraints should be imposed upon architects.

Architectural pre-planning of homes is currently highly praised, but is actually little more than planned mass murder by pre-mediated sterilization.

To walk through a European town (especially through a recently constructed sector) is to prove this shocking accusation.

There is, however, some exemplary, healthy contemporary architecture Unfortunately, shamefully little:

Gaudi in barcelona certain Jugenstil constructions the Watts Towers by Simon Rodia, near Los Angeles The slum sections of all urban centers (the so-called urban blemish) Le Palais du Facteur Cheval in the Departement de la Drome, France Peasant and/or primitive homes, whenever still hand-made

Addendum: 1964

The architects only function should be that of technical advisor, i.e., answering certain questions regarding materials, stability, etc. The architect should be subordinate to the inhabitant, (tenant, owner, lodger) or at least to the inhabiatants wishes. All tenants must create their own "outer skis - they must be free to determine that shell of their domicile which faces the street.

Friedrich Hundertwasser Translated and edited by Renate Littek and Brenda Richardson

The Paradise Destroyed by the Straight Line

An ecologist without a conscience is doomed to failure, and the same is true of an srtist who does not bow to the laws of nature.

The world has not improved. The dangers felt have turned into reality.

Nevertheless, today, although nothing has been done, my longstanding warnings are at last being taken seriously.

Yet there are still no lawns on the roofs, no tree-tenants, no plant-driven water purification plants, no humus toilets, no rights to windows, no duties to the trees. The essential reforestation of the town has not come about.

What we lack is a peace treaty with nature.

We must restore to nature the territories we have unlawfully taken from it. Everything horizontal under the sky belongs to nature. Everything touched by the rays of the sun, everywhere where the rain falls is natures sacred and inviolable property. We men are merely natures guests.

In 1952 I spoke of the civilization of make believe, the one we must shake off, myself, the first of all! I spoke of columns of gray men on the march toward sterility and self destruction.

The same year I used the term transautomation to show the way beyond the rationalism of technocrats toward a new creation in harmony with the laws of nature.

In 1953 I realized that the straight line leads to the downfall of mankind.

But the straight line is something cowardly drawn with a rule, without thought or feeling; it is a line which does not exist in nature.

And that the line is the rotten foundation of our doomed civilization.

Even if there are certain places where it is recognized that this line is rapidly leading to perdition, its course continues to be plotted.

The straight line is the only sterile line, the only line which does not suit man as the image of God.

The straight line is the forbidden fruit.

The straight line is the curse of our civilization.

Any design undertaken with the straight line will be stillborn. Today we are witnessing the triumph of rationalist knowhow and yet, at the same time, we find orselves confronted with emptiness. An aesthetic void, desert of tmiformity, criminal sterility, loss of creative power.

Even creativity is prefabricated.

We have become impotent. We are no longer able to create. That is our real illiteracy.

-Hundertwasser



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© Copyright 1996, Pippa Drew and Dorothy Wallace, Dartmouth College