Architecture in the Age of Printing: Orality, Writing, by Mario Carpo

By Mario Carpo

The self-discipline of structure depends upon the transmission in area and time of gathered stories, thoughts, ideas, and versions. From the discovery of the alphabet to the improvement of ASCII code for digital verbal exchange, the method of recording and transmitting this physique of data has mirrored the dominant info applied sciences of every interval. during this publication Mario Carpo discusses the communications media utilized by Western architects, from classical antiquity to trendy classicism, exhibiting how every one medium concerning particular types of architectural pondering. Carpo highlights the importance of the discovery of movable sort and routinely reproduced pictures. He argues that Renaissance architectural concept, rather the approach of the 5 architectural orders, used to be consciously built in line with the codecs and capability of the recent published media. Carpo contrasts structure within the age of printing with what preceded it: Vitruvian concept and the manuscript layout, oral transmission within the heart a long time, and the fifteenth-century transition from script to print. He additionally means that the elemental ideas of "typographic" structure thrived within the Western international so long as print remained our major info know-how. The shift from published to electronic representations, he issues out, will back modify the process structure.

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Extra resources for Architecture in the Age of Printing: Orality, Writing, Typography, and Printed Images in the History of Architectural Theory

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The results were sometimes unexpected. Two or three generations later, with the universalizing of the mechanical reproduction of images, architectural theorists could finally undertake a systematic visual documentation of the great works of ancient architecture. After centuries of the primacy of the word, architectural discourse could at last put its trust in images, be composed in images, and make use of images that faithfully reproduced and transmitted the appearance of original archetypes. Unlike their ancient and medieval predecessors, Renaissance theorists had the means of simultaneously broadcasting both text and illustrations.

It is on this synoptic image that we concentrate all of our perceptual, critical, and creative interest. This progressive shift in the focus of the imitative act began to manifest itself as early as the thirteenth century but finally flourished only in the artistic culture of the Renaissance. Krautheimer never precisely defines the dividing line,36 but in accordance with his thesis it is tempting to associate it with the advent of a sort of “visual realism” of the first moderns. The process of imitation involves first of all making a selection among all of the possible traits of the model; once separated from the original, these components can be manipulated and incorporated in different ways into their new creative context.

The theoretically unlimited availability of identical images was an almost absolute novelty in Europe, but it does not seem to have been embraced with immediate enthusiasm by the humanists. Humanists had other concerns; in fact, among other things, they were in the process of fashioning a new rhetoric, inspired by direct imitation of the classical authors. Traditional rhetoric, both classical and medieval, was a coherent system, economical in its rules, aiming at the memorization of various methods and guidelines of literary composition.

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