I agree that the Greek term "poiesis" is very generous and includes all that is generative, as you mention. It isn't the same as all doing, however. Aristotle makes the distinction explicitly in his Nicomachean Ethics. I had just completed a separate message on the subject when this Yasmin_discussions post arrived, so I have it all ready to send. The message was to my Transvergence group. Here it is:
(note: the translation uses the word "acting," but "doing" is also appropriate. The Greek words are "πρακτόν" and "πρᾶξις", from which our "praxis" is derived.)
> Transvergence always begins with: "Make!" -- typically followed by "if you know what you are doing: Make! If you don't know what you are doing: Make!"
> And, "liquid architectures" was largely about replacing all that was constant with variables and using computation to establish tightly interconnected relations.
> Here's Artistotle's view of the matter:
> Artistotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 6, Section 4.
>> In the variable are included both things made and things done; making and acting are different (for their nature we treat even the discussions outside our school as reliable); so that the reasoned state of capacity to act is different from the reasoned state of capacity to make. Hence too they are not included one in the other; for neither is acting making nor is making acting. Now since architecture is an art and is essentially a reasoned state of capacity to make, and there is neither any art that is not such a state nor any such state that is not an art, art is identical with a state of capacity to make, involving a true course of reasoning. All art is concerned with coming into being, i.e. with contriving and considering how something may come into being which is capable of either being or not being, and whose origin is in the maker and not in the thing made; for art is concerned neither with things that are, or come into being, by necessity, nor with things that do so in accordance with nature (since these have their origin in themselves). Making and acting being different, art must be a matter of making, not of acting. And in a sense chance and art are concerned with the same objects; as Agathon says, 'art loves chance and chance loves art'. Art, then, as has been said is a state concerned with making, involving a true course of reasoning, and lack of art on the contrary is a state concerned with making, involving a false course of reasoning; both are concerned with the variable.
> Again, the translation leaves something to be desired. I know you can't read it, but here's the original ancient Greek, for reference, in case we want to discuss any of this in more detail:
>> [1140a] (1) τοῦ δ' ἐνδεχομένου ἄλλως ἔχειν ἔστι τι καὶ ποιητὸν καὶ πρακτόν· ἕτερον δ' ἐστὶ ποίησις καὶ πρᾶξις (πιστεύομεν δὲ περὶ αὐτῶν καὶ τοῖς ἐξωτερικοῖς λόγοις)· ὥστε καὶ ἡ μετὰ λόγου ἕξις πρακτικὴ ἕτερόν ἐστι τῆς μετὰ λόγου ποιητικῆς (5) ἕξεως. διὸ οὐδὲ περιέχεται ὑπ' ἀλλήλων· οὔτε γὰρ ἡ πρᾶξις ποίησις οὔτε ἡ ποίησις πρᾶξίς ἐστιν. ἐπεὶ δ' ἡ οἰκοδομικὴ τέχνη τίς ἐστι καὶ ὅπερ ἕξις τις μετὰ λόγου ποιητική, καὶ οὐδεμία οὔτε τέχνη ἐστὶν ἥτις οὐ μετὰ λόγου ποιητικὴ ἕξις ἐστίν, οὔτε τοιαύτη ἣ οὐ τέχνη, ταὐτὸν (10) ἂν εἴη τέχνη καὶ ἕξις μετὰ λόγου ἀληθοῦς ποιητική. ἔστι δὲ τέχνη πᾶσα περὶ γένεσιν καὶ τὸ τεχνάζειν καὶ θεωρεῖν ὅπως ἂν γένηταί τι τῶν ἐνδεχομένων καὶ εἶναι καὶ μὴ εἶναι, καὶ ὧν ἡ ἀρχὴ ἐν τῷ ποιοῦντι ἀλλὰ μὴ ἐν τῷ ποιουμένῳ· οὔτε γὰρ τῶν ἐξ ἀνάγκης ὄντων ἢ γινομένων ἡ (15) τέχνη ἐστίν, οὔτε τῶν κατὰ φύσιν· ἐν αὑτοῖς γὰρ ἔχουσι ταῦτα τὴν ἀρχήν. ἐπεὶ δὲ ποίησις καὶ πρᾶξις ἕτερον, ἀνάγκη τὴν τέχνην ποιήσεως ἀλλ' οὐ πράξεως εἶναι. καὶ τρόπον τινὰ περὶ τὰ αὐτά ἐστιν ἡ τύχη καὶ ἡ τέχνη, καθάπερ καὶ Ἀγάθων φησὶ
>> τέχνη τύχην ἔστερξε καὶ τύχη τέχνην.
>> (20) ἡ μὲν οὖν τέχνη, ὥσπερ εἴρηται, ἕξις τις μετὰ λόγου ἀληθοῦς ποιητική ἐστιν, ἡ δ' ἀτεχνία τοὐναντίον μετὰ λόγου ψευδοῦς ποιητικὴ ἕξις, περὶ τὸ ἐνδεχόμενον ἄλλως ἔχειν.
> The word translated as "variable" is "ἐνδεχομένον" -- which can mean "variable" but can also signify "option", "likelihood", and "probability" -- the actual meaning being closer to "that which can receive something within itself" (like a placeholder or receptacle), which brings it very close to the idea of a register in a computer, or of a location in memory.
> The association of art with "the habit of making with true reasoning" is quite striking in its appropriateness for computer generated art, or any art that involves formal precision in its conception and construction:
> τέχνη ἕξις τις μετὰ λόγου ἀληθοῦς ποιητική ἐστιν
> (art) (habit) (with) (reason, logos) (true) (making, poetic) (is)
> Or, "art is the habit of making with true(or correct) reasoning"
> And then, of course, "artlessness is the habit of making with false(or incorrect) reasoning," as anyone struggling to debug a program can attest.
What I find particularly relevant to our community is the strong link Aristotle makes between poetics and correct "true logos", which he eventually distinguishes as correct knowledge (science facts) and correct reasoning (science derivation), all the while maintaining the expressive power of art and poetry, and never seeing the two in conflict. It is interesting also to note that making with incorrect reasoning is artless.
Our times could learn a lot from these views.
On Dec 1, 2010, at 2:34 AM, ramon guardans wrote:
> Yasminers, greetings
> This is indeed a good topic , i would suggest three points
> first to consider the greek term poiesis, in the sense of doing, (agire) any form of action is a form of poetry
> then if we consider the living world from bacteria to the global mess of ecosystems, corporations and people hiding from the storm one can postulate a distributed poetic agency, that is at many levels different organic processes are poetic, in cell metabolism, endocrine songs and immune responses, in flowers, birds and plankton blooms soaking loud humpback whales, in factory floor, academia and shouk.
> And third, a very beautiful reference is Reviel Netz (2009) Ludic Proof, Greek Mathematics and the Alexandrian Aesthetic CUP, very well written and infromative the book argues for the functional, material and abstract continuity of creative efforts , how working out and exchanging mahematical problems and ways to solve them was /is part of the general conversation on producing beauty, which in my view includes the two points above.
> --- On Tue, 11/30/10, roger malina <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> From: roger malina <email@example.com>
>> Subject: [Yasmin_discussions] Science, Technology, Art, POETRY
>> To: "YASMIN DISCUSSIONS" <Yasmin_discussions@estia.media.uoa.gr>
>> Date: Tuesday, November 30, 2010, 5:01 PM
>> From: sharada srinivasan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> Nice to hear of this new Yasmin effort re poetry;
>> and nice to hear that you write poetry!
>> new YASMIN discussion beginning Dec 1 2010 :
>> Science, Technology, POETRY
>> At this INSAP conference there was Jocelyn Bell who had a
>> selection of astronomy related poems that she got some of
>> us to read
>> out so that was fun, (and I got by chance a particularly
>> long poem on
>> Herschel...)also remember being in touch with a poet in
>> london William
>> Radice at SOAS who was working on a poetry effort with
>> Marcus Du Sautoy. In India, actually some of the poetry of
>> poets like
>> Keki Daruwala and Jayanta Mahapatra (who also first was a
>> major) do have echoes of these, I will try to mention to
>> them.. anyway
>> its a fun topic, perhaps one ought to do somethign on this
>> end too
>> with that!
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HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: click on the link to the list you wish to subscribe to. In the page that will appear ("info page"), enter e-mail address, name, and password in the fields found further down the page.
HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE: on the info page, scroll all the way down and enter your e-mail address in the last field. Enter password if asked. Click on the unsubscribe button on the page that will appear ("options page").
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