Thoughts

Equipoise

 noun

  1. balance of forces or interests “this temporary equipoise of power”

verb

  1. balance of counterbalance (something)

 Equipoise can be thought of as the plural term for balance. The balance of many visual, physical and mental traits together compose this subconscious idea of balance. It is the individual feel or aura felt by an object, situation or thought. It is plastic in its reference power. It encompasses the overall feel. For example, the volumes and masses can be arranged in a way to indicate a visual balance.

A building may not be symmetrical in its layout, or appearance yet still reference the balance of thought in relation to the over all structure. It can have a philosophical sway towards the concept of balance. A structure may be build of concrete yet engulfed with vines on exterior to give balance between industrial, mechanic, man made material with natural, plant based evolution of form. It is important that it gives the idea, the assumption of two objects or thoughts at equal level.

What is the relationship of space to volume and void?

Answer:

One way to mentally digest the differences between volume and void is to compare them to external and internal spaces. From the outside a volume can be perceived as a simple geometric shape. Planar walls hint at what may occupy the inside, but don’t fully showcase the interior space until the inhabitant moves about the void created by these exterior walls. Space is the negative area created within a structure by physical barriers that force the occupants to maneuver around and thus experience individually the many emotions evoked by the experience.

Space creates a mental and physical stimulant. Open spatial area gives a relaxed calm vibe that is sought after by spas, hotels, and villas. Closed, cramped or forced movement gives a tensed imprisoned vibe that is not free flowing. This psychological feeling of entrapment causes the user to feel trapped, having limited room to move about. Understanding the difference between the two helps an architect build for the appropriate theme or occupants.

Does a space exist without being enclosed?

Answer:

A space has no guidelines. An architect can create an open or enclosed space depending on the client. Weather is the defining factor for deciding between the two. If one is to build property in Alaska, the space will most likely be placed inside to avoid the natural elements, to keep the cold freezing temperatures away from the building. If one is to build a house in Thailand, a variation of interior and exterior spaces are needed to help cool the building by use of winds, passive cooling.

A space does not necessarily need to be man made. The forest has many unique spaces that occurred or developed naturally through means of evolution. The arrangement of trees that have broad leafs grown in a circular pattern can create an outdoor natural space that shades a common area. Or rock formations that create caves are also naturally occurring spaces that hint at shelter.

With the knowledge of character, how should memory be represented in the architecture of the 21st century?

Answer:

Memory is an independent thought.

Experience differs depending on background, culture, social status and location. So in a way it is difficult to build for a client solely based on the idea of memory. For memories are vast, unique and non-definitive. At times memory works like déjà vu, one does not realize it until an exact situation re occurs visually that triggers those old thoughts.

A recollection of a memory can also be triggered by touch, smell or sound. This again explains why memory is held true to the individual and not the masses. A memory of a concert for example is much more intense in person then it being watched on TV. When all six senses are aroused at the same time, the affect is more powerful. Only way this situation arises is by experiencing it in person, live. Which in turn hints at why architecture gets a memory response from its inhabitants.

A memory is made more powerful when the number of triggers is higher and more precise in their occurrence in time. The accumulation of the various incidents striking all at once makes the memory clearer or more evident.

One way to solve this riddle is to create spaces for its occupiers that will guide/suggest a specific future activity.

For example, designing an outdoor area where a gathering can take place. Events and parties in general invent memories for their attendees. Whether the incident that caused the occasion is positive or negative, a memory has been developed and subconsciously the person has soaked in the architecture along with it. Location will forever be linked to memories. When one searches or experiences a memory he/she immediately works to remember the location in which it took place. Parallel to this association is a building or buildings within its vicinity.

In closing, an architect can create memories using spaces. The experience with in these spaces may trigger memories for its occupants in the future. So if the building is more playful in its room orientation and promenade over all, the chances of creating a “memorable” experience becomes more evident.

Is architecture an analogy of nature or is it a false imitation?

Answer:

A more precise question mirroring proposed one is, does nature and architecture have similarities? And if so what are they?

Nature sparked initial “aha!” moments all the time because that was all that existed in prehistoric times. Early humans knew to get under a tree if they wanted protection from the sun. To get under a tree that has a broad leaf for protection from the rain. To enter a cave so one may keep warm from winter storms. These are just a few examples nature inspired architecture.

Next step was to recreate this shelter from the elements in locations that had no such trees or caves in the area. Compiled material from nature found local to the region begins to be invented. Over time the repetitive building of these natural materials has evolved to today’s overhangs to protect from the sun, roofs to protect from the rain and rooms to protect from the weather.

So one may argue that nature is greatly influencing architecture today and in the past. Sadly there isn’t enough advancement in studying matter from nature to be applied to materials used during construction. Composition of a plant varies vastly throughout the globe. Some are absorbent, some are repellent, some are smooth, some are dry, some are thick, some are thin etc. Why not manipulate its biology to create a more linear flat material that’s made to be used in structures for protection and for CO2 capture. A living breathing building is a natural building.

Nature is Platonism. It is pure and vast. It is the apparent parent of plants, animals and weather.

Design

The angle, the view of design alternates based on relations between two objects. In this case the physical design itself and your eyes. The distance of which you perceive a design has effective outcome on your understanding of it.

During the 1930’s, art was being mass-produced. It began to lose its uniqueness. Art is beautiful and strange because of its originality. It’s original design. When one begins to see same pattern and shapes repeated on local properties it no longer holds interest. The way people of the time expressed their appreciation for art was by placing large printed drawings, paintings and photographs on the walls. They again bought mass produced sculptures made out of cheap pilaster molds. The social conscious symbol of art began to loose roots, thus forcing many to reject the broad umbrella term of “Art”. They broke all the rules. Began to experiment with a new process that creates design through gradual experimentation.

From this shift of thinking, architects began to also find new volumes through practice of gradual molding. When an artist wishes to sketch, he/she grabs a pencil and paper and begins. When an architect needs to sketch, he/she needs to gather physical material and matter that help join them. This is the only way to develop a concept, a promenade for a building, a structure, to mold or chisel the object using the additive or subtractive method. The best way to create volumes is to place an array of objects adjacent to one another in hopes of a combined shape emerging. Once this is established one may use the contour of this shape and reassemble the inside to accommodate the program.

Unlike a 2D art piece, a sculpture stands alone in 3D. Its placement, orientation, size, shape makes a difference. One sees an art piece and observes a sculpture. Sculpture is art brought to life. Volume thrived under sculpture, it became the tool many used to invent or create a new. The skeleton, bare design of a building is key, everything else is additive, to enhance the appearance or function of space.

An architect can give a building wings, to make it appear as if floating by manipulating its mass visually to indicate or give hint of a known shape or object. A solid square block weighing same as a figure of woman in motion does not translate visually. We would subconsciously think the block is heavier because we are used to seeing heavy square objects stuck to the floor due to their weight.

Being in position to capture the best view of a building, an art piece, a situation all depends on how you perceive it. How you ultimately feel about such an object depends on the individual.

Where could the line of distinction between “use” of space and “type” of space exist?

Answer:

Type in architecture is used as an organizational tool.

Quatremere de Quincy argued, “that architecture does not imitate nature in a literal sense, but in a metaphorical sense.” This hints at the basic idea of type and its use in architecture. A visual example, a maple leaf will look out of place if extruded from a palm tree. Here is where type as an organizational tool comes into play. Type helps the architect divide the many different styles that came before into visual categories. If a client is requesting from the architect to build a modern home, the architect should not use ornamental facades. A modern design seeks clean evident lines that express the feeling of calm from a visual perspective. One perfect example is the evident use of type as a font. The English language has various types that display the same words, but visually all differ depending on their intended output. Differ on who the reader or audience are. When creating the font for Star Wars the movie, designers used a curved futuristic type that incorporated lines and perspective to give the type movement. Same principle applies to architecture. One must research who the client is? What styles do they gravitate to? Who are the potential group occupiers of this space? What is the intended use? Once these questions are defined, an architect can then proceed to create a building that fits a specific intent.

Muthesuis described type as a “means of bringing order to the chaotic world of mass consumption.” His statement also hints at type as a visual organizational tool. Without categories or sub categories, an architect can feel lost on where to begin or how to design. Due to the explosion of individualism, artists created vastly new concepts that had no intent but to express their thoughts. Imagine compiling thousand works of art into one room. How will one proceed to organize them? If one is to archive these works into a computer, type can be applied as a visual organizational tool to place each work among its umbrella of immediate family.

Type is a visual tool.

Henri Lefebvre wrote, “The user’s space is lived – not represented.” This simple statement packs a definitive punch. The use of a building or room depends on how the occupant, inhabitant, and/or client occupy the space. A studio is an ideal example of this. A studio may be used by the occupant as a living space or by a client for office space. Why because concept of a studio is open, various intended uses can be applied within the same room. So one can clearly state that a structure’s proposed use depends on who occupies it. A building’s use can shift in the future. This is evident through out history. Old abandoned churches are remodeled and turned into homes. Banks with vaults are transformed into restaurants and clubs. Pools converted to skating parks, so on and so forth.

The user determines the purpose of the building. His/her actions within this structure help categorize the overall intent of the built shape. This concept gives buildings flexibility. Based on who occupies the space, an area can be repurposed. Its use can easily be shifted to achieve a mix of the old with the new.

Herman Hertzberger stated, “to create for the users the freedom to decide themselves how they provide creative reinterpretation.” It is the actions, the experience of the user that determines the evident use of the space. So this becomes a personal perspective.

User is described via his/her actions.

What is the difference between “flexible” space and “neutral” space?

Answer:

Both terms have broad definitions even within the language of architecture.

To me flexible means having the ability to serve multiple uses. This is usually designed with purposeful intention. Which means that the architect is aware of intended program of building, the use of a building in advance, then proceeds to create fluid space that can be adapted to these multiple uses. Flexibility has limit, perfect example of this is the new trend of tiny mobile homes. Due to the small square footage, an architect must use his of her skills to allow the owners to shift walls or built in furniture to fit the activity of a particular moment or function. This is also big in Japan, due to limited space within a building, many homes or apartments take advantage of every inch of property to give owner more options, more use. A living room wall perhaps opens up to allow built in bed to expand and flatten to turn the same space into a bedroom. So it is flexible in this sense. One room has preset multiple possibilities it can morph or transform to. But this is pre thought out and calculated. This is also relatable to stripping the term down to its basic philosophy. Flexibility is an Aristotle concept, a more detailed, vast predetermined possibilities. Multiple answers, that pays tribute to a basic principle of one being flexible.

Neutral space on the other hand covers this idea in a more broad sense. An architect designing a neutral space tends to strip mass to its most basic of elements. As if the building is a skeleton minus the organs. The outer shell is over simplified. This is usually due to the space not having a preset program or function. An immediate example comes to mind is a warehouse. Warehouse buildings tend to be very bare, accommodating to many activities thus in turn multiple buildings and functions. So in a way neutral space has extreme flexibility. It is usually an enclosed space with walls, roof, floor and generic electrical and plumbing layout so ANY business may occupy it. You see this throughout San Diego. Many warehouses can be used as assembly lines, gyms, retail, breweries, restaurants etc. Neutrality is categorized within Plato’s thinking. It is a simple, basic rooted concept before the details and vast elements and categories are applied.

Is architecture merely fantastic art belonging to the realm of pure invention or are its basic principles derived from nature?

Answer:

Architecture was born out of necessity.

Humans of earlier times sought shelter space in caves. When they encountered vast open land, they honed their efforts on re-creating that space, using local materials. Vernacular building.

I strongly believe that architecture stems from nature. The fruits of nature dominated the visual psyche of early Homo sapiens. It soaked and seeped into their culture. The outlines, inward shapes of plants and rock formations were all that existed, visually speaking. Forced to adapt to their surroundings by re-creating what nature has produced physically and visually.

Everything created anew is and should be considered of pure invention.

Architecture is fantastic art! It can, be derived from pure invention and nature, and space, and climate, and so on and so forth. The design concept of a building is initiated in our minds via visual memories. We find similarities, associations between various shapes and objects that were absorbed visually in past experiences to allow us to formulate a cognitive response to the subject at hand. Perhaps like an AI scanning thousands of images. Seeking a match to make a visual connection. Our brains function the same way. If I wish to incorporate a circular design, and lived around 10,000 B.C. My mind would immediately think of the moon, the sun, round fruits and vegetables. If I were motivated to build an obelisk, I would turn to tree trunks and steep rock cut formations to draw inspiration.

Art is everywhere you just need to stare.

Better UI/UX Design for Instagram’s Activity Page
          Instagram has persuaded millions of users to join photography’s new social movement. Mobile device users have searched for an app that is able to seamlessly post their experience through pictures and videos. Insta has initiated a trend by allowing the use of #hashtags to rapidly connect different users with similar interests. The company’s fast growth has created an opportunity for photographers, artists and business owners to creatively reach new clients. It has in return helped unknowns become stars.
          This new digital artistic tool urged me as an artist to create a personal account and begin to learn the in’s and out’s of the app. Navigating between screens I was able learn new tricks. These tricks helped with quality and speed of posts. I eagerly welcomed new changes, for they improved the UX/User Experience. Being the geek that I am, I began following popular pages. Exploring the ways they are able to reach such a large number of followers. Similarities came into focus. Almost all of them, choose a specific subject. Then started sharing creative new pics and videos that had a relation to that theme. Posts used #hashtags to describe the material. Timely consistency of posts assured followers continuous fresh projects. This concept urged and invited users to follow the stream. This gave birth to a strategy experienced users applied to build a popular page.
           Equipped with this new knowledge of UI/UX, motivated me to begin @IGDraws. Short for Instagram Draws. A page dedicated to sharing drawings of Instagram users. With the purpose of promoting fellow artists and spreading artistic inspiration. I found many amazing ordinary artists that deserved better exposure. Especially ones who relied heavily on hand drawn artwork. There was plenty of popular pages displaying paintings and digital works. But none with strictly drawings. This seemed unfair to me. If an artist is brilliant but poor. Lacking proper material or tools to create his master piece, proved the idea unjust. It allowed me to find a larger pool of artworks. Everyone has access to a pencil, the ultimate translator of imaginative thoughts on paper.
          I wanted to create respect through my posts. So I created guidelines to follow. To assure fairness, I made sure artwork was original. Asked for permission before sharing work. Made sure I tagged and gave them credit. Never use the artist twice, to allow equal exposure for more artists. Try and post one drawing a day. This builds the page into a community of fellow artists properly supporting each other.  Helps artists get ideas for their next piece. So long as the work is new, rare and creative. The account will gain followers.
          To reach mass viewers. I began using search terms also known as #hashtags. This allowed millions of users to find the posts, navigate the page, like the material then make the obvious decision to follow. I also asked fellow artists to tag #IGDraws on works they wish to be featured. This automatically creates a buzz and allows others to share posts with friends. This rapidly expanded the number of followers on IGDraws. With in months I was able to reach a 1000 followers and continued the fast growth there after. Until Instagram no longer allowed me to use hashtags. ’Till this day I have no reasoning behind the move. Multiple tries at contacting the company in need of an explanation for disabling my #hashtags resulted in no response. I refused to use robotic software that jailbreaks the app. To allow a computer to send a hundred simultaneous likes was cheating and hinted at having my page possibly deleted for not following app rules. So I stopped using #hashtags all together. This slowed the accounts growth. I started concentrating mostly on posting amazing unique pieces of art. Was able to steadily built the page’s audience to 4000+ followers using these techniques.
          Being an artist and a tech geek. I began studying tweaks that may improve the UX. An alternate UI/User Interface that can be of much help to moderators of popular pages with a 1000 followers and up. Specifically the  “Activity” screen. Currently likes, comments and friend add notifications are mixed into one thread. Which can prove challenging for mega page owners to comb through. Can you imagine an owner of an account with 50,000 followers try and separate these three categories of notifications? Impossible. An individual post on these mega accounts can generate up to a 1000 likes, hundreds of comments and followers. The history list of activity is limited to 84 notifications. That means the moderator is unable to read and monitor all activity. For they will be pushed past the activity list and forever lost. I noticed this when I began asking permission to use works of art on these mega pages. It explained the reasoning behind the artist not replying with the go ahead approval to share. It is because my comment on a post praising their work, asking for permission to use it was lost among the thousand other notifications the owner never got the chance to read nor reply to.
          In my attempt at solving this issue. I created an alternate design to the Activity portion of the app. I divided and organized the Activity screen into three sections. One that listed a continuous history of Likes, Comments and Followers. Allowing each category to have its own thread of notifications. This allows the owner to read all comments based on time of post. And see a list of new followers based on the time they began following page.
 
 
What do you think of this article? Of introduced new design? Comments are welcomed.
A + IDEA

The smartest minds in the world today should get together and work  on subjects of their interest. Together these experts will be passionate about the work.  Having the aid of genius men and woman as colleagues will help their projects advance. If this group is arranged? I foresee a Nobel Prize awarded on their behalf regularly. Thus benefitting all human kind.

Light Projection in Mobile Devices

There is a huge electronic niche that seems yet to be tapped. Light projection for mobile phones and tablets. This much needed feature can be a huge selling point if implemented in a new device effectively. The benefits of having the new hardware are endless. So how come the idea has yet to take off?

For one thing, only a few companies have tried to include the feature in their phones. Nokia and Samsung have both meddled with the concept. But Samsung seemed to have a bit of a better success. I say “a bit”, because they didn’t promote the Galaxy Beam smartphone properly. Which gives the sense that they were not fully fond of it. Nor had full confidence that it will properly function without glitches. Battery life might play an issue in this dilemma as well. I know that battery life seems to be running low as is for most current smartphones and adding a light projector to the handheld device will further diminish its daily life span. It doesn’t take a hardware guru to figure that battery is an issue. But I still argue that its an addition that can prove massively appealing to consumers. If its not ready for mobile phones, it must be ready to implement into tablets. Only Apple has a proven successful record of perfecting such new features. For example, Microsoft was the first to meddle with handheld digital audio devices. And one of the first to try its hand with tablets. But failed to perfect them and failed to prove to the consumers that there is a huge need for their existence. But look what Apple was able to do with the iPod and iPad. Apple fine tuned these concepts, developed a beautiful user friendly software and designed a beautiful hardware that captured the salivating eyes of its users. With that said, I believe only Apple has the vision and creative history to accomplish such a task.

Hand held light projection devices are essential, beneficial and can be of great use in our daily lives. People of all ages will be in need of this feature. Artists will use light to project their artwork on walls and canvases to easily trace and expand the size without losing much quality and time. Teachers can go to class with only their phone or tablet in hand and are able to present slides and lectures on any flat surface with ease and clarity. Families can watch any video they wish outdoors with their loved ones for an intimate and memorable experience. Individuals can finally have many devices in one. They will no longer need to pay an extra $2000 dollars for a tv set. Movies can be projected up to 70 inches wide with high clarity. They can even watch video as they lay flat on their bed with the phone or tablet projecting video to the ceiling. Photographers can use it to give their models depth, set a scene or manipulate the background. These are only a few of the tasks light projection can provide. The possibilities are endless.

Every year Apple comes out with a unique feature to help sell its new iPhone or iPad. Whether its a new A7 chip with 64-bit architecture, Siri – a voice based command software, Touch ID – a fingerprint identity sensor, iSight camera or retina display to improve the picture quality. Light projection can be the next big thing. It will create a huge demand for its up and coming devices. But battery life, video clarity and consistency issues do need to be ironed out before releasing such a massive addition. I don’t know about you but I will be the first one in line to buy a handheld device that offers light projection as a part of its hardware.

Majd Nazo

United Human Gravity

If we gather all humans on this planet and place them near each other in one city or one country, will their weight and targeted gravity shift the Earth’s axis? Imagine Earth as a bowling ball that is spinning on a smooth surface. If weight is evenly distributed? It will spin in its place due to its balanced radius. Now if you attach a heavy piece of metal to one of its three finger holes and spin again? It will spin erratically and change position due to the newly added mass. Same principal applies to our planet. Our combined human weight will add pressure to one specific location and pierce through to the inner most core with the aid of gravity. Now you might say what about the mass of the mountains and natural forming continents? Well that can play a role as well. But I believe the human soul and human gravity is sure to play a bigger role. This concept may shift the current Earth location with respect to the universe and it may also speed up the day cycle of 24 hrs. I am curious to research and see if today’s current spinning axis is trailing the heaviest mass combination of land and ocean? Whether it has an effect or not, the mere activity and participation of all humans will be a monumental triumph in itself. It will bring us together and force us to communicate and thus expand our understanding of one another as a specie.

– Majd Nazo

Dreams

When we sleep our brains take over and try to sort through all the images experienced during that day. If there are connections or similarities between todays images or the past’s, the brain automatically combines them. Once a setting or a scene is set and we are not fully awake to control it. Pulses of intuition take over based on past decisions. Which are engraved in our memory. And does its best using those default tools available to it to explore the scene and build on the imagery. Senses can also act as trigger tool. A scent, smell, sound or touch while asleep can also make the connection subconsciously and recall that experience. This sudden recognizable sense is intertwined with the current visual image floating in our dream, thus continuing to build on those surreal stories and scenes that seem to take shape mostly during REM(Rapid Eye Movement). Also known as deep sleep.

– Majd Nazo

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Multimedia Artist