Skip to main content

A note on the title of this blog

When I try to give people the link to this blog, I end up cursing myself because it's impossible to spell. Why did I choose 'technē and poiēsis' anyways? I was trying to remember- it was such a long time ago! But eventually I remembered Ignasi de Solà-Morales' collection of essays, called 'Differences: Topographies of Contemporary Architecture'. This anthology often lay beside my computer as I was working on my research papers in Rome. I think I was particularily captivated by Solà-Morales' analysis of Martin Heidegger, in the essay called 'High Tech: Functionalism or Rhetoric':

"The historic rupture between doing and being, between technē and poiēsis, is, in Heidegger, the expression of an essential malaise in modern humanity and society. The cure for this malaise lies in art: in building, dwelling, and thinking."

According to Heidegger, technē is a Greek word that means 'to make something appear', whereas poiēsis means the art of something that is. These terms can be likened to his 'building' (Bauen) and 'dwelling' (Wohnen). And the relationship between the two is what I wanted to explore in this blog. I have always felt that I learn best through doing. I want to examine both process and product; I want to see my life as something that is being constructed.

Two other words from the quote above are particularily salient to me. Solà-Morales uses the word 'malaise' to describe the 'profound emotional instability provoked by these new situations in work and in war'. He is referring to the technological revolution that took place after the Second World War. But this 'malaise' with respect to technological progress is still very present today- especially as climate change proves that technology has not yet saved us from ourselves. It is something that has bothered me for a long time. During my Masters' thesis, I tried to reconcile the nostalgic, symbolic value of brick with the industrial product it has become. I also make a point of not following the latest trends of social media, gadgets, etc. I still have a slight wariness when I post on this blog!

And this brings me to the other word, 'art', that is a possible solution. Of course, a discussion about what is art would take much more than a blog post. But I understand it as Heidegger does: an application of the human mind to the process of creation. By human mind, I mean the mind in all its messiness of emotions, irrationality, and capriciousness, but also its capacity for synthesis, order, and linkage. While creating things,  I want to think about how and why I am creating them. The process of creation teaches me how to be.