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Emerging digital landscapes: Web design as building gardens

The Sakuteiki is an old japanese text designing and maintaining gardens. Rather than defining clear rules, it advocates analysing (and emotionally understanding) the context of each project. As a starting point, it asks three questions:

  • Why?
  • How?
  • Using what?

Asking Why means to grasp the task from a functional perspective and to understand its creative potential.

How asks for the best method to achieve the intended result, based on the designer's education and skill.

Using what is the most important question: it asks for the material to be used, literally the elements the garden is constructed from.

In other words, Sanuteiki suggests that building a garden should be guided by its intended cultural and aesthetic function (why?) and the designer's creative approach (how?) – but its form is ultimately defined by and emerges from the material that guides the design process. Every rock and tree placed define the following steps as they have to be undertaken in context.

There is merit in approaching the design process of a website as a process of iterative placing and building. It alleviates the requirement for a design or an idea. Instead of perceiving the design process as a hard task that needs to be completed (often under pressure of time and budget), it could it resemble something procedural. Ideas may emerge more naturally, as a whole in accordance with the project's individual aspects. Following this approach makes treating ideas like diamonds – singular, precious things made under pressure and duress – seem ineffective and needlessly agressive.

Emerging digital landscapes: Web design…

virtual ≠ digital
on the contrary, the virtual is explicitly analogical.
analog: translatability across mediums. sound => electrical current. heat => pain. "continuity of transformation." continuous variation across qualitative difference.
digital: codification, based on symbols. close to quantification. not continuous, not translatable. enclosed in its own language.

the analog as continuous, non-reliant on external symbolic order. the analog is beside logos, is does not need logos since translation occurs "immediately." its form is in translation itself. immanent in heterogeneity.

the digital, then, can't be reduced simply to computation. it follows a path through (human?) history which begins with integers, the alphabet, the atom, synapse, gene, dialectic, "even the point itself, if not the line too, and the plane." unlike the analog, then, it is human (?).

but the analog has a history too, involving duration, intensity, sensation, affect, the wave, gradient, curve. quite simply: the real (without logic of presence/absence, norm/deviation). the analog as the real without abstraction, logos/language, symbolic, reduction. "a mode of mediation that always remains within the real."

digital as integral. homogeneization. d: integration as actualization of virtual. actualize: integrate. plane of heterogeneities, integrates into homogeneous entities, regulations, aggregations etc. integration as coordination/organization.

analogical: not language (or language lacking symbol). "analogical language would be a language of relations, which consists of expressive movements, paralinguistic signs, breaths and screams." language of breath of screams. non-language. expression, gestures.

analog synthesizers as modular, immediate connection between heterogeneous elements. different elements (remaining heterogeneous) can touch despite difference. digital enlists homogeneity (of 1-0). analog: stuff of the world remains different, singular.
digital: metaphysics.
analog: immanence.