[iDC] Information Architecture?

noah brehmer noah.brehmer at gmail.com
Thu Jul 22 03:12:03 UTC 2010

"To reformers, like other middle- and upperclass observers, the manufacturing process was a marvel of rationality, efficacy, and speed. Workers were required to conform to the demands of production, to be prompt, to follow orders, and occasionally to solve problems encountered on the factory floor. In other words, they needed self-discipline and attentiveness, along with deference for authority. Such expectation appealed to the Protestant values of early school reformers. They sought similar goals for children in their institutions, claiming outright in some instances that the duty of the school was to prepare students for the demands of the emerging industrial order. Even as some factory owners pulled children away from schools, many educators emulated the industrial system as a model for their new organizations. It was a powerful metaphor for the future social order."

A great majority of our schools were built under the epistemological dictums of an industrial labor economy. A Fordist economy, characterized by tight divisions of labor, hierarchical chains of command, as well as systematized and linear production/dispersion models. The American school system was designed to accommodate the demands presented by the factory labor environment; emanating the epistemologies supported by this new economy in the physical/symbolic layout of the school. Modular classrooms, brutalist architecture, and a general fixation on the solidification of space are the characterizing traits of the modern school building. 

The physical remainders of the Fordist economy have continued to act as an imposing force, molding the socio-temporal relations within the school under the auspicious of a culture and economy that have passed us. It's a substantial problem and an issue we most face if we are to prepare students for the post-fordist societies they will enviably operate within. My question is what can be done about this? The easy answer of course would involve the popular proposition for E-learning, but I think the most viable solution will involve the facilitation of a learning environment that could support a nexus between a digital and physical ecology. 

With that said, what organization models could effectively integrate the students web-based learning ecology with the students provincial community?

And given the importance I would suspect the great majority of us place on experiential learning models [consider Ranciere and the great majority of the other progressive education theorist and actors] can we elaborate a built environment that would foster a nexus between the students digital and physical commons?

I'm thinking of generative architecture, a built-environment that could facilitate transversial+transdisciplinary organizational models. An architecture that would speak to the student of the digital ethos. An architecture that would adapt as we act upon it!

Art School Propositions for the 21st century, Aesthetic Platforms Brendan D. Moran

p.35 "The educational arena is increasingly comparable to the hardware components within computing, which must not only multitask in support of myriad software applications but that we want to house both efficiently and attractively, within a variety of other contexts. Allowing for infinite possible plug-ins, the seamlessly productive platform of the factory, as in Andy Warhol's exhibitionistic one, facilitates the types of recordings, and transcodings that generate new textures and practices of art production, distribution, consumption, appreciation, and ultimately education for any and all interested comers. The expansive locus of contemporary art education, like any good operating system, needs to provide a flexibility of connections between the arts and, perhaps more important, between art and nonart-especially since the most inventive contemporary work questions assumptions about the clarity of such distinctions."

+ I will follow up this post with an essay I've been working on concerning new institutionalism and the pedagogical turn. I will focus my attention on the work of Marion Von Austen and Irit Rogoff - looking at "reformpause" and Rogoff's Summit project. 


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