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Sunday
Jun142015

"Machines for Training: Military Performance and Embodied Knowledge" on KCET's Artbound

In his 1923 manifesto "Vers une architecture" (Toward an Architecture) Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier famously described houses as "machines for living." By comparing houses -- or any buildings -- to machines, he gave us a new way to consider and understand buildings and, at the same time, also posed an implicit question. A machine -- a tool -- only realizes its fullest potential in performing work. Machines require use to be fully understood, because there is tacit knowledge -- what philosophers of knowledge distinguish as "know how" as opposed to "know of" -- that can only be known through performing the work itself. So if houses -- if buildings -- are machines, must we in fact be in them and "operate" them in order to fully understand them?

I had this question in mind in January 2015 when I was preparing for a visit to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California. I joined a group of creative thinkers that included artists, designers, filmmakers, historians, geographers, and computer scientists on a trip to view Range 220, the largest urban combat simulation training facility in the United States and one of the largest in the world, and also to talk with Marines about terrain visualization, drawing, and training for these activities.

Read the full post at KCET's Artbound.

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