Digital Techtonics – Material Complexity By Manuel DeLanda – Critical Review



Seeing the world through a philosophical point of view, concepts such as toughness or rigidity are emergent properties of metalic materials that result from the complex dynamic behaviour of its components. Also dynamics of population of dislocations are closely related to the population dynamics of every entity, despite the big difference in nature and the behaviour of the components, a population of interacting entities, will dispay same collective behaviour as long as the interactions are non linear and also as long as the population operates in a non thermodynamic equilibrium.

The use of tools coming from non linear dynamics and non equilibrium thermodynamics is crucial. By using techniques corresponding to strong non equilibrium conditions,  then we can achieve conditions of non thermodynamic equilibrium and process different kinds of materials. The study of material complexity as well as the awareness of the self organising capabilities of matter tends to emerge in the field. James E. Gordon  said:


“The widespread use of steel for so many purposes in the modern world is only partly due to technical causes. Steel might euphemistically be described as a material that facilitates the dilution of skills.”


Gordon is looking at how the double danger is affecting creativity for structural designers. The first danger as he states is that a singe universal material is appropriate for all different kinds of structure, either deling with compression or with tension. He is sugesting the use of biological materials such as bones and that suggests that new structures will achieve continues variation with parts of the structure apripriate for each property, either compression or tension.


My opinion is that the ‘bio-materials’ are a source of inspiration for the designers as well as the use of them in big structure can open new possibilities in the design itself. On the other hand i think there are ethical constraints that are against the use of these materials, such as bones. The cominity is not ready to adapt to the demand of the structural change and the change of materiality in every day use.

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