Drawing imprecision: The digital drawing as bits and pixels

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Recalibration on Imprecision and Infidelity - Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture, ACADIA 2018, 2018, pp. 36 - 45
Issue Date:
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© CURRAN-CONFERENCE. All rights reserved. This paper explores the consequences of digitizing the architectural drawing. It argues that the fundamental unit of drawing has shifted from “the line” to an interactive partnership between bits and pixels. It also reveals how the developmental focus of imaging technology has been to synthesize and imitate the line using bits and pixels, rather than to explore their innate productive value and aesthetic potential. Referring to variations of the architectural drawing from a domestic typology, the paper uses high-precision digital tools tailored to quantitative image analysis and digital tools that sit outside the remit of architectural production, such as word processing, to present a new range of drawing techniques. By applying a series of traditional analytical procedures to the image, it reveals how these maneuvers can interrogate and dislocate any predetermined formal normalization. The paper reveals that the interdisciplinary repurposing of precise digital toolsets therefore has explicit disciplinary consequences. These arise as a direct result of the recalibration of scale, the liberation of the bit’s representational capacity, and the pixel’s properties of color and brightness. It concludes by proposing that deliberate instances of translational imprecision are highly productive, because by liberating the fundamental qualitative properties of the fundamental digital units, these techniques shift the disciplinary agency of the architectural drawing.
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