Restless Metabolic Systems


Edward Eigen—GSD, Senior Lecturer in the History of Landscape and Architecture
Zeynep Çelik Alexander—Columbia University, Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology
Catherine Ingraham—interlocutor
Michael Hays—first responder

This event brings Ed Eigen and Zeynep Çelik Alexander together to present new work on dynamic models in science, landscapes, and architecture.
Eigen will be speaking about the iconography of vegetables: “the general organization of a living being and that of its organs in particular [which] can only be explained when…one follows step by step the successive development of its being, from the first moment of its visible formation to that of its death.” The illustration of the Jerusalem artichoke by Pierre Jean François Turpin in 1830 “had the effect of placing in dialog naturalists and poets all in search of a proper method for observing nature, not as a static fact but rather as a dynamic principle expressed in changeable organic form.”
Alexander will discuss the Linnaean system of renaming all living things and organizing dried botanical specimens. This system grew over time “to occupy buildings and complexes with global reach.” The herbarium in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London, for example, began, in 1853, with one small room “that subsequently expanded into five additional buildings housing more than seven million specimens. Its flexible and infinitely expandable architecture facilitated cross-referencing operations that held together precariously heterogeneous networks through a “homogenous empiricism” that included the British Empire’s unstable body politic.”


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