Bernard Cache’s Earth Moves: The Furnishing of Territories (Writing Architecture)


Take the concept of singularity. In mathematics, what is said to be singular is not a given point, but rather a set of points on a given curve. A point is not singular; it becomes singularized on a continuum. And several types of singularity exist, starting with fractures in curves and other bumps in the road. We will discount them at the outset, for singularities that are marked by discontinuity signal events that are exterior to the curvature and are themselves easily identifiable. In the same way, we will eliminate singularities such as backup points [points de rebroussement]. For though they are indeed discontinuous, they refer to a vector that is tangential to the curve and thus trace a symmetrical axis that constitutive of the backup point. Whether it be a reflection of the tan- gential plane or a rebound with respect to the orthogonal plane, the backup point is thus not a basic singularity. It is rather the result of an operation effectuated on any part of the curve. Here again, the singular would be the sign of too noisy, too memorable an event, while what we want to do is to deal with what is most smooth: ordinary continua, sleek and polished.

On one hand there are the extrema, the maximum and minimum on a given curve. And on the other there are those singular points that, in relation to the extrema, figure as in-betweens. These are known as points of inflection. They are different from the extrema in that they are defined only in relation to themselves, whereas the definition of the extrema presupposes the prior choice of an axis or an orientation, that is to say of a vector.

Indeed, a maximum or a minimum is a point where the tangent to the curve is directed perpendicularly to the axis of the ordinates [y-axis]. Any new orientation of the coordinate axes repositions the maxima and the min- ima; they are thus extrinsic singularities. The point of inflection, however, designates a pure event of curvature where the tangent crosses the curve; yet this event does not depend in any way on the orientation of the axes, which is why it can be said that inflection is an intrinsic singularity. On either side of the inflection, we know that there will be a highest point and a lowest point, but we cannot designate them as long as the curve has not been related to the orientation of a vector. Points of inflection are singularities in and of themselves, while they confer an indeterminacy to the rest of the curve. Preceding the vector, inflection makes of each of the points a possible extremum in relation to its inverse: virtual maxima and minima. In this way, inflection represents a totality of possibilities, as well as an openness, a receptiveness, or an anticipation……

Bernard Cache Earth Moves The Furnishing of Territories


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