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Cultural TechniquesGrids, Filters, Doors, and Other Articulations of the Real$
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Bernhard Siegert

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823263752

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823263752.001.0001

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White Spots and Hearts of Darkness

White Spots and Hearts of Darkness

Drafting, Projecting, and Designing as Cultural Techniques

(p.121) 7 White Spots and Hearts of Darkness
Cultural Techniques

Bernhard Siegert

, Geoffrey Winthrop-Young
Fordham University Press

In order to conceptualize designing as a cultural technique, one has to wrestle the concept of disegno from the anthropocentric origin it acquired in the Florentine discourse on art, and to re-attribute it to those techniques and practices that operationalized “the open” and “the provisional” in early Renaissance. Design, then, did not originate in an ingenious uomo universale, but in the convergence of two cultural techniques that flourished in fourteenth-century Florence: the cartographic grid of latitude and longitudes and the grid-based techniques of scaling, proportion, and transfer employed by Renaissance artists’ workshops. Historically, the meaning that disegno acquired much later on can be traced back to the amalgamation of the differing concepts of the “open,” which in conjunction with the two cultural techniques found their way into drawings. Emerging from a field of tension between artisanal and cartographic projection techniques, the artistic design merges the open as the spatially unknown (as made addressable by the Ptolemaic grid) on the one hand and the open as provisional (as enabled by the veil) on the other.

Keywords:   Disegno, Designing, Drafting, Projecting, Cartographic Projection, Renaissance, Italian Artist Workshop, Grid, The Unknown

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