Asignifying Semiotics as Proto-Theory of Singularity: Drawing is Not Writing and Architecture does Not Speak


  • Deborah Hauptmann
  • Andrej Radman



We have recently witnessed a confession of a fellow architect with which we fully identify. We, too, belong to the generation educated under the semiotic regime, which – as we will argue in our introduction – has run its course. We also believe that the idea of ‘architecture as language’ might have been useful as an analytical tool but never as a design mechanism. After all, creativity comes first and routinisation follows. As the title of Footprint 14 suggests, this is a general plea to have done with the hegemony of the linguistic signifier. Signifying semiotics is but a fraction of a much broader asignifying semiotics. We propose to approach the issue qua Spinozist practice of ethology, defined as the study of capacities, or – as we would like to think of it – a proto-theory of singularity. This is as much an ethical or political problem as it is an aesthetic one. It concerns what the cultural critic Steven Shaviro recently qualified as a primordial form of sentience that is non-intentional, non-correlational, and anoetic. The Affective Turn will be measured against the unavoidable Digital Turn. We will conclude by reversing the famous Wittgensteinian dictum whereby what we cannot speak about we must not pass over in silence. A brief summary of contributions, which are by no means limited to architecture, is concluded with a politically charged epilogue. The very last paragraph of the epilogue reveals the pink-on-pink reference.

Author Biographies

Deborah Hauptmann

Deborah Hauptmann is Professor and Chair of Architecture at Iowa State University, and previously the Director of the Delft School of Design, TU Delft. Her research interests include philosophical notions of time and space, specifically developed through a close reading of Henri Bergson and Gilles Deleuze; the problematic of the virtual; the geo-poetics and socio-politics of the city. As well as issues pertaining to the limits and extensions of trans-disciplinary thinking, as exemplified in her recent publication Cognitive Architecture - from Biopolitics to Noopolitics: Architecture & Mind in the Age of Communication & Information, co-edited with W. Neidich (010 Publishers: Rotterdam, 2010.

Andrej Radman

Andrej Radman has been teaching design studios and theory courses at TU Delft Faculty of Architecture and The Built Environment since 2004. In 2008 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Architecture and joined the teaching and research staff of the Delft School of Design. As a graduate of the Zagreb School of Architecture in Croatia, Radman received a Master’s Degree with Honours and a Doctoral Degree from Delft University of Technology. His current research focuses on new materialism in general and radical empiricism in particular. Radman is a member of the National Committee on Deleuze Scholarship. He is also a licensed architect with a string of awards from national competitions, including the Croatian Association of Architects annual award for housing architecture in Croatia in 2002.