ULGC Guest Editing The Funambulist: Natura Non Facit Saltum, On the Concept of Adaptation

In a previous post, I mentioned that I was invited to write a text for a blog that I read with a certain pleasure. This text titled "Natura Non Facit Saltum: On the concept of Adaptation" is now online on The Funambulist. The Funambulist was founded by New-York-based architect and theoretician Léopold Lambert. He is also the author of the book Weaponized Architecture. The Impossibility of Innocence, published by dpr-barcelona, if you remember I mentioned my impatience to get my copy. The book will be available in France very soon (French readers, I will let you know  about the date and the bookstores where you will get your copy. And this will be a great opportunity to have my interview with dpr-barcelona on their editorial, publishing, and curatorial activities). For now, the book is available at Amazon UK.

Back to my contribution. If you don't know The Funambulist yet, this will be an enjoyable occasion and opportunity to discover this blog. Léopold Lambert addresses topics such as urban military, spaciocide, architectural-urban-politics, and other interesting topics. It's a theoretical blog very close to blogs like Subtopia, to limit to only one example, and Eyal Weizman's essays.

The story behind this guest editing project is simple. Two months ago, I received an email from him to guest edit a special post. While being editorially different, I accepted his invitation since it is an honor to be invited by The Funambulist. Let me add a second reason: I am a passionate reader of The Funambulist.

My text addresses the concept of adaptation, a concept very important to weave new hypotheses not only in architectural-urban term, but also in political, economic, social and ecological terms in a time when changing issues are drawing an uncertain and unstable future. It is also a research in progress for future posts at some point.

Below an abstract:

Several weeks ago, I was passively listening to a French radio, an evening economic programme in which two economists were polemically discussing France's economic situation in times of economic crisis. As this discussion, as usual, smoothly shifted into a very cacophonie (in French in the text), my interest for this programme faded away…, when an unexpected comment came to my notice: one economist admitted that, in a period of economic depletion, when future is uncertain, we are forced to adapt to pressing issues. Yet adaptation being a short-term solution in contrast with resilience, we consequently have to redefine our economic model.
I shall be introducing with a definition of adaptation. While being disputed in the biological field, I shall propose a common definition from the biology side. In evolutionary biology, adaptation is defined as a trait, a process of the continuous adjustment of a system to its environments. Adaptation, then, contributes to the fitness and survival of individuals or organisms(1). Environment, then, thus, is defined as a dynamic performative micro and macro milieus, which, in turn, together generate an ecosystem, a non-linear interrelationship of environmental topographical and structural intensities, and human and nonhuman activities. In few words, environment is made of stimuli that impact its components which, in turn, are forced to fit with these changes,… or go extinct. Human being, as an individual, is able to respond to environmental changes with socio-cultural physiological growth adjustments.
Adaptation is becoming implicit in a part of the architectural field. Morphogenetic design investigates the discipline of biology — evolutionary biology, genetics, synthetic life research, developmental biology —, borrowing its vocabulary such as adaptation, differentiation, cell growth, self-organization, mutation, emergence, so on. The introduction of biological field allows a shifting spatial paradigm and advanced sustainability that connect material systems with environmental stress, the resulting provisions and opportunities for inhabitants(2) (initially note 5). A part of research in morphogenetic design focuses on how an individual or organism responds, then, adapts to environmental input. When a habitat is affected, three main consequences appear that will impact its population: habitat tracking, genetic change or extinction. By exploring adaptation of individuals or organisms to their environment, morphogenetic design explores different ways of strategizing morphological and ecological behaviors reliant on an evolutionary design process(3) (initially note 6).

The full article is available on The Funambulist.

(1): Kitano Hiraoki, 2002, Systems biology: a brief overview. Science, Vol. 295. See also: Krimbas Costas B., 2004. "On fitness. Biology and philosophy", Vol. 19, Issue 2.
(2) (in the original text: note 5): Hensel Michael, Menges Achim, Weinstock Michael, 2006. "Towards self-organisational and multiple-performance capacity in architecture", in Architectural Design, Vol. 76, Issue 2.
(3) (in the original text: note 6): Menges Achim, 2004. "Morpho-Ecologies: Approaching complex environments", in Architectural Design, Vol. 74, Issue 3.

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