Details, details, details

I remember hiking in the Rockies and the Cascades and being overwhelmed by a field of scree or rocky slope—that there were just so many rocks, so many specific things in the world, so many details in any field of vision. In a house it may seem that there are fewer things because they are familiar, but really the world is an uncountable number of details. All man made things, even the most disposable and petty, are the sum of a vast number of decisions. Design, meaning human attention, is found in every aspect, on every side, at every connecting point of every object we make. Everything has to be specified, and, in a complementary way, most of our life is taken up attending to details, which fall in our path like so many testing obstacles, the vast majority put there by other people during their normal occupation of making things. Every detail, and every point of contact between two details, is one spot of human attention and at least one decision, although the number of decisions grows constantly, as a kind of entropy of design. Entropy of design: the number of details to be specified grows ever.

My work also has a host of details, but they emerge all at once in a single gesture. They are not specified singly, but fall into place as effects of a single action, holistic, unified, integral. Like an athletic or musical performance or the growth of a plant.


Robert Linsley, Helen, Ashbery, Sorcerer 2000

Nothing random but no plan.

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