i … not irrational, just imaginary

I had an epiphany while slaving away on thesis research. “I’m being irrational,” I said to myself. And then I realized that I was, but i isn’t. i isn’t even real!  i is imaginary! And that got me on a train of thought that is wholly irrelevant to my thesis but made me happy, because math humor does that.

But really, what does it mean to be imaginary? In architecture, we use seemingly obvious words to mean specialized or conceptual things, co-opting the English language for our own jargon to confound others. For example: That’s quite the moment, nice flow and form. Where’s the tension, the trauma? What’s the agency? Traditional is not classical – it lacks order … or rather, the orders. Capitals are stone, curtains are glass. No suit and tie to be formal, no speeches at the pedestal, no cash in the vault. Footprints don’t involve feet, scales don’t weigh, and grading involves drawing squiggly lines. Follow the narrative?

Is there a real? Is there an imaginary? Or are they part of the same system? You cannot discount the imaginary simply because it’s not real, simply because you cannot place it in relation to the line, simply because it’s not positive (it ain’t negative either). The imaginary is very much real … just not real real … it’s complex.

Need a moment?


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