Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's all in the translation.

There's this great op-ed piece from the NYT by Michael Cunningham, who wrote "The Hours." It's about having his works translated into other languages and how, no matter what, the meaning changes. Cunningham's happy if the new versions have a nice lilt to them. But he goes on to say that the creative process, in this case writing, is all about translation: From the head to the keyboard to the editor to the reader. In each step the idea itself changes, and then each person who participates along the way experiences something different. So it's really all translation all the time.
I think the same thing can be said of design. The house in your head -- especially for my architect followers (hey Ray! hey Kevin!) -- is not the house built. Ever. Can't be.
And that's not depressing. Just interesting.

Photo: Delta Shelter by Tom Kundig. And, yes, this applies even to Mr. Kundig.

1 comment:

  1. Fortunately, we had a client a few years back who gave us his program and then took our design exactly how it was- I'm shocked till this day but its our single unadultered completed home. Of course, I'd go back and change all kinds of things about it now. I don't even need to get different editors and languages involved, I'd go 'translate' it in all kinds of new ways now (all on my own).
    Oh, and I've got all kinds of other ideas in my head not built- most of them fueled by red liquor.