This sets out a genealogical relationship between various arts and sciences; the left, middle, and right branches are influenced by the threefold classification in the philosopher Francis Bacon's "Advancement of Learning" (1605)
Beneath this are a series of classic texts that relate to diagrams and diagram making, and which remain in print today because of their continued importance.
Finally, a selection of downloadable pdfs are available at the end of the post. These include important and interesting chapters, published papers and documents relating to diagrams and diagrammatology.
❉ The Culture of Diagram
John Bender, Michael Marrinan,
Stanford Uni. Press, 2010, 296 pg,
" It has been some thirty years since W.J.T. Mitchell, defending the importance of spatial form in literature, called for a new “diagrammatology,” by which he meant a “systematic study of the way that relationships among elements are represented and interpreted by graphic construction.” It has been more than twenty since the cognitive scientists J. Larkin and H.A. Simon sought to demonstrate “why a diagram is (sometimes) worth ten thousand words.” It has been five years since the British philosopher John Mullarky, drawing on the work of Gilles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, François Laruelle and Michel Henry, proposed a “metaphilosophical diagrammatology” to defend his theory of radical immanence. And it has only been four since the Danish philosopher Frederik Stjernfelt plumbed the legacy of C.S. Peirce and Edmund Husserl for a realist semiotics, which he also called “diagrammatology.” pg 15
The Culture of Diagram outlines the way in which diagrams have come to play such a central and formative role in European visual thinking and knowledge production. John Bender is Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies at Stanford University and Michael Marrinan is Professor of Art History, also at Stanford. If you were to sketch a Venn diagram to describe all of their their professional interests and specialisations, then this collaborative book arises from a sweet spot somewhere towards the centre of their nest of overlapping sets.
Bender and Marrinan's book is wide in historical scope yet forward thinking in an important and influential way, so much so that it's title has given rise to the expression 'culture of the diagram', most commonly used to refer to the recent resurgence of interest in diagrams, diagram making and diagrammatic thought (ie. diagrammatology).
From Roland Barthes texts on the plates of the encyclopedia (available as pdf below) to the cubist paintings of Braque and Picasso, and from the poetry to Mallarme to the work of Quantum physicist Neils Bohr; the culture of the Diagram constructs its own multi-dimensional venn diagram of texts, pictures, formulas and figures, and foregrounds diagrams as tools for blurring those boundaries to focus on the production of knowledge as process.
'For Braque and Picasso, the shift to diagram entailed thinking past the surfaces that separate things in the world, piercing their outer skins, and searching for ways to trigger memories of comprehension that might be tactile, auditory, or olfactory rather than visual' p.205
' Users of diagrams, unlike viewers, are functional components inseparable from the system in which they are imbricated... Users of diagrams practice correlation to make working objects. Modernist self-reflection is not the goal.' p.72
Illustrations / Acknowledgements
Notes / Bibliography / Index
❉ Deleuze and the Diagram
Aesthetic Threads in Visual Organization
Jakub Zdeblik, Bloomsbury, 2012,
256 pg, ISBN:9781472526199
' An assemblage, like archipelagos and spinal columns or quadrupeds and cephalopods, relies on the diagrammatic process of abstraction, here described as folding and unfolding, for the connection, based on function, of heterogenous parts.
Most strikingly, the image of a mammal contorting into the shape of a cephalopod drives the point home. We can imagine the bones cracking, the limbs twisting and the body contracting. The squid is the animal that emblematizes the diagrammatic process. But it is a squid that carries a mammal inside of it on a virtual level. ' p.176
The Image of the tree of knowledge at the start of this blog embodies the metaphysics of the English Philosopher-Scientist Francis Bacon. As a diagram it is arboreal or 'treelike' in how it depicts and conceives the structure of knowledge as a hierarchy of order and linearity. The continental philosophy of Gilles Deleuze is diagrammatic in the sense that it resembles the structure of a rhizome, a web-like underground plant stem whose growth appears to be aimless and disordered.
This is a demanding text whose chapters require several careful readings and access to primary source texts (ie. Deleuze's original writing), as well as an acquaintance with the school of continental philosophy (often referred to as the deconstructionists or poststructuralists). The focus of Zdebik's book is on Deleuze's visual aesthetic theory and the visual devices in Deleuze's writing. Deleuze conceptualized his theory as a form of painting, and as such, promoted a need to shift from figuration into abstraction. Like Deleuze, Zdebik's prose is rich with complex analogies and metaphors - hence the image of 'a squid that carries a contorted mammal inside of it on a virtual level' in the quote above.
From an artist's perspective this is a rich and complex text full of important insights. It opens up new notions of what philosophy, art and diagramming are, and for that reason is well worth the hard work. Using Paul Klee and Francis Bacon (the artist) as examples, Deleuze was proposing a way to think about philosophy through art, and Zdebik highlights how a Deleuzian concept of the diagram can be used to describe the rhizomatic relationship between philosophy and art.
Preface \ Introduction: What is a Diagram?
1. Constraint and System as Vegetation: Diagram and Visual Organization
2. Black Line White Surface
3. Gilles Deleuze's Diagram (Complicated by a Comparison to Immanuel Kant's Schema)
4. The Extraordinary Contraction
5. Skin, Aesthetics, Incarnation: Deleuze's Diagram of Francis Bacon-An Epilogue
Notes \ Bibliography \ Index
❉ The Domain of Images
James Elkins, Cornell Uni. press, 2001, 304 pg, ISBN: 0801487242
'In the domain of visual artefacts, fine art is a tiny minority... Taken as a whole, images are far more various. This book is about that richer field; art appears in it as a special case, a kind of image among many others.' IX (preface)
'Of all the subjects of this "survey of exemplary images', schemata are most in need of further historical analysis and work. Not only are they they the fastest growing kind of image, but they are arguably the most varied.' p.234
James Elkins is a trailblazing scholar of visual imagery with an output as prodigious as it is varied. Elkins devotes Chapter 13 of this book to diagrams, which he refers to as 'Schemata' in reference to philosopher Immanuel Kant's use of the term to describe the visual and imaginative aspects of diagrammatic structures. The writing is dense but lucid and his use of technical terms is precise and never feels unnecessary.
The way Elkins has chosen to structure the layout of the text could be described as diagrammatic or rhizomatic, in his exacting use of detailed footnotes and encyclopedic style of reference making. The glossary at the end of the book is a very welcome addition to a subject already dense with specialised technical jargon and multiple definitions. It would be brilliant if more authors did this.
Preface / Acknowledgements / List of plates
1. Art history and Images That Are Not Art
2. Art History and the History of Crystallography
3. Interpreting Nonart Images
4. What is a Picture ?
5. Pictures as Ruined Notations
6. Problems of Classification
14. Conclusion: Ghost and Natural Imagfes
Glossary / Frequently Cited Sources / Picture credits / Index
Phenomenology, Ontology, and Semiotics
Frederik Stjernfelt, Springer, 2007,
508 pg, ISBN: 9789400705319)
'Maybe my conclusion is evident: all pictures, also in the ordinary art history sense of the word, are also diagrams - primarily maps in the general meaning of the term suggested... (they) constitute a special subset of the diagram category... we, by contemplating them, make us of... the spontaneous diagrammatical abilities characterizing natural perception.' p.279
Preface / Introduction
1. Let's stick together: Peirce's Conception of Continuity
2. The Physiology of Arguement - Perices extreme realism:
The Continuity in Peirce's Theory of Signs
3. How to Learn More:
An Apology for a Strong Concept of Iconicity.
4. Moving Pictures of Thought:
Diagrams as Centrepiece of a Peircean Epistemology
5. Everything is Transformed: Transformation in Semiotics
6. Categories, Diagrams, Schemata: The Cognitive Grasping of Ideal Objects in Husserl and Peirce
Parts and Whole in Phenomenology and Semiotics
8. Diagrammatical Reasoning and the Synthetic A Priori
9. Biosemiotics as Material and Formal Ontology
10. A Natural Symphony ?
Von Uexkull's Bedeutungslehre and it's Actuality
11. Man the Abstract Animal:
Diagrams, Abstraction, and the Semiotic Missing Link.
12. The signifying Body:
A Semiotic concept of Embodiment
13. Christ Levitating and the Vanishing Square:
Diagrams in Picture Analysis
14. Into the Picture:
Husserl's Picture Theories - and Two Types of Pictures
15. Small Outline of a Theory fo the Sketch
16. Who is Michael Wo-Ling Ptah-Hotep Jerolomon ?
Literary Interpretation as Thought Experiment
17. Five Types of Schematic Iconicity in the Literary Text:
-An Extension of the Ingardenian Viewpoint.
18. The Man Who Knew Too Much: Espionage in Reality and Fiction: Regional Ontology and Iconicity
Perspective / Appendix / Notes / Bibliography / Indexes
❉ Drawing a Hypothesis
Figures of Thought
Index of Figures.
Drawing a Hypothesis (Preface), Nikolaus Gansterer.
A Line with Variable Direction, which Traces No Contour, and Delimits No Form, Susanne Leeb.
I Must Be Seeing Things, Clemens Krümmel.
Subjective Objectivities, Jörg Piringer.
Grapheus Was Here, Anthony Auerbach.
Asynchronous Connections, Kirsten Matheus.
Distancing the If and Then, Emma Cocker.
Drawing Interest / Recording Vitality, Karin Harrasser.
Nonself Compatibility in Plants, Monika Bakke.
Hypotheses non Fingo or When Symbols Fail,
Wiry Fantasy, Ferdinand Schmatz.
Reading Figures, Helmut Leder.
Collection of Figures of Thoughts, Gerhard Dirmoser.
Radical Cartographies, Philippe Rekacewicz.
3 Elements, Axel Stockburger.
Dances of Space, Marc Boeckler.
Collection of Emotions and Orientation,
On the Importance of Scientific Research in Relation to Humanities, Walter Seidl.
Interpersonal Governance Structures, Katja Mayer.
The Afterthought of Drawing: 6 Hypotheses, Jane Tormey.
The Hand, The Creatures, The Singing Garden & The Night Sky, Moira Roth.
The Unthought Known, Felix de Mendelssohn.
Processing the Routes of Thoughts, Kerstin Bartels.
An Attempted Survey, Section.a.
The Line of Thought, Hanneke Grootenboer.
Strong Evidence for Telon-priming Cell Layers in the Mammalian Olfactory Bulb, M. L. Nardo, A. Adam, P. Brandlmayr, B. F. Fisher.
Expected Anomalies Caused by Increased Radiation, Christina Stadlbauer.
On Pluto 86 Winter Lasts 92 Years, Ralo Mayer.
Appendix: Personalia / Subindex / Index of Names / Colophon / Notices
❉ Writing on Drawing
Essays on Drawing Practice and Research.
Steve Garner (Ed), Intellect (UK) / Chicago University Press (USA), 2008, 224 pg, ISBN: 1841502006
'Even though I had stopped consciously making objects to show and drawing had become my main activity, I still thought of myself as a sculptor... I initially used the same methods that an architect would use to construct a building in perspective, but left all the construction work there on the paper... Even though I am using geometry in the drawings, the process is still, in fact, very intuitive. I do not start with an idea of what the end drawing will look like... I make some marks and lines that are purely diagrammatic and some which describe forms.'
Richard Talbot, p.55
Acknowledgements / Preface
Foreword - Re: Positioning Drawing, Anita Taylor
Introduction, Steve Garner
1. Towards a Critical Discourse in Drawing Research
2. Nailing the Liminal: The Difficulties of Defining Drawing
3. Drawing Connections, Richard Talbot
4. Looking at Drawing: Theoretical Distinctions and their Usefulness, Ernst van Alphen
5. Pride, Prejudice and the Pencil, James Faure Walker
6. Reappraising Young Children's Mark-making and Drawing, Angela Anning
7. New Beginnings and Monstrous Births: Notes Towards an Appreciation of Ideational Drawing, Terry Rosenberg
8. Embedded Drawing, Angela Eames
9. Recording: And Questions of Accuracy, Stephen Farthing
10. Drawing: Towards an Intelligence of Seeing,
11. Digital Drawing, Graphic Storytelling and Visual Journalism, Anna Ursyn
Notes on Contributors / Index
❉ 100 Diagrams that Changed the World:
from the earliest cave paintings to the innovation of the ipod
Scott Christianson, Penguin, 2012, 224 pg,
'It all begins with a diagram. Everything from family trees to seating arrangements at a wedding to bank heists start with a roughly sketched plan. In architecture it is the grand design or floor plan; in mathematics, it is the graphic representation of an algebraic or geometric relationship; in physics, diagrams may serve as the tool to aid the scientist in making enormously complex calculations. Diagrams are all around us and we use them constantly.' p.11
Despite being aimed at a general audience, this selection of 100 historic diagrams is both broad in scope and remarkably open in terms of definition. Interesting examples include: Illustrations from Dante's inferno, elegant patent diagrams for the first automobile.
However many of the diagrams are merely records of technological progress rather than instruments of change and progress in their own right. Descriptions and explanations are kept to a minimum but provide good starting points.
❉ The Philosophical Status of Diagrams
This somewhat specialist academic publication falls into two distinct part as shown by the contents listed below. The first part of the book gives a concise overview of the historical rise and eventual fall of the diagram in Geometry with the advent of ideal lines and points, and the invention of non-Euclidean geometries. The second part of the book shows how this distrust of deduction techniques based on spatial intuition (read diagrams) in geometry was mirrored a parallel distrust in logical calculi. This is a brilliant, ambitious, dense but lucid introduction for non-specialists in Geometry and Logic.
The CSLI, or Centre for the Study of Language and Information, is based at Stanford University, and Mark Greaves is the Director of the Joint Logistics Technology Office at DARPA.
Part I: Geometry
2 Diagrams for Geometry
3 Euclidean Geometry
4 Desacates and the Rise of Analytic Geometry
5 Geometric Diagrams in the Nineteenth Century
5.1 Diagrams in the Geometry of Poncelet
5.2 Non-Euclidean Geometries and the Rejection
5.3 Pasch, Hilbert, and the RIse of Pure Geometry
Part II: Logic
7 Diagrams for Logic
8 The Logical Framework for the Syllogism
9 Diagrams for Syllogistic Logic
9.2 The Linguistic Formulation of the Syllogism
9.3 Early Diagrams for Syllogistic Logic
9.4 Euler Diagrams and the Rise of Extensional Logic
10 Diagrams for Symbolic Logic
10.2 Boole's Symbolic Logic
10.3 Boolean Logic and Venn Diagrams
10.4 Peirce's Extensional Graphs
10.5 Logic at the End of the Nineteenth Century
References / Index
❉ The Diagrams of Architecture: AD Reader
The diagram plays a number of crucial roles in Architecture, most obviously as a fixed set of instructional plans that dictate how a building is built (ie. blueprints). They also exist a part of the fluid, creative process of building design generation, and in the process of considering how people move through and interact with rooms, building and streets.
Because diagrams play such fundamentally important roles within the field, a dense theoretical framework has arisen around diagrams in Architecture, especially so since the 1980's. Editor Mark Garcia has collected, commission and introduced 26 essays from leading international academics, architects, theorists and professional experts. These ideas is illustrated with a full-colour critical collection of over 250 of the most significant and original diagrams, many of which are previously unpublished, in the history of architecture from around the world.
Introduction: Histories and Theories of the Diagrams of Architecture (Mark Garcia).
Part I: Histories and Theories of the Diagrams of Architecture.
Diagrams of Diagrams: Architectural Abstraction and Modern Representation (Anthony Vidler).
Scientific Management and the Birth of the Functional Diagram (Hyungmin Pai).
Urban Diagrams and Urban Modelling (David Grahame Shane).
Dummy Text, or the Diagrammatic Basis of Contemporary Architecture (Robert E. Somol).
Diagram: an Original Scene of Writing (Peter Eisenman).
Poetics of the Ideogram (Leon van Schaik).
Diagrams in Multisensory and Phenomenological Architecture (Joy Monice Malnar and Frank Vodvarka).
The Hammer and the Song (Sanford Kwinter).
Part II: Multidisciplinary Dimensions of the Diagrams of Architecture.
Diagramming the Interior (Mark Taylor).
Diagrams in Landscape Architecture (Jacky Bowring and Simon Swaffield).
Inhabiting the Forest of Symbols: From Diagramming the City to the City as Diagram (Brian McGrath).
Diagrams and their Future in Urban Design (Peter A. Hall).
Diagrams in Structural Engineering: Applied Diagram – Engineering Precision (Hanif Kara).
Spatial Notation and the Magical Operations of Collage in the Post-Digital Age (Neil Spiller).
Part III: Architects of the Diagrams of Architecture.
The Diagrams of Bernard Tschumi (Bernard Tschumi, Bernard Tschumi Architects, interviewed by Mark Garcia).
The Diagram and the Becoming Unmotivated of the Sign (Peter Eisenman, Eisenman Architects).
Expressive Abstractions: The Diagrams of Will Alsop (Will Alsop interviewed by Mark Garcia).
Diagrams (Ben van Benkel and Caroline Bos, UNStudio).
Diagramming the Contemporary: OMA’s Little Helper in the Quest for the New (Wouter Deen and Udo Garrtizmann, OMA).
Between Ideas and Matters: Icons, Indexes, Diagrams, Drawings and Graphs (Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Foreign Office Architects).
Metacity/Datatown (Winy Maas, MVRDV).
Atlas of Novel Tectonics (Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto, Reiser + Umemoto).
Parametric Diagrams (Patrik Schumacher, Zaha Hadid Architects).
NOX Diagrams (Lars Spuybroek, NOX).
Part IV: Epilogues.
Architectural Evolution: The Pulsations of Time (Charles Jencks).
Epilogue (A Beginning of Other Diagrams of Architecture and the Futures of the Diagrams of Architecture) (Mark Garcia).
Select Bibliography / Index
❉ Guattari's Diagrammatic Thought
Writing between Lacan and Deleuze
Introduction: Schizoanalysis as Metamodeling
1. Lacan's Couch, Guattari's Institution: Accessing the Real
2. The Cosmic Psyche: Capitalism's Triangular Traps
3. An Energetics of Existence: Creative Quadrants
4. History as Machinic Phylum: Socio-political Schemas Afterword: From Cartography to Ecology
Bibliography / Index
On Growth and form, D'arcy Wentworth Thompson
first published in 1917
Cities in Evolution: An Introduction to the Town Planning Movement and to the Study of Civics , Patrick Geddes,
first published in 1915