Savage Mind to Savage Machine

Architecture, Technology, and the Making of Magical Thought

Ginger Nolan

“Savage Mind to Savage Machine: Architecture, Technology, and the Making of Magical Thought” examines a pervasive but subtle undercurrent to modernist design, according to which “savage thought” was conceived as a way to uncover the basic mechanisms of human intelligence. Theories of human intelligence were foundational to new processes and technologies of design. Drawing from work in the social sciences, architects believed that the elemental structures of human thought could be translated into the elemental structures of architectural design, ultimately tending toward the invention of computational design technologies. Refuting the longstanding notion that the disenchantment of the linguistic sign served as the epistemic foundation of European “modernity,” the book shows that, on the contrary, “modernity” has been long engaged in efforts to circumvent the arbitrariness of the linguistic signifier through aesthetic technologies intended to magically reunite nature and representation.