"Friedrich Kiesler: Two or three things we know about him" Christian Hubert (published in Lusitania, #7.) "Everyone has one basic idea... and he will always come back to it." Kiesler

The latter part of the twentieth century is marked, above all, by the confrontation between the human and the machine, by the repeated redefinitions of each in terms of the other. In the age of biopower and biotechnologies, cyborgentities proliferate, spawning hybrid terms like artificial lifemachinic phylumvirtual realities, computer agents, and desiring machines
For the architectural avant-gardes of the earlier part of the century, this confrontation was developed and formalized through, on the one hand, the abstraction and materialilty of De Stijl and Constructivism respectively, and on the other hand, the biomorphic forms and psychic associations of Surrealism. 

universal theater : 
The bulk of Friedrich Kiesler's work was devoted to the design of stage sets, exhibitions, Cinemas, galleries, and viewing devices. All of this work can be understood as a rejection of the frame , insofar as the frame functions to delimit the different orders of representation, in favor of an environmental co-presence, which Kiesler dubbed "Correalism." For Kiesler, "the frame is at once symbol and agent of an artificial duality of 'vision' and 'reality,' or 'image' and environment.' " Starting with the L+T installation system and the influential "City in Space" of 1925, Kiesler used the blunt materiality of Constructivism and the abstract spatial vectors of Neoplasticism for the display of drawings, models, and objects, repudiating distinctions of scale, medium, or meaning. In these installations, a display device could function simultaneously as a piece of furniture or the model of an urban utopia. This polymorphism characerized all of Kiesler's designs for viewing, and he always sought to directly engage the viewer in a complete "environment," a term whose usage he actively promoted. 

The large early drawings of a "universal theater" introduce another recurring theme in Kiesler's work, the desire to create a psychological cosmos in a soft, enveloping, or egg-like shape, a concern that would culminate in the project of the "Endless House." In the early studies for the "universal theater", the orthogonal axes of the Neoplastic universe are replaced by the " natural" forms of the spiral and the egg, developed in large drawings and sculptural models, whose very size engaged the human body and suggested an intimate and emotional contact . These psychological explorations became more explicit as Kiesler turned increasingly to Surrealism and biomorphic forms in the installation designs of the 1940's and furniture designs from the same period. In the extraordinary "Art of This Century" gallery for Peggy Guggenheim of 1942, Kiesler created a veritable "media womb" which engaged the body of the viewer through the unusual placement of artworks, multi-purpose furniture, and a variety of often erototechnical "peepshow" viewing devices. The surrealist aspect of this "visionary" architecture results from the "transitional" nature of the biomorphic objects and adjustable display techniques. They dissolve the distinctions between the inner self and outer reality, creating an ambiguous and polymorphic relation between the great psychic registers posited by Freud in the Pleasure Principle and the Reality Principle. 

Kiesler's drawings and paintings, each one "constellated" out of two-dimensional panels into a three-dimensional whole, provided another bridge between pictures and environment, while the terms he used to describe them underscore the cosmic and ecstatic themes of his work. According to Kiesler, their galactic structures "lead a life of inner cohesion," of "correlation without connection."The "galaxial" portraits pit the discontinuities of the rectangular drawing units against the integrative forces of the body-image extended in space. They evoke the complex interplay of "connect-I-cut," between phantom limb and prosthetic, between the body and the proprioceptive sense of "place". In his fusion of media into space, Kiesler can rightly be credited with inaugurating "environmental" art.

Design Correlation and Biotechnique 
For Kiesler the concept of Correalism applied equally to "the dynamics of continual interaction between man and his natural and technological enivronments." The exchanges between the natural and the technological were already dramatized in his 1923 Berlin stage set for Karel Capek's "Rossum's Universal Robots," in which an active "electromechanical" device combined machine parts, film projection, and the production of sound as a backdrop to Capek's story about the threatening power of technology coming to life. The set's camera-like diaphragm presaged the "screenoscope" of the 8th Street Film Guild Cinema and introduced the thematic of the technical element into Kiesler's psychological explorations.

"Biotechnique" was Kiesler's term for the application of Correalism to the task of "housing man for the demands of the future". During the latter part of the 1930's, Kiesler promoted the idea of an "applied science" of building design, whose programmatic claims of were evident in the title of a talk at MIT in 1938, entitled "Biotechnique vs. Architecture: Develop New Functions and Don't search for Forms for Old Functions." He extended his use of the notion of environment into both the natural and the technological and gave a dynamic and evolutionary dimension to design. "What we call 'forms'", he wrote, "whether they are natural or artificial, are only the visible trading posts of integrating and disintegrating forces mutating at low rates of speed." ("On Correalism and Biotechnique", Architectural Record, September, 1939.) The late 1930's represent the highpoint of Kiesler's biotechnical interests, in the short-lived Laboratory for Design Correlation at Columbia that sought to integrate the technical and the organic. With his students, he produced a prototype for a "mobile home library" and was purported to have been working on a "vision machine." If he was unable to develop these ideas at the time, his preparatory sketches for the Art of This Century gallery ressemble the iconic images of VR cybernauts of today, and his call for biotechnique resonate with contemporary interest for relations between technology and natural process. 

endlessness and invention: 
Kiesler's inventive energy and flair for the dramatic kept him moving from field to field and led him to assume, and often exaggerate, the role of impresario of the avant-garde. He recognized neither the claims of discipline nor of medium, but rather developed an integrated practice that included sculpture, stage design, furniture and exhibit design, painting, and architecture. When Philip Johnson called him "the best-known non-building architect of our time," he replied that he would rather be thought of as "one of the most built non-architects" (note: these are translations. look up New York Sunday Times, April 17, 1960)

Kiesler was widely known as a diminutive individual, a perpetual enfant terrible, very fond of women and of exaggeration. His lifelong predilection for "endlessness" and continuity are variously expressed in the architectural fusion of floor, wall, and ceiling, in the "constellations" of drawing and object configurations, in mythopoeic themes, and in a marked fascination for the primal environment. According to one account, "his mother died when he was only one year old. He was brought up by a large, warmhearted Ukranian nanny. One day, as she was kneading dough, the three-year-old Kiesler crawled under her wide skirt, lit a match, and 'discovered architecture'." While we do not know the nanny's reaction, it may be important to observe that oedipal strictures and incest taboos did not fully apply to this site of discovery, allowing Kiesler's particular forms of desire and agency to remain in the "transitional" area of play, a space both suffused with maternal protection and his own freedom to create, imagine, and discover.(see also heimlich / unheimlich) For Kiesler, this realm was not simply intrapsychic. It was both the place of his own interiority and the intersubjective realm invoked by the title of one of his last sculptures as "Us, you, me" Inviting us to join him was his "one idea". The invitation is still open. 

"During the whole of a human lifetime, Kiesler remained hiding in the solitude of New York, and he roosted. Like Christopher Columbus, his head was full of eggs that he roosted day and night. He brooded upon one with particular care until the egg of eggs hatched from the egg and overshadowed the gross constructions of our architecture. In his egg, in these spheroid egg-shaped structures, a human being can now take shelter and live as in his mother's womb." (Hans Arp) (quoted by Dalibor Veseley, Architectural Design, 2-3/78)