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Forthcoming lecture at the Centre for Research in European Architecture, Kent School of Architecture, Canterbury. December 3, 2014, 5.30pm.

Rhapsodies of Perception: Architecture, Affect and the Immersive Environment

The discourse of affect, to which architectural culture has attached itself of late, suggests we leave aside meaning and interpretation and give ourselves over to a purely sensory experience of the built environment; a pre-cognitive ‘rhapsody of perception’ (Kant). We should relinquish the bad old habits of interiority and reflection. The sensuous forms and surface effects of contemporary architecture hold out the promise, as a kind of compensatory aesthetic, of immediate, even ecstatic, commune with the ‘vibrant matter’ of a new materialism. Reflecting on the political implications of this, ‘Rhapsodies of Perception’ examines the historical emergence of ideas of environmental immersion, in figures such as Richard Hamilton, Reyner Banham and Allan Kaprow, and their contemporary articulation in the work of Zaha Hadid, Farshid Moussavi, Lars Spuybroek and Sylvia Lavin.

 

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