This the abstract for keynote lecture I will be presenting, at the kind invitation of Helena Mattsson and Catharina Gabrielsson, for the conference they are organising at KTH Stockholm: The Architecture of Deregulations: Postmodernism, Politics and the Built Environment in Europe 1975-1995, March 10-12, 2016. Details here.
The discourse of immediacy and affect in architecture – as promulgated by figures such as Farshid Moussavi, Sylvia Lavin and Lars Spuybroek – affirms the immersion of the subject in environments designed to be felt rather than interpreted. Affect is supposed to liberate the subject from the now unnecessary labour of cognition. This is entirely consonant with neoliberal models of the subject as necessarily ignorant, to the imperative that it give itself over to the trust of processes it cannot, itself, aspire to know or control, to processes rendered efficient and sensually appealing through the experience of architecture. Challenging this discourse, the Deleuzian origins of the affective turn, and their further promotion by Brian Massumi, are critically interpreted, and the operation of affect within contemporary architectures of neoliberalism examined.