Factory of the Sensible and the Political* (Equipping Experience)

Architects have long experimented with altering perceptions of space and structures in order to reconfigure experience

At stake in this course are pivotal historical and theoretical transformations in our understanding of perception and experience that are relevant to our contemporary architectural interest in these concepts. 

Behind these transformations lie different instantiations of humanism, proximate or remote technologies (equipment), explosive or suppressed uses of ornamentation, lineages of the sublime, conceptions of the visual, reformations of nature and body, object ontologies, the invention of the life sciences (sensory systems), cybernetics and non-linear dynamical systems theory.  Socio-political agency, in these contexts, are often new tables of operation embedded in aesthetic provocations. 

Walter Benjamin wrote in 1935 that modes of perception change when upheavals happen in the history of human life.  Fredric Jameson, on the other hand, argued in 1991 that the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, designed and built by John Portman, was a “mutation in built space” that is “unaccompanied as yet by any equivalent mutation in the subject.”

Students will read seminal texts and we will collectively discuss evocative architectural projects.  A presentation and two short papers will be required. No prerequisites.