The subject and architecture

Brott, Simone (2012) The subject and architecture. In Architecture Seminar Series, 21 October 2012, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Michigan University, Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Unpublished)


Invited Presentation on my book Architecture for a Free Subjectivity.

In March of 1982, Skyline, the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies serial, published the landmark interview between Paul Rabinow, an American anthropologist, and Michel Foucault, which would only appear two years later under the title “Space, Knowledge, and Power,” in Rabinow’s edited book The Foucault Reader. Foucault said that in the spatialization of knowledge and power beginning in the 18th century, architecture is not a signifier or metaphor for power, it is rather the “technique for practising social organization.” The role of the IAUS in the architectural dissemination of Foucault’s ideas on the subject and space in the North American academy – such as the concept “heterotopia,” and Foucault’s writing on surveillance and Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, subsequently analysed by Georges Teyssot, who was teaching at the Venice School – is well known. Teyssot’s work is part of the historical canalization of Foucauldianism, and French subjectivity more broadly, along its dizzying path, via Italy, to American architecture schools, where it solidified in the 1980s paradigm that would come to be known as American architecture theory. Foucault was already writing on incarceration and prisons, from the 1970s. (In the 1975 lectures he said “architecture was responsible for the invention of madness.”) But this work was not properly incorporated into architectural discussion until the early ’80s. What is not immediately apparent, what this history suggests to me is that subjectivity was not a marginal topic within “theory”, but was perhaps a platform and entry point for architecture theory. One of the ideas that I’m working on is that “theory” can be viewed, historically, as the making of architectural subjectivity, something that can be traced back to the Frankfurt School critique which begins with the modern subject...

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ID Code: 67852
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional Information: In October 2012, Simone presented her book Architecture for a Free Subjectivity to the University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. This book explores the architectural significance of
Deleuze’s philosophy of subjectivization, and Guattari’s
overlooked dialogue on architecture and subjectivity. In
doing so, it proposes that subjectivity is no longer the
exclusive provenance of human beings, but extends to the
architectural, the cinematic, the erotic, and the political.
It defines a new position within the literature on Deleuze
and architecture, while highlighting the neglected issue
of subjectivity in contemporary discussion.
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100) > Architectural History and Theory (120103)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Simone Brott
Deposited On: 26 Feb 2014 22:43
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2014 11:13

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