space and subjectivity > perspective

brunelleschi's dream of space2crop lite inverted

Brunelleschi’s demonstration of perspective puts a viewer of Florence behind a view of Florence. Space possesses a realness to which we are always drawn, but which will always escape the means and media by which we seek to capture it.

The first half of Brunelleschi Lacan Le Corbusier: architecture space and the construction of subjectivity, argues that Brunelleschi’s invention of perspective formalized the template for the modern desiring subject. In architectural discourse, the modern or perspectival subject…

  • is first and foremost in space and in a space (a particular space bound by a horizon); and
  • is in that space at a position amongst an array of possible, past, and future positions; and
  • is in that space as a viewer (a subject of spatial experience which underlies virtually all other experience, spatial or otherwise);
  • on account of which last two, s/he has a point of view;
  • distances his/herself from his/her objects (when they are desired objects they are experienced as being distant);
  • positions his/herself in power and in ideology in ways that maps onto his/her position in space (this last point may be critical for political discourse).

Most critically, in architectural discourse, this modern or perspectival subject…

  • has a psychical interior (i.e. the subject is an interior space) that shadows a shared exterior (i.e. an objective exterior);
  • the subject finds him/herself split in the sense that s/he is never the unity of thought action and labour that being in a position in space suggests (another way to put this would be the constituent non-coincidence of the spatial and speaking subjects).

This is the schema for a project that has the potential for unfathomable richness and intricateness. It may be led by architecture and architectural thinking, but it is the domain of all the labour that puts artifacts in the world.

The dynamic relation between interior and exterior is formalised by the processes of introjection and projection. Contained herein is the spatial meaning of the architectural project.


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