Architecture as a technology of framing experience : camera obscura, camp, and the confessional
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Throughout architectural history, the problematic of experience is mostly addressed within the confines of either deterministic or phenomenological models. Bound as they are, however, to the transcendental coordinates of a founding structure and a selfcontained subject figure, neither one of these models seems to provide us with the necessary tools of engaging with the transgressive aspects of experience in general or architectural experience in particular. Beginning with the problem of how architecture can be said to effect the experience of its subjects, the dissertation aims at gaining an insight into the constructive capacity and functioning of architecture as a technology of framing, whereby the subject's relation to environment, to other subjects, and to oneself can be addressed. In order to do this, the author first traces the constituent elements of a so-called “science of experience,” an experiontology, throughout the historiographic work of Michel Foucault. Developing a composite framework as such, which facilitates a historico-critical analysis of the work of architecture in relation to the formation and transformation of experiential structures, the author thus identifies the logic of experience as a process of desubjectification at work in and through the triplicate domains of epistemology, politics, and ethics. Once the terms of this logic are tested and further enhanced through the analyses of three environmental formations – namely, the camera obscura, the camp, and the confessional – what is arrived at is a veritable relationship between architecture and experience in the neighborhood of the categories of error, resistance, and interiority of the self. The result is a recognition of architecture as an art of organization of bodily encounters, in accordance with which the architectural frame becomes the condition of possibility for the production and reproduction of novel corporealities.