Transformation of the Body via the City
The primary site of examination is the sudden, and unexplained, re-appearance of the human body in the evolutionary decades of architecture with the use of prosthesis and its relationship to bodily reference for issues of post-humanism, digital technology, globalisation and science.
There are many issues I want to explore the human form and how it reacts around architecture:
▬ The Histories of architecture have overlooked the discourse around the human figure in many parts of Europe and America.
▬ There has been a renewed interest among progressive architects in early twentieth-century arguments for the geometric ordering of natural bodies.
▬ Architectural discussions of the body, humanism and postmodernism frequently refer to mid-century discourses on proportion.
▬ The preconscious topology of contemporary architectural thought and highlighting current issues.
▬ The mid-century interest in the body is usually presented to the return of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian humanism
▬ Understanding what the traditional body metaphor is, the ordering it projects, how it is constituted and how it inscribes subjectivity through geometry.
▬ Digital and biological body technologies, raising anxieties to architecture’s relationship to epistemology in a post-modern condition.
▬ Evolution of body prosthesis
▬ How can humans be tools for sculpting a new architecture using digital inscription.
▬ Framing the augmented spatial experience and making it meaningful.
▬ There has been significant impact on the visual appearance and experience of the urban environment as a consequence of the emergence of augmented public space. What follows is an attempt to capture at least some of the reality of this transformation in the inherent structure of urban spaces, where the virtual form inherent in the interaction of the media content are experienced simultaneously with the real structure of the built environment. Such a transformation has occurred through the integration of the built environment with the media layer of digital display technologies and communications media now coexists with architecture. At the most basic level, one key argument is that, due to the application of display technologies such as LED screens into city environments.
Majority of cities in the UK, at the heart are now into the category of the augmented urban spaces rather than this being confined to major international and global cities.
▬ Digital Humanity
▬ Body Spaces
▬ The Body as a sociocultural artefact
▬ Politics of the Body & The Political Bodies
Politics of the body and the political bodies are two pervasive models of the interrelation of bodies and cities. Finding alternative methods may help future designs for urban developments and corporeal consequences.
The body and the city has a concerning peripheral relationship rather than a constitutive relationship. The city is a product of bodies; bodies are predating the city, causing the motivation for their design and construction. This assumes and social structure and historical character; the city develops not to how it wants but to human needs and design, developing from nomadism to sedentary agrarianism to the structure of the localized village, the form of the polis through industrialisation to the technological modern city and beyond. Cities have become alienating environments; environments which do not let the body an abundant framework….or have they always been an alienation environment?
This view of the city as a product or projection of the body is a form of humanism: the human subject is conceived as a sovereign and self given agent, which individually or collectively, is responsible for all social and historical production. Humans make cities and such formulations; the body is used and seen as a tool of subjectivity of self-given consciousness. The capability to design, plan ahead, to function as an intentionality and be transformed in the process are products of the muscular and energy aspects of the body which resemble the city. This separation of design is reflected in two parts, the construction and the art & craft. Humanism and Marxism share this philosophy, the distinction being whether the relation is conceived as one-way relations of subjectivity to the environment; or a dialect from subjectivity to the environment and back to subjectivity.
Another formulation proposes a kind of isomorphism between the body and city; the two are understood as analogues in which the feature, organization, and characteristics of one are reflected in the other. The notion of the parallelism between the body and the social order finds its clearest formulations in the seventeenth century, when liberal political philosophers justified their various allegiances through a metaphor of the body-politic. The condition parallels of the body; artifice mirrors nature. The association between the body and the body-politic , the populace as the body. The law has been compared to the body’s nerves, the military to its arms commerce to its legs or stomach, and so on. If there is a morphological parallelism between the artificial and the human body is the pervasive metaphor of the body-politic, the body is rarely attributed a sex type. If one presses this metaphor just a little, we must ask these questions:-
▬ If the state or the structure of the polis/city mirrors the body?
▬ What takes the metaphoric functions of the genitalia in the body-politic?
▬ What kind of genitalia are they?
In other words… does the body-politic have a particular sex? Are we just surmising that the body-politic to be referred to is the male body to represent the human? Phallocentrism is not just the dominance of the phallus as a pervasive use of the masculine to represent the human. It is not to eliminate the reveal of the masculinity inherent in the notion of the universal, the generic human.
▬ Emotional spaces influenced by technological networks
▬ Today, one of the most important characteristics of electronic landscapes has been that they are supported by personal devices, such as mobile phones, mp3 players, digital cameras, portable game players etc. as the development of “G-Multimedia” technology, which has vastly improved the mobile phone market; it allows a handheld device to connect to the world. This allows a connection to a network society, a new kind of society emerging through information and communication technologies. The social network is a one of the most outstanding digital landscapes to which the ordinary human bodies are connected to electronic machines act as nodes in techno-social networks.
Machines, cities and bodies have been evolving together for a long time, and the recent development of information and communication technologies has transformed both the city and the body into new forms through the implosion of humans and machines and the explosion of the body in the world.
“the city is an active force in constituting bodies, and always leaves its traces on the subject’s corporeality. It follows that, corresponding to the dramatic transformation of the city as a result of the information revolution will have direct effects of the inscription of bodies” – Elizabeth Grosz; Bodies – Cities
Alongside the development of state of the art technologies, contemporary cities are undergoing “cyborg urbanization” in which the boundaries between human and machine spaces are increasingly blurred and human bodies are evolving into “human-hybrid Machines” called “Post-human”
Definitions of words by others
City by Elizabeth Grosz – “a complex and interactive network which links together, often in an unitegrated and de facto way, number of disparate social activities, processes and relations with a number of imaginary and real, projected or actual architectural, geographic, civic and public relations”