Architecture Under the Gaze of Photography: Benjamin Actuality and Consequences


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It was Walter Benjamin's fundamental insight that all experience is technological, that the term ‘technology’ designates the artificial organization of perception. and that architecture, as the locus of modern experience, is the vehicle of this organization of perception. Against the current technologies of ‘virtualization’ and assimilation of architecture to the media image industry, this essay turns to Walter Benjamin's notion of media and speculates on the relation between building and photography—as the old new media—to advance the possibility of viewing architecture as a form of ‘media’ in the organization of perceplion. From a psychoanalytical reading of the notion of ‘photography.’ the argument proceeds with the Benjaminian thesis that at the beginning of our modernity, ‘photography’ is the foundation forthe constitution oj the psychic-origin of technology Tbeessay concludes with the proposition that, after Benjamin, any speculation on ‘media theory’ in architecture must lake up a psychoanalytical framework in order to theorize the relation of technology to the human psyche. It is on this relation that we must locate Benjamin's legacy for contemporary criticism
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWalter Benjamin and architecture
EditorsGevork Hartoonian
Place of PublicationOxon, UK
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780415482929
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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