This symposium will present recent work on architecture’s age-old and awkward relationship with the (human) body.
The doubling in the title is linked to Foucault’s observation around body/soul, first set out in Discipline and Punish. There, he notes various duplications, in particular the duplication that brings about the ‘non-corporeal’ or the ‘soul’ as an (after)effect of power. To study this duplication, and the ‘micro-physics’ of power that he associates with it, would allow Foucault to trace the impact of technologies of power—and knowledge—over the body. (‘The soul is the effect and instrument of a political anatomy; the soul is the prison of the body.’ p.30.)
The disappearance relates to a broader observation concerning the apparent consequences of the specialisation of knowledge concerning the body. We no longer have an emblematic representation of the body, either on its own terms or its relationship to architecture or building. Notwithstanding the complexities that are conveniently forgotten when we subscribe to the emblematic (I am thinking here of Leonardo’s famous interpretation of Vitruvian Man), this disappearance has been gathering pace for several hundred years. Claims to knowledge of the body are spread amongst a growing number of disciplines, each with their own factions and disputes: the many branches of medicine, from anatomy to immunology, pharmacology and their various associated technologies; sociology, psychology and psychiatry; philosophy and theology; mathematics and geometry; and so on. Where is architecture to look for knowledge of the body?
The symposium will address current reflections on the sites and technologies of knowledge production as these affect our understandings of the body and architecture in theory and in practice. The symposium is oriented towards MArch students in Architecture, colleagues and PhD students from MARG and from the Manchester School of Architecture. It is also open to the wider community of the University of Manchester and architectural professionals from the UK.
The symposium will comprise three presentations, starting at 16h00, followed by a round table discussion and a wine reception.
Beatriz Colomina, Professor of the History of Architecture, Princeton University, USA
Debra Benita Shaw, Reader in Cultural Theory, College of Arts, Technology & Innovation, University of East London
Sophie Warren & Jonathan Mosley (Warren & Mosley, Bristol)