The Phenomenological Body

26 – “Visions Unfolding: Architecture in the Age of Electronic Media” – Peter Eisenman

Peter Eisenman narrates a new perception and vision – folded space. “The architecture began to conform itself to this monocular rationalizing vision – in its own body” (Pg. 557). Spaces and bodies act. The idea of vision with regard to architecture is not only vision, but also planimetric idea. However, the architecture always skips the problem of vision. The idea of a “Looking-back” replaces the anthropocentric subject. It concerns the possibility of detaching the subject from the rationalization of space. There is an interesting example – Mobius strip that is an unbroken continuity circulation between two sides of the trip. Mobius strip is one kind of folded space.  “Folded space articulates a new relationship between vertical and horizontal figure and ground, inside and out – all structures articulated by traditional vision. Unlike the space of classical vision, the idea of folded space denies framing in favor of a temporal modulation” (p. 559). And the Klein bottle is a non-orientable surface, and made up of two Mobius strips. The bottle has vertical and horizontal circulations; the interior and exterior space. Those examples are found at 19th century, but are mocked after the development of Electronic Media. The new Electronic technology enlarges our views and helps us build an integrative visual field.
1. Can we say the space is flexible if the space can be folded or unfolded?
2. How does the Electronic Media change the materiality of spaces?



25 – “The Synthesis of One’s Own Body” – M. Merleau-Ponty

This article explores the link between our body in objective space and perceptual experience. “Our body is not primarily in space: it is of it” (Pg.148). That as an introduction brings us into the argument that why our own perceptions of our body are synthetic rather than only existing is space.

There are some examples as reaching the telephone, work of art and color panels used to explain Merleau-Ponty’s theory of human’s body in space that the perceptive and physical interaction of our tactile bodies in space explicates the way of perceiving that space by perceptual habit. The traditional view of the body in space thought that our body just existing in Cartesian coordinates. However, Merleau-Ponty claims the body is not a series of individual sections in space, but becomes an extension of ourselves. As the example of art, the body is not the entity in space but only expresses the contact. Other example of a blind man’s stick, it becomes part of his perception rather than just a tool – “it is a bodily auxiliary, an extension of the bodily synthesis” (Pg. 152). Our bodies, habits and our experiences put together to form our reality. 

Human uses their perception of body to interpret the space. Our bodies are not only in space but also are portions of space. In regard to architecture, the bodily perception will affect the space distributing and is like as an X-ray that penetrates other spatial and temporal extension.

1. How does the architectural form change to suit the bodily perception?
2. Can the architects use the social or personal habit to affect the environment? Is it degradation?


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