Architectural atmospheres: affect and agency in mobile digital images in transnational architectural practice and production
Clare Melhuish (University College London)
Paper short abstract:
This paper will examine the nature of digital images in contemporary architectural practice, as crafted, mobile and affective objects, which acquire altered meanings as they circulate among, and are received by, the various actors in a transnational network of globalised architectural production.
Paper long abstract:
This paper will examine the nature of digital images in contemporary architectural practice, as crafted, mobile objects (Latour 1990, Pinney 1997, Gell 1992), which acquire altered meanings as they circulate among, and are received by, the various actors in a transnational network of globalised architectural production. Drawing on ethnographic research in eight offices in the UK, we will describe how digital images are 'crafted' through the assembled technical and artistic expertise of architects and visualisers, within an overarching process of sharing and negotiation between designers, consultants and client on a large-scale urban redevelopment project in the centre of Doha, Qatar. We will show how these images move around a global network of localised sites during this process, as visual artefacts in both electronic form and different physical formats, according to the context in which they are viewed; and how they acquire as much tangible and emotive substance as objects with social agency in their own right as the future buildings they evoke and represent. We will explore the altered and new meanings with which they are inscribed during their circulation and reception from place to place, in different contexts of social practice, and how these images in turn mobilise affect that has significant agency in the production of new architectural and social environments, and contribute to the complex negotiation of cultural difference between 'producers' and 'receivers' in processes of postcolonial urbanism in the Arab world and other global contexts (Sheller 2009, Elsheshtawy 2008, 2010; Ren 2011).
Mobile objects and transnational crafts