Accepted Paper:

Lateral and linear interplay: creative interference within processional routes  


Darren Deane (University of Westminster)

Paper short abstract:

The aim of the paper is to articulate the active role architecture plays in the formation of processional routes. In particular it proposes interpretive methods for articulating the reciprocal spatial transformations between generic urban fabric and ritualised, processional topography.

Paper long abstract:

"Objects - near and far - are brought into union through the manifold gestures and actions of the conversing participants [thus underlining] the topographical context of ritual. Hence, whether disclosed in a landscape, a room, or the surface of a table, the … objects of ritual are brought into a sustained dialogue through the interaction between their various topographical settings and the bodies of the participants present." Nick Temple, Rites of Intent: The Participatory Dimension of the City.

During a procession the wider social life of the city is wrapped and compressed in a dense readable figure. Reciprocally, ideal archetypes are decompressed into, and filtered by, everyday patterns of action. Using David Leatherbarrow's model of 'Lateral Spatial drift', this paper will focus on the detailed nature of this dynamic interplay between symbolic and functional topographies of movement. It will present close readings of two case studies, both processions that took place in Manchester (UK), during 2013, one secular and political, the other sacred and spiritual. The interpretive model will reveal the spatial analogies linking these two types of social drama, as well as their incorporation of 'weak lateral space' as a tactic for legitimising the 'strong, ontological order' of processional routes.

Panel P092
Towards an architectural anthropology