Mat01
Walls of glass: visibility and transparence in materiality and metaphor

Convenors:
Ella Johansson (Uppsala University)
Pawel Lewicki (Europa-Universit├Ąt Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder))
Stream:
Material culture and museums
Location:
VG 2.103
Start time:
28 March, 2017 at 8:30
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

This session explores the glass wall as both material and metaphoric boundary. It can stand for a cultural borders that is transparent, and yet definite and hard to cross. How do these boundaries impact our practices and forms of dwelling? How does transparency affect our visions and strategies?

Long abstract:

Walls of glass are a common feature of modern architecture. In work places and were the public encounters various administrative systems; at reception desks; in the emergency and triage room; ticket offices and meeting room in the office landscape as well as restaurant displaying its kitchen. A "glass wall" and a "glass ceiling" is also a metaphor for cultural borders that are transparent, and yet definite and hard to cross. It can express the frustration of groups or individuals not being able to getting access, or to be "at home" in the bounded world behind the screen. It also expresses the invisibility of the causes of the exclusion, which are often connected to class, gender, ethnicity and migration. Are glass walls due to a lack of cultural competence or are there other reasons? How is one identified by the gate keepers of the boundary? Can one learn to understand, take action and transgress? The wall is thus also a cultural mirror. Yet they are also possible to see beyond and can unfold people┬┤s visions and projects. This session explores the glass wall in its aspects as both material and metaphoric boundary. How are glass walls and ceilings built up in order to expose or enclose vulnerable forms of existence, or to mark a safe place to observe others or to display power and control? What is made visible and what is concealed by glass walls and ceilings? How do these boundaries impact our practices and forms of dwelling?