Productive leakages: architecture in abject(ion)

Kovar, Z 2014, Productive leakages: architecture in abject(ion), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Architecture and Design, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Productive leakages: architecture in abject(ion)
Author(s) Kovar, Z
Year 2014
Abstract The thesis revolves around the concept of abjection, famously developed in the 1980s by philosopher Julia Kristeva. It is interested in abject(ion)’s ability to contribute to the way the architectural discipline thinks about bodies, spaces, and the relations within and between these. The interest in abject(ion) stems from the observation that when architecture deals with bodies and spaces, it still does so to a large degree from within a dualistic framework, where bodies and spaces are seen as opposites, as discrete entities, and further that when speaking about the relations between the two, a reliance on the phenomenological conception of the body as subject and space as object becomes evident. That is, the relations are described from the perspective of the subject, from the subject’s experience, and so they are understood subjectively rather than objectively. Whilst this thinking is of course useful to a certain degree, it is simultaneously restrictive, and has a clear limit point, as it does not allow one to consider the in-between and further to unravel the potential of the in-between. What the thesis attempts to do then through working with abject(ion), is map out a more volatile and open mode of thinking about bodies, spaces, and their relations. And for this, abject(ion) proves as the ideal candidate, given its ability to disrupt boundaries not only between inside and outside, but also between body and space, resulting in a moment of indiscernibility.

Prior to being able to employ abject(ion) however, one has to extend Kristeva’s definition, as Kristeva uses abject(ion) only in the context of the body and also importantly, given her psychoanalytic background, she often slips into a dualism which ends up curtailing the full effect of abject(ion). On account of Kristeva’s slippage to a dualistic mode of thought, abject(ion) is in need of address in its own right: there is the necessity for a productive mobilisation. From this perspective the thesis draws on further philosophical work, predominantly that of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, whose mode of thinking flows through the length of the thesis and who move us away from individually expelling human and spatial bodies to assemblages. More immediately within architecture the thesis looks to the theoretical work of Bernard Tschumi, who through his discussion of events, and of an architecture constituted by spaces and events, provides the initial possibility for exploring the process nature of abject(ion). Through these writings, we develop an understanding of abject(ion) as an event that constitutes architecture, and it is at this point that abject(ion) manifests a series of potentialities, that it climaxes in excess and leads to affect.

Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Architecture and Design
Keyword(s) Abjection
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Created: Mon, 10 Nov 2014, 10:49:34 EST by Maria Lombardo
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