Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Quote: 'Paradox of the Expanding World'

"Herein lies a paradox of the expanding world, for while the area designated as familiar territory is larger than ever before, people find the world less and less meaningful, precisely because a large portion of the known world is familiar only from a fleeting visit and is not a place, with which people feel some affinity, where they feel at home, where they actually meet other people rather than being simply thrown together by chance.
The meaninglessness of the built environment, or rather the experience of that meaninglessness, is one of the themes of Marc Augé's (Non-places: introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity(New York, 1995)) This book hinges on the difference between place (lieu) and space (espace), where place is defined in anthropological terms as an area that has acquired meaning as a result of human activities. Augé's contention is that a growing proportion of space lacks meaning in the classic anthropological sense because nobody feels any attachment to it. He sees this phenomenon as one of the three forms of abundance characterizing what he terms the supermodern condition: an abundance of space, an abundance of signs (in today's society everybody is constantly being bombarded with information) and an 'abundance of individualization'. This third factor, too, is highly relevant to architecture in that radical individualization affects the use of public and semi-public space which is seen less as social space than as an area that everybody uses individually.
Those places to which nobody feels any special attachment and which do not function in a traditional manner as meeting places, Augé dubs 'non-places'. According to him the world is increasingly made up of such non-places which are particularly common in the sphere of mobility and consumption."
(Hans Ibelings, Supermodernism - Architecture in the Age of Globalization, p.64-65)

1 comment:

  1. I would like to understand how one brings meaning. It appears to me that meaning must come from another source as in order to prove his point Hans needed to appeal to Marc Augé's meaning to explain the meaninglessness...