The Object Turn: A Conversation

Log 33, Winter 2015

In architecture, a similar shift is underway. Formal experimentation based on smooth manifolds and continuous variation – both generalizing models despite claims to the contrary – seems exhausted as a project. Instead, an alternative is gaining traction, one focused on a world made of discrete, withdrawn entities, things that vex and exceed definition through relations alone. This impulse decenters the human–object or mind–world relation that weaves through architecture as phenomenology or other modes of direct human access, instead tapping into a strange sub-phenomenal world that we can’t see or know but can try to imagine. It forces a reevaluation of the discourse of sensation and superficiality in architecture, opening up the possibility of crossing over between how things appear and their strange inner realities. In Guerilla Metaphysics, Graham talks about this crossing over in terms of allure, which could be understood as a combination of allusion – we can only allude to objects to which we have no direct access – and alluring, that is, powerfully seductive. Reorienting toward objects also injects life back into the concept of difference in kind over difference in degree, which ’90s architectural discourse promised but ultimately failed to deliver...

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