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Genesis of the commencement oblique côtoiement stances at distance / dis-stances

This paper deals with the “human”, or the “anthrop” establishing himself. Aiming at the “real” this text relates us to emptiness or to the Thing of both architecture and the human being. This text shows that architecture is an art that one can think of as being at the heart of the genesis of the human subject. Therefore it is an art that touches the real of that human who get stuck and then avoids signification. The author takes us from the very foundation of architecture through to what he calls the “infinition” of architecture. The text begins with “intentions” which briefly outline the foundations of the theory. He continues with “acceptations” which are woven through events, interrogations and the dialectic of the human being, reaching finally the indication of a certain direction given by the sense that senses without meaning. The paper ends with “propositions” establishing the poetics of the architectural stanza logically coupled to the genesis of the human. This opens the way, not to a reductive thought of architecture, but to the exigency to consider architecture as necessary to the genesis of the human being.

Medusa’s gaze: The panoptical ideal questioned

In the 18th century Bentham proposed the idea of the panopticon as a reliable method for exercising power. By capturing the gaze, the guard owns the power of seeing in order to force the prisoner to submit. In this way, the undesirable behaviour of the prisoner can be suppressed. In the 1970’s there were several interesting commentaries: Foucault (philosophical) and Miller (psychoanalytic). This article examines the effects of a panoptical architecture, starting from concrete experiences. A clinical fragment will allow us to argue that the panopticon cannot guarantee the one-sidedness of the gaze (namely, on the part of the guard). As a consequence the panopticon has not only suppressing effects, but is also a possible ground for transgression.

Lacanian Sublimation and Verticality

This is a study of the relationship between sublimation and verticality in architecture – specifically Gothic architecture – and in psychoanalysis – more precisely, the Lacanian formula that sublimation “raises an object to the dignity of the Thing” (Lacan, 1986 [1959-1960]: 133). We begin the analysis of this relationship from Freud’s assertion in Civilization and Its Discontents that the “verticality” of man (“die Aufrichtung des Menschen“) is “the beginning of the inevitable process of civilization” (Freud, 1930a [1929]). We will then study the logic of dissatisfaction, as a producer of the big push towards the Top, whilst demonstrating that the circle established between the building of civilization and the operation of sublimation is not just a beneficial, but also a dissolute, circle. This circle shows the link between sublimation and the death drive (Freud, 1923b), thus implying the danger of the operation (Lacan, 1994 [1956-1957]; Lacan, 1986 [1959-1960]). We will also try to show that Freud’s thesis about verticality is related to sublimation, working to change the order of the drive whilst making it higher, “höheres Ziel” (Freud, 1908a). The “höheres Ziel” of Freudian psychoanalysis is connected to the “quanto altius” of architecture, the latter having been pioneered by Suger, abbot of Saint-Denis. We will conclude our study by showing what post-Freudians did with the verticality of Freudian sublimation, and what the art historian Worringer (1967 [1927]), did with Gothic verticality.

The Logical Times of Sublimation and Architecture

This article begins by analyzing Lacan’s famous formula from the seminar The ethics of psychoanalysis: sublimation “elevates an object to the dignity of the Thing” (Lacan, 1986 [1959-1960]: 133). Our hypothesis is that this operation has a logical sequence. We will demonstrate that Gothic architecture can account for the logic of sublimation and we will articulate the difference between “primitive sublimation” and sublimation as “elevation”: the former describes a sublimation that works without the imaginary – we shall refer to this as the creation of “holy (sacred) void” of architecture – the latter works with the imaginary but through a symbolic elevation that puts us in an indirect relationship with the real.

The Passage to the Verb

This paper discusses architecture and the place (lieu) not as conceptualised by philosophy, by physics or even popularly as a milieu, an environmental continuum but rather as the effect of an operation: An operation of division, of a cut, as psychoanalyst; an operation that gives birth to the subject as a place (lieu) and not as a substance. We are there in another universe which is not the one of the strong ego. An operation of inscription and a distancing of the impact of the real, according to the architect who generates with his work, emptiness where things have a place (avoir lieu). In other words, we will speak about space, which we conceive of as the effect of the passage of the signifiers (significant) (“S passe”), but also as the opening where the verb is passing which is holding us in its passage.