The dialectic of representation : the tension between the new and the familiar in post-liberation architecture

23 Apr 2010

The aim of this paper is to explore the dialectic of architectural representation within the context of post-liberation self-consciousness and to present some limits and opportunities that this debate offers. The tension between the new and the familiar is what will be mediated by the dialectic of representation. The concepts of reference, representation and precedent will be explored as attitudes towards the existing or previously existing world. Problems with the application of precedent will be discussed in the context of poorly documented histories and rapid socio-political change. Reference to the familiar world is offered as a supplement to the deficiencies of precedent. The pursuit of the new can be intentional and purposeful and can manifest itself as the negation of reference or as coexisting with the familiar. The bodily activity of design and the unfolding of the design process lead to understandings of the unpredictability of design outcomes. A critique of the tension between the new and the familiar will give further articulation to the dialectic.