The Visual and the Verbal: Research Symposium, University of Brighton, Wednesday 17 June, 2015

Organised by Catalina Mejia Moreno and Emma Cheatle

Keynote Speakers: Jonathan Hill (The Bartlett, UCL, London) and Julieanna Preston (College of Creative Arts, Massey University, New Zealand)

‘It is not the voice that commands the story but the ear’. Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, 123.

Lectures and presentations in architectural theory and design settings are almost always constructed through combinations of the visual and the verbal. The lecture is spoken against or around a backdrop of visual images, usually slides; the design presentation consists of verbal explanations to a set of drawings. Ensuing discussions evolve through visual and textual relations.

Many practitioners from various fields use or have used ‘voiced’ forms: Luce Irigaray looks closely at the voice as a haptic presence; Laura Mulvey at the politics of the image; Jane Rendell the positioning of the author; Roland Barthes at the rhetoric of the image; Peggy Phelan at the ontology of performance; Julia Kristeva at the use of oral language Shoshana Felman at the nature of speech; and Walter Benjamin used radio broadcast as a dissemination tactic.[1]

We are architectural academics and teachers who both use and analyse relationships between the visual and the verbal in our writing, practice and teaching. From ideas and discussions around the intersections between visual, spoken and written media, we propose this symposium as a generator of new questions and forms. We will examine both the format of the spoken – whether lecture, conversation or presentation – and the integration or status of the visual within it, drawing out their particularity, structure, politics and poetics. Although expressly interested in the role of drawing, we will also consider the relations of other complementary media such as photography and film.

[1]Laura Mulvey, ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’, in Laura Mulvey, Visual and Other Pleasures (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1989), 14–26; Luce Irigaray, ‘Flesh Colors’, in Luce Irigaray, Sexes and Genealogies (trans.) Gillian C. Gill (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), 153–4; Luce Irigaray, The Forgetting of Air in Martin Heidegger, (trans.) Mary Beth Mader (London: Athlone, 1999); Jane Rendell, ‘From Architectural History to Spatial Writing’, in Elvan Altan Ergut, Dana Arnold, Belgin Turan Ozkaya, (eds.), Rethinking Architectural Historiography (London: Routledge, 2006), 135–150; Jane Rendell, ‘Architecture-Writing’, in Journal of Architecture, 10/3 (June 2005), 255–64; Roland Barthes. The Rhetoric of the Image, in Roland Barthes, Image-Music-Text  (London: Flamingo, 1984); Peggy Phelan, Unmarked: Politics of Performance (London: Routledge, 1993); Julia Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984); Shoshana Felman, Literary Speech act: Don Juan with J L Austin, or, seduction in two languages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983); Leica Rosenthal (ed.) Radio Benjamin (trans.) Jonathan Lutes (London: Verso, 2014); Shundan Yusaf, Broadcasting Buildings: Architecture on the Wireless 192745 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2014).

Share this post

News from the field

The Lessons of Rome (6th edition)

March 24, 2023 - Lyon Museum of Fine Arts The Lessons of Rome aim to propose a space for reflection for anyone who grasps Italy as an architectural, urban, and landscape research laboratory. Defining Italy as a laboratory involves analyzing contexts of urban policies...

Cuadernos de Proyectos Arquitectonicos no. 13

The call for articles for the issue number 13th of the journal Cuadernos de Proyectos Arquitectonicos is open. The call takes place in two phases. The first phase ends on 27 February 2023, and peer review will begin immediately. In addition, a second call may be...

Book Series: Architectural Borders and Territories

Architectural Borders and Territories (AB&T) offers a comprehensive series of books on architectural ‘borders’ and ‘territories’, emphasizing the intrinsic critical relationship, as well as the inherent complexities, between these two core terms of architecture....

Architect’s Books

Guest Editors María Elisa Navarro Morales, Trinity College Dublin, Irlanda Juan Luis Burke, University of Maryland, USA  Guest Author Fernando Marías Professor Emeritus of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid When Victor Hugo, through the voice of Claude Frollo,...

SAH 2023 Annual International Conference

                  The SAH 76th Annual International Conference will be comprised of an in-person meeting in Montréal, Canada, April 12–16, 2023, followed by virtual sessions, September 20–22, 2023. The expanded conference...