Call for Papers: Bitácora Arquitectura 39: Senses

BITÁCORA is a peer-reviewed academic journal published by the School of Architecture of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM since 1999. The journal specializes in the critical, historical and theoretical study of architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, urbanism, and art as studied from multiple vantage points. It is published three times a year and its goal is to disseminate knowledge on these topics and, therefore, it is aimed towards a wide audience including students, architects, philosophers, town planners, designers, artists, historians, critics and theorists of art, architecture, and social sciences, as well as any other person interested in the themes addressed in the journal.

For several decades, sensory experience has been a very active field of investigation in the humanities, teaching us that cultural architecture is almost entirely based on the visual. Although architecture is experienced by bodies (in a given time and space) that make use of all their senses, judgements on the discipline rarely exceed the bounds of a strictly visual analysis. Up until now, those discourses that have emphasized the neglect of the other senses in architecture have failed to address the overwhelming reality of digital progress, in which new media apparently only will care for sight and hearing.

The senses are the first, unconscious form of understanding spatial-temporal reality, the manifestation of the body in the world. Our experiences depend on our body as a phenomenon, and as the body is the first space we inhabit, everyone’s experiences of the world are distinct.

It is generally overlooked, for example, that smell forms an important part of memory, yet these perceptions are what give a space meaning: it is the unexamined but essential sense of smell that shapes the way we interact with each other and with the objects and spaces that surround us.

Contemporary instrumental thought has tried to order our perceptions of our environment by sanitizing and anesthetizing everyday life. In the history of humanity, eras have been defined by breakdowns of taste that transform our way of relating to each other and to objects.

As designers, we tend to ignore the fact that the senses construct meaning, complementing or distorting the surrounding world. Beyond any romantic, naive discourses, we must think critically about architecture, the city and objects as being designed and experienced by the non-visual senses, particularly smell, taste and touch, which are the most ignored by contemporary culture.

Papers must be submitted by 1 August 2018 at bitacoraunam@gmail.com

Guidelines for authors are available here.

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