ACADEMIC YEAR 2014 / 2015

Familiar Horror:

The Architecture of the Block, the Street, the Room



The street, the block and the room: these are the most common spaces of our existence. Everywhere, at any time, we dwell within these places, and for this reason we assume they are innocent backdrops for life - stages for the everyday. Yet these spaces represent the summa of how human subjectivity has been tamed and moulded within predictable social patterns. Since life and work are now one and the same, labour cannot be confined within specific ‘workplaces’. For this reason, domestic space - the space of reproduction - becomes the most strategic vantage point for considering how life itself - as bios, as dynamis - is put to work and exploited. Issues such as gentrification and the credit crunch can only make sense when seen within the larger process of the enslavement of life as a source of economic value. Here, the common spaces of the everyday become a rather insidious sphere, where dwelling happens in a state of permanent precarity and uprootedness. This condition clashes with the ideological cliché of the home as a reassuring space of intimacy and family values. Instead, the intimacy of the domestic becomes the locus of a familiar horror.

This year Diploma 14 will focus on dwelling by opening the pandora’s box of our contemporary horror as it emerges in daily routines. We will look at dwelling on three scales - the street, the block and the room - in order to construct the framework for analysing how economy, politics and form have shaped subjects and habits. This analysis will be the starting point for a molecular revolution within and against domestic space