Space in America: Theory, History, Culture

Space in America: Theory, History, Culture

Space in America: Theory, History, Culture

Space in America: Theory, History, Culture


From the contents: Klaus BENESCH: Concepts of space in American culture: an introduction theory. - Winfried FLUCK: Imaginary space; or, space as aesthetic object. - Lothar HONNIGHAUSEN: Where are we? Some methodological reflections on space, place, and postmodern reality. - Jochen ACHILLES: The subject-object paradigm: conflict and convergence in theories of landscape, consciousness, and technoscape since Emerson and Thoreau. - Hanjo BERRESSEM: Multiplicity: foldings in architectural and literary landscapes. - Sabine SIELKE: Between, beyond, elsewhere: mapping the zones and borderlands of critical discourselandscape/nature. - David E. Nye: Foundational space, technological narrative. - Robin Morris COLLIN and Robert W. COLLIN: Waste and race: an introduction to sustainability and equity. - Hellmut FROHLICH: The cultural spaces of Southern California: from colonial conquest to postborder region."


Klaus Benesch

I take space to be the central fact to man born in
America, from Folsom cave to now. I spell it large be
cause it comes large here. Large, and without mercy.

Charles Olson, Call Me Ishmael

Spatium est ordo coexistendi.

G. W. Leibniz, Initia rerum metaphysica

What can be more suitable for a collection of essays dedicated to the contentious issue of space in American culture at the turn from the second to the third millennium than to begin with a text bluntly titled Architecture 2000: Predictions and Methods? Its author, Charles Jencks, is well known as an influential voice in postmodern debates and an astute critic of twentieth century architectural history. a former student of architect and historian Sigfried Giedion, Jencks published in 1977 a groundbreaking study of the language of postmodern architecture in which he argued that unlike the monumental design of high modernism, postmodern architecture addresses and communicates with a "spatial" reading public by way of complex semiotic strategies. Rather than privileging an overarching abstract idea (like their modernist predecessors), postmodern architects tend to engage the human in an interactive dialog with her/his urban surrounds, a dialog in which architecture becomes an aesthetic object accessible primarily by way of semiotic analysis. If Language of Post-Modern Architecture turns on the important idea, as Fredric Jameson keenly observed, that architecture "reinforces a "spatial" ideology of communication" (n2, 420), Jencks's earlier, lesser known study of architecture's immediate future, Architecture 2000 (1971), appears to be even more relevant with regard to spatial considerations and ideologies in American culture.

While the title clearly refers to the realm of architecture and therefore, by way of implication, to the problem of space, its heuristic . . .

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