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Subject Inscription within the Contemporary City

Part 2 Dissertation 2012
Emma Sinha
Birmingham City University UK
This paper studies subject inscription within the contemporary city, using literature as the site. The intention is to combine two academic papers with one fictional paper to see what they generate. There is a close relationship between architecture and literature. When literature is read a place is constructed in the mind of the reader. Words can construct places.

The reason I chose this subject is due to my desire to further explore the power of the written word and any other means of creating socially orientated architecture. Our attitude to space is important as it affects our relationship with the city. I wanted my research to act as a point of departure for my thesis proposal.

This paper uses Albert Popes essay ‘The unconstructed subject of the contemporary city’ and Marc Augé’s essay ‘Non-Place’ as sources concerned with subject inscription within the contemporary city. Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ acted as the site.

Subject inscription provides a tool by which the individual perceives himself within the built environment and also how the individual reads and understands the city as a whole. It is essentially the way in which the human body is projected into the built form. Architecture has been struggling with the question of bodily inscription for a number of years. In order to tackle this problem I conducted a site investigation by placing each source onto the site; this will combine architecture and literature. By doing this I hoped to identify key triggers of subject inscription within the built environment. The aim was to use my theoretical research to inform my thesis proposal enabling me to design in such conditions to gain a socially orientated architecture. As a result I hope the individual will perceive themselves within the built environment and read and understand the city as a whole.

Emma Sinha

Prof Mohsen Aboutorabi
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