MAKING DYING ILLEGAL -The architecture body in stress through the lens of biology and spatial design

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Mar yFar wy

2021


Mary Farwy

2021




This is not for you.


2021


MAKING DYING ILLEGAL The architecture body in stress through the lens of biology and spatial design

Mary Farwy

This is a research project investigating care normalities for alienated figures through the lens of spatial design and biology Thanks to the support of the StimuleringsFonds


Plate from ‘De formato foetu’ by Hieronymus Fabricius 1604.


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This effort is a tribute to my love; a mother. To my mother, like many mothers separated from their loved ones in

exile.



Content

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... Preface

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... Intro

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... The Body of Care - Who cares? How?

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... The Body of Stress

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Chronic stress The experience Chronic stress in person Chronic stress emotions Understanding emotions chemically

... What does chronic stress do to your body? ... What does chronic stress do to your brain? - Somatic marker hypothesis ... Chronic stress and epigenetics - Experience-dependent genes ... The mind / action / spatial environment

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... The Body of Surroundings

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... Architecture Body - Normalized body ... -

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Architecture of Joy (Arakawa and Gins) Making Dying Illegal Cognition as movement Perceptual adaptation New landing sites

... The use of technology

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- Happiness spa - Heavy Duty Love - Sensory reality pods

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... To end ... Literature

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PRE FACE


Preface

li k e th i s m i r ro red o oo o o

repeatedly repeatedly repeatedly

o

about chronic stress and its body

for alienated figures

through the lens of space and biology


intro ٠


Intro

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Film and media industry portrays aliens as out of normal creatures, that are -in most scenarios- threatening human existence. This industry fantasizes aliens as fictional characters and as a dystopian model of entertainment. Aliens are often perceived as non-human, un-known, or real yet vague. Though, in many corners on land many humans are classified as aliens, by the use of language and due to their lived reality. Starting from peolple who are living a refugee experience, they are called ‘aliens1’. This expression is used in policy texts, and this alienation is materialised due to the fact that the ‘alienated’ carry an ‘alien’ document, not a ‘normal human’ passport. Alien document carriers are cut off from certain rights on land, seas and even in the wide angles of the outer space. Other humans with other type of experiences and life conditions are alienated too, but this research focuses in specific on figures who are alienated and experience an emotional , physical, psychological and mental distress caused by past traumas or heavy life experiences in later life. I was skeptical to target my attention in this research towards alien classified individuals, because fighting the alienation stigma is a draining process. As experienced personally, the term ‘refugee’ as an ‘alien’ is often portrayed as an ‘identity’, rather than just an ‘experience’ that in principle could happen to anyone. In addition, ‘aliens as victims’ is mostly approached as a given. It is undeniable that for a certain time or maybe a condition, alienated people are victims of their realities, but later the imposed victimization even lasts longer. If someone -an alien- does not perceive or live their life as a victim, with a victim version of ‘self’ and state of ‘mind’, still in certain conditions they are still labeled as victims. After five years of living with the ‘alien’ wor(l)d, I thought that the stigma, limitations and the burden of this reality would dissolve into the developments 1 Refugee: under the terms of the Convention: an alien who is a refugee within the

meaning of the Convention on Refugees and to whom its provisions are applicable. Alien: any person who does not have Netherlands nationality and who is not treated as a Netherlands national by virtue of any provision of law. Page: 3. Source: Alien Act 2000 - Human rights library.

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and achievements I pursue. But not at all, the unseen top-down imposed burden of such reality is still oozing. Often I was invited to participate -especially recently- to talks, interviews and brainstorming sessions about ‘inclusivity’ and the ‘alien’ designer life challanges, since it is a hot topic in the art, design and architecture world, in the last period. Most of the people curating, organising or initiating those talks do not stem from the targeted group; the aliens, and have limitted accessibility to the nature of such alienated realities. Thus in many times, it seemed that those initiatives and talks are more likely to serve for ‘ticking the inclusivity boxes’ or having inclusivity reports done. In my experience, as a designer, and the experiences of many others around me with the same situation, the realisation of those inclusive attempts in numerous cases failed (ex: career opportunities for skilled individuals, asylum related programs.. etc). In past experiences where there were attempts to include, willingly or unwillingly the ‘victimisation’ card was used. In many cases it was used for advertisement purposes, unfair paid labor...etc. According to UNHCR reporting the impacts of COVID-19, 85% of the world’s people with an alien refugee experience -especially women-, hosted in developing nations, largely depend on humanitarian aid or day labor. Many are thrust into losing their basic rights and wide ranging impacts of alienation, including mental ones2. There has always been, still ,and will be many people living an alienated reality, whether it is a refuge experience or other forms of alienation. Herewith, is a humble effort to dive into the depth of this stressful reality NOW, and investigate futures regulating its troubling burdens, LATER. This is by relying on understandings of architecture and human biology. On the long run, the alienated ones that live a trauma body, are in a hazard of living with chronic stress. The trauma body is activated when we are experiencing the past in the 2 COVID-19 pandemic worsening gender inequalities for refugee women and girls , UNHCR Malysia 2021. Source: https://www.unhcr.org/en-my/news/press/2021/3/604524674/ covid-19-pandamic-worsening-gender-inequalities-refugee-women-girls.html

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present moment. Our physiology changes as the nervous system is activated, hormones -like cortisol and adrenaline- are released and the body preparing to fight or flight. Living in this fight-flight mode for long periods is living with chronic stress. Here, the experience of dystopia is localised in the bodies and environments of millions living traumatic events, emotional abnormal distress and conflict. While they experienced it in their lives, others continued with a ‘normal’ life. A real life experience of a dystopia is living the death in such realities; living the death of ‘your rights’ and of ‘your opportunity in experiencing life’; This is a closer look into dystopias, rather than the alien film and entertainment dystopia. Knowing that things are always changing, I am not looking for an end stage, or an ethereal solution. I am wondering about processes and fabrications that allow us to keep improving. We feel good as we are able to expand our capacities. And for humans as social species, to expand our capacities, often mean that we are creating new things together and that we are winning. This research is performed to investigate chronic stress for alienated figures, through an architectural lens and understanding of our biology. The body-person cannot be studied apart from their surroundings, So: What wields itself as a chronic stress body? To what extent do architectural surroundings guide and regulate emotional stress? What is a normalised architecture body?

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an architectural inflection of joy emotions and innovation, C be calibrated precisely in creating caring environments? 3 Plate from ‘De formato foetu’ by Hieronymus Fabricius 1604.

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BODY OF CARE ١


The Body of Care

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Who cares? How? • Caring in definition, understanding and practice, is not about being merely nice. Caring -for the alienated- as a practice involves power and labour relations. Care emerges as a particularly profound engagement with the world, in Maria Puig’s recent work. Puig introduces care as: “a vital affective state, an ethical obligation and a practical labor” (2012: 197). According to Puig, to care is to become subject to another, to recognise an obligation to look after another. Puig stresses that exceeding the ethical obligation of care, caring requires more from us than abstract well wishing, it is a class of skilled labor in creating caring contexts. Care means attentiveness and consideration for people, recognising the human interconnectedness of the world and the agency in it. • The ‘bad care’ is referring to the kind of care that causes damage to a certain party involved in the production or practice of care. Care is not a simple act. To maintain care carefully, is a complex, continuous and demanding process. Maria Puig -in her book Matters of Care- witnessed how care for some individuals and species translates into suffering for others, in what she calls ‘violent care’.

• In relation to care curiosity, Donna Haraway notes, “caring means becoming subject to the unsettling obligation of curiosity, which requires knowing more at the end of the day than at the beginning” (2008: 36). The kind of curious care Haraway is referring to here, expands into an inquisitive care. Though, when handling ‘care’ as a curious practice, We can not assume that all humans care and react towards others on the same level. There are even multitudes of 6


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theories -like the monkey sphere theory or Dunbar theory1- that suggest that human brains are only capable of maintaining meaningful relationships with a limited number of people. For some people, humans that are outside of their personal monkey sphere are just one-dimensional characters who cannot be conceptualized as people. It is sometimes hard for some to understand or relate to someone’s reality when they do not ‘share’ it.

Then, what is vitally important here is having ‘accessible’ realities instead of ‘shared’ ones. Such accessibility allows more fluidity into power dynamics and care relations.

1 The theory of Dunbar’s number holds that we can only really maintain about 150 connections at once. Dunbar concluded that the size, relative to the body, of the neocortex – the part of the brain associated with cognition and language – is linked to the size of a cohesive social group. Source: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20191001-dunbars-number-why-we-can-only-maintain-150-relationships.

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The previous elaborations in relation to ‘Care’ and ‘Aliens’ set the starting point for investigating those stressful realities. Therefore in the coming chapters, care normalities are investigated in an indirect way, on different levels. Specifically focusing on understanding chronic stress biologically and spatially. The last chapter focuses on caring spatial environments.

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BODY OF stre ٢ ss ٢


The Body of Stress

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— Intro People often use the word stress interchangeably with anxiety, feeling anxious, fearful, nervous, overwhelmed, panic, or stressed-out. Stress is the body’s natural defense against real or imagined danger. It flushes the body with hormones to prepare systems to evade or confront danger. This is known as the “fight-or-flight or freeze” response. The body in this threatening situation is an intelligent operating system, but the body -as we know it- can not determine the difference between a real external life threat, from an imagined or perceived threatening stressor. This makes the neurobiology of stress a complex operating mechanism. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), there are three different types of stress: acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress. Where each requires a different method of treatment through interventions, management, and psychological modalities, due to the nature of the lived environment, developmental history, coping resources, and personality. Considering the vastness of this topic, this chapter focuses only on understanding chronic stress from a biological point of view, to better understand our inner environments and outer spatial ones. Different points are tackled here in regards to: How can we define chronic stress? How does it operate in the brain and body? How chronic stress is linked to experience dependent genes?

¶ Chronic stress

— The experience All of us are built for dealing with short term bursts of healthy stress. When the stressful event is over , the body normally returns to balance within hours, increasing its energy levels and restoring its vital resources. But in the case of chronic stress, the stress does not end within hours, and the body might never return to balance for hours or days. Because of our large brains, human beings are capable of thinking about their problems, reliving past events, or even forecasting future worst-case situations and thus turning on the cascade 10


The Body of Stress

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of stress chemicals by thought alone. We can knock our brains and bodies out of normal physiology just by thinking about an all too familiar past, present or trying to control an unpredictable future1. uring intense waves of chronic stress, the hormones of stress overtake. D Grasping air is mostly heavy, intense pain would shoot through one or multiple parts of the body, a deep hollow ache in the gut or chest could be felt. The neck and shoulders could instantly stiffen, as the mind frenetically races from thought to thought. The brain continuously wires the experienced event into the memory bank and the brain is anchored to the body of the past, by making it constantly prone to the hazardous stress effects on the body, mind and cognitive regardless of the scenarios. Chronic stress happens on different levels: chemically, emotionally and physically. — Chronic stress in person A person’s body and mind can be a host environment for chronic stress when aversive experiences are experienced. Some chronic stressors or triggers stem from traumatic early childhood experiences that become internalized and remain painful and present. Early childhood experiences profoundly affect personality; often resulting in core belief systems that are created by causes of unending stress for the individual. Or some people might not have a traumatic history but still in later life experiences stressors and abnormal experiences that could put a person under the fatality of chronic stress. Nowadays, especially during health and economic crisis, many people are isolated, and more anxieties are popping on the surface and more people are anchored to chronic stress, when they already have genetic and psychological tendencies. This can happen to many people. In some cases, People become addicted to the emotions of stress that are making them sick. The rush of adrenaline and the rest of the stress hormones arouses their brain and body, providing a rush

1 Becoming supernatural, Dr Joe Dinspenza, 2017. Hay House, INC. page 3

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of energy2. In time, people could become addicted to the rush of the chemistry and then they use people and the conditions in their lives to affirm their addiction to the emotion, without realising it. They could become emotionally addicted to a life they hated. Science tells us that such chronic, long-term stress pushes the genetic buttons that create disease. — Chronic stress emotions

2 endnote

chapter 1 , 1

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— Understanding emotions chemically Emotions are chemical consequences of past experiences. Our senses record incoming information from the outer environment, and clusters of neurons form networks. When they freeze into a pattern, the brain makes a chemical that is then sent throughout the body. That chemical is called an emotion. The stronger the emotional quotient from any experienced event, the stronger the change in our internal chemistry. The combination of various people or objects at a particular time and space from the stressful experience is etched in our neural architecture as an image. This is called long term memory. Therefore the experience becomes imprinted in the neural circuitry, and the emotions are stored in the body, and this is how our past emotions become our biology. When we think a thought, those networks of neurons that fire in our brain create electrical charges. And those merge with the thought that created the electric charges to produce a specific electromagnetic field. Think of emotion as energy in motion. And all those energies can be sensed and felt. As you might expect, different emotions produce different frequencies. The frequencies of creative, elevated emotions like love, joy and gratitude are much higher than the emotions of stress, such as fear and anger.

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2.1 Scale of some emotions with different energies. © Book: Becoming supernatural, Dr Joe Dinspenza, 2017. Hay House, INC.

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¶ What does chronic stress do to your body?

Stress begins with something called the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis (HPA-axis). The HPA-axis consists of the series of communications between the hypothalamus, the pituitary and adrenal glands. When the hypothalamus receives information that there is a threat in the environment, it relays a signal via the pituitary gland to the adrenal gland, which releases cortisol1, as well as other hormones such as norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline). The resulting stress response causes physiological changes which include increased respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels. The immune system initially dials up and then dials down as adrenaline and cortisol flood the muscles. Circulation moves out of our rational forebrain and is instead relayed to our hindbrain, so we have less capacity to think creatively and instead rely more on our instinct to instantly react2. In a short term stress can be advantageous, but when activated too often or too long, the primitive fight or flight stress response not only changes your brain but also damages many of the other organs and cells throughout your body. With chronic stress, the body has no energy left in its inner environment for growth and repair, compromising the immune system. Where high levels of cortisol can also cause deep belly fat. This type of fat is an organ that actively releases hormones and immune system chemicals called cytokines3. That increases your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease and insulin resistance, and slow the rate you heal. Chronic stress has even more ways it can sabotage your health, including acne, hair loss, sexual dysfunction, headaches, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and irritability. 1 Cortisol is a small (molecular weight, MW, 362) and highly lipid-soluble molecule, the unbound hormone can pass easily through the lipid-bilayer membranes of nucleated cells. This allows free cortisol to appear in all bodily fluids, including blood, cerebral spinal fluid, urine, sweat, semen, and saliva. Cortisol bound to carriers is usually excluded from these body compartments. Source : C. Kirschbaum, D.H. Hellhammer, in Encyclopedia of Stress (Second Edition), 2007 2 Becoming supernatural, Dr Joe Dinspenza, 2017. Hay House, INC. page 2 3 Ibid. page 3

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¶ What does chronic stress do to your brain? hronic stress can affect brain size, right down to the level of your genes. C Chronic stress increases the activity level and number of neural connections in the amygdala (the brain’s fear center), and as levels of cortisol rise, electric signals in the hippocampus -the part of the brain associated with learning, memories, and stress control- deteriorate4. The hippocampus also inhabits the activity of the HPA axis, so when it weakens, so does your ability to control your stress. Cortisol in specific can literally cause your brain to shrink in size. Too much of it results in the shrinking of the prefrontal cortex5 (the part of your brain that regulates behaviours like concentration, decision making, judgment and social interaction). And also sets the space for more serious mental problems, like depression, or heart attack, stroke and Alzheimer disease6.

Coherent brain waves

Uncoherent brain waves under the hormones of stress

2.2 The difference between coherent and incoherent brain waves. © Book: Becoming supernatural, Dr Joe Dinspenza, 2017.Hay House, INC.

4 TED talk: How stress affects your brain, with Madhumita Murgia. source: https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuyPuH9ojCE&ab_channel=TED-Ed 5 The prefrontal cortex is a sign of human cognitive skills. It differentiates human self-awarness and cognition from other species. Source: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-are-the-structural-differences/ 6 TED talk: How stress affects your brain, with Madhumita Murgia. source: https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuyPuH9ojCE&ab_channel=TED-Ed

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— Somatic marker hypothesis The somatic marker hypothesis is formulated by the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio -a Portuguese American neuroscientist.- and associated researchers. “Somatic markers” are feelings in the body that are associated with emotions, such as the association of rapid heartbeat with anxiety or of nausea with disgust. According to the hypothesis, somatic markers strongly influence subsequent decision-making, where emotions, consequently, are hypothesized to guide decision-making. Within the brain, somatic markers are thought to be processed in the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala1. According to the hypothesis, two distinct pathways reactivate somatic marker responses. In the first pathway, emotion can be evoked by changes in the body that are projected to the brain – called the “body loop”. For instance, encountering a feared object like a snake may initiate the fight-or-flight response and cause fear. In the second pathway, cognitive representations of the emotions (imagining an unpleasant situation “as-if” you were in that particular situation) can be activated in the brain without being directly elicited by a sensory stimulus – called the “as-if body loop”2.

¶ Chronic stress and epigenetics We know through the science of epigenetics3 that it’s not the gene that creates disease but the environment that programs our genes to create disease4. And this is affected not only by factors from environments outside our bodies but also by factors in the environments outside our cells.

1 Somatic marker hypothesis. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somatic_marker_hypothesis 2 Ibid. 3 Epigenetics is the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change your DNA sequence, but they can change how your body reads a DNA sequence. source: https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/disease/epigenetics.htm#:~:text=Epigenetics%20is%20the%20study%20of,body%20reads%20a%20DNA%20sequence. 4 Becoming supernatural, Dr Joe Dinspenza, 2017. Hay House, INC. page 39

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To start with the environment within our bodies: When developing a disease, the gene itself does not physically change, the expression of the gene changes, and that expression is what matters the most because that is what affects our health and our lives5. In a very real way, the expression of proteins is the expression of life and is equal to the health of the body. In order for the cells to make proteins, genes must be expressed. When the signal from the environment outside of the cell reaches the cell membrane, the chemical is accepted by a receptor outside of the cell. Then a gene makes a new protein that’s equal to that signal. So if the information that is coming from outside of the cell does not change, the gene keeps making the same protein and the body stays the same. By time the gene starts to down regulate; it will either shut off its healthy expression of proteins or it will eventually wear out like making a copy of a copy, causing the body to express a different quality of proteins. And here comes the role of chronic stress in pushing the expression of the gene into creating a disease. Experience-dependent genes — If you’re living with the same stress emotions day in and day out, without breaking your habits or coping with stressful triggers, your body believes it’s in the same environmental conditions. Shouldn’t the chemical environment surrounding your cells change? Yes that happens but not all of the time. If you spend years conditioning your body to this cycle of thinking and feeling and then feeling and thinking, you become addicted to those emotions. So simply changing the external environment does not necessarily break the addiction. Because of the thinking and feeling loop, sooner or later most people will get back to their baseline emotional state, and the body believes it is the same old experience that created the same old emotions6.

5 Ibid 39 6 Ibid 41

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By doing new things -new information- we activate experience-dependent genes. These genes are responsible for stem cells getting the instructions to differentiate, transforming into whatever type of cell the body needs at that particular time, to replace cells that are damaged. We activate behavioral state dependent genes when we are in high levels of stress or arousal, or in alternate states of awareness like dreaming. When you change your emotions, you can change the expression of your genes. When the genetic expression is the same; you stay the same7.

¶ The mind - action - spatial environment

You use a specific level of mind to execute each of the daily functions (driving, showering, etc). Because you probably have done each of these tasks a thousand times, your brain turns on in a very specific way whenever you do any of them. Learning , un-learning means making new connections in your brain, memories are when you maintain those connections. When you experience a highly charged emotional event that moment becomes embossed neurologically in your brain as a memory. This is how stressful (traumatic) events shattered many emotions and turned them into memories. It’s safe to say that the only place where the past exists is your brain and in your body. The book ‘This cognition’ by Steven Chavira, linkes our behaviour in physical spaces to the theory of extended mind; a philosophical concept stating that the brain and the surrounding environment can be seen as an indistinguishable coupled system. Every object, thing, place or situation in our familiar physical reality has a neurological network assigned to our brain and an emotional component connected to it because we’ve experienced all these things.

7 Ibid 41

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2.3 Outer world of physical reality. © Book: Becoming supernatural, Dr Joe Dinspenza, 2017. Hay House, INC.

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sur roun dings ٣


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¶ Architecture body

Human beings are born into architecture and are conditioned by it. When the architecturally motivated body replaces the mind, “what’s on your mind?” can be more posed as “what’s up with your architectural body?”. We can say that ideal normatized body in architecture dismmissed many aspects of the human body. Conceived this way, architecture becomes a machine engaging normative processes, both in its users’ imagination and in an anatomical action. Following are some examples on how the architecture body was ideallised. Other examples show how to architecture body was interconnected with the surrounding environment. — Normalized body

3.1 The Vitruvian man. Leonardo Da Vinci, 1487. https://leonardodavinci. stanford.edu/submissions/ clabaugh/history/ leonardo.html

• The modernist project to establish a standard of the human body was not born in the 20th century. Renaissance was built around this notion of idealized proportions both for the body and architecture.

• In 1936, Ernst Neufert, created an Architects’ Data book which establishes a rationalization of the human male body and its direct built environment. This book is still considered as the “bible” in some architectural schools. 22

3.2 Man: the universal standard,by Arnest Neufert 1936.


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3.3 Modual man, Le Corbusier.1984

• Le Corbusier’s proportional rationalization of the human body 1984, is modulor to embody a “range of harmonious measurements applicable to architecture.

• In 1974, American industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss reinterprets these normative diagrams by adding to them the gender differentiation as well as the acknowledgment that other bodies exist and respond differently to normalized environments. He gave them names: Joe and Josephine.

3.5 Drawing by Claude Parent for the Oblique function, 1964. image source:http:// boiteaoutils.blogspot. com/2010/09/obliquefunction-by-claudeparent-and.html

3.4 Anthropometric figures, Joe and Josaphine. Charles Ramsey and Harold Sleeper, Architectural Graphic Standards, 7th ed. (New York: Wiley, 1981). Courtesy of Judy A. Crookes, Henry Dreyfuss Associates.

• Claude Parent’s work; in Oblique Function 1964, expressed the relation between the body and surrounding architecture as a single oblique line.

• Arakawa and Madeline Gins conceptualized under the name ‘Architectural Body’, the relation between the body and its architectural surroundings, and developed a form of symbiosis that resists death as a process. Through their oblique designs, we can notice the relation between their works and the oblique line sketch. 23


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• The winning entry of the Phase Shift Park (Taichung) competition by Philippe Rahm architects and Catherine Mosbach 2011, introduces the body by its biological relation to the environment. Heat, humidity and pollution, are three factors mapped and have consequences the body. 3.6 The Phase Shift Park, by Philippe Rahm architects and Catherine Mosbach 2011. image source: https:// www.istitutosvizzero. it/it/talk/nuovorealismo-filosofiaarchittetura-e-arte/

3.7 L’homme, mesures de toutes choses (2012) by Thomas Carpentier (ESA). image source: https:// www.thomascarpentier. com/Measure-s-of-ManArchitects-Data-Add-on

• In the project, “L’homme, mesures de toutes choses” 2012, Thomas Carpentier, subverts the normalization of the body by proposing a series of other bodies -fictitious or real- to imply a different approach in the conception of architecture.

3.8 Oskar Schlemmer, Theory of Costume. Oskar Schlemmer, ‘Mensch und Kunstfigur’ in Die Bühne im Bauhaus Bauhausbücher 4 (Munich, Albert Langen Verlag, 1924) 16-17.

• Oskar Schlemmer began to conceive the human body as a new artistic medium. He presented his body ideas as a choreographed geometry; a figure as ballet dancer, transformed by costume, moving in space. 24


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¶ Architecture of Joy (Arakawa and Gins)

Deleuze defines the increase in the power of acting as ‘joy’. As a corollary, any encounter that tends to destroy the relations of one’s body is considered bad and is called ‘sadness’. In Arakawa and Gins’ architecture, the human body keeps reharmonizing its parts in relation with the architectural parts and thus develops a conscience of its direct environment. The body learns and becomes both stronger and more skillful. That leads to the consistent refusal of death. In accordance with the 18th century French physiologist Xavier Bichat who stated that life is the totality of functions that resist death. Arakawa and Gins’s foundation: the Reversible Destiny; is an absolute refusal of modernist comfort. Their architecture challenges the body, and leaves it without any other alternative than to react to this delicate situation. They designed and oversaw the realization of structures they believed had the capacity to stave off death, including lofts in Tokyo, a park in Yoro, Japan, and a house in East Hampton1. They developed architecture and constructed environments that challenge the body as a way to “reverse our Destinies”, by pushing the body into movement. Arakawa and Gins wish for visitors to explore and move like children and to reorient perceptions. Describing the experience in the Nagi museum, Koji Takahashi, a curator at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Tokyo, wrote: “the small entrance room, the stairway and the cylindrical room present an exercise in perception and physical experience. The balance between self-consciousness and the perception of one’s body is broken down, the ‘axis’ shifts, consciousness leans out, is ‘doubled’ and ‘something’ emerges. This ‘something’ existed in the perceptions of a newborn child. We have forgotten it growing up.” Architecture body Nagi 1994. 1 The saddest thing is that I have to use words,A Madeline Gins reader, edited by Lucy Ives, Siglio Press2020. page: 10

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— Understanding concepts of Arakawa and Gins reversing the destiny of ‘death’

1

• Making Dying Illegal ‘Making Dying Illegal’ is a statement by the architects and artists Arakawa and Gins. The architectural fabrications they created are based on understanding of human biology, and used to strengthen the human mental and physical health, fighting death. “Every day, you are practicing how not to die”. In addition to an understanding of our biology, death has other connotations; to curb your chronic stress is to live a longer life. That is because chronic stress has been associated with shortened telomeres; the shoelace tip of chromosomes that measure a cell’s age. Telomeres cap chromosomes to allow DNA to get copied every time a cell divides without damaging the cell’s genetic code, and they shorten with each cell division. When telomeres become too short, a cell can no longer divide and it dies. From a philosophical point of view, according to the Dutch philosopher Spinoza, death is the transference of bodily extances from an entity to another; a displacement of a placement. Hens, In this research project death is not approached as the termination of a life, in the common sense. But rather taking death as a concept; an affront, an insult to the human’s rights and ambition.

2

• Cognition as movement Cognition in the work of Arakawa and Gins was very much linked to movement. The sites they created pushed the human body to resist death

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-mentally and literally- through bodily movements. Slime molds2 actually have the such cognition, their cognition is identical to movement. The slime mold is often referred to as a biological computer. It has been popular in scientific experiments for its ability to navigate a maze using the shortest possible route to food source and for it is used to confirm transportation networks efficiency. The slime mold coordinates itself through sensory feedback with its environment. In one of the artist Jenna Sutela works, the slime mold navigates a three dimensional maze inside a spherical micro environment. In addition, the behavior of slime molds when they experience stressful conditions, is interesting. When separated during times of stress, they gather and some of them develop into spore generating fruiting bodies. Biologists find this weirdly interesting in relation to their cognition (identical to movement), and because of their ability to change their sociology and cooperations.

3.9 © Jenna Sutela, Orbs (2016). Physarum polycephalum, agar and oats on a silver 3D print of the Minakata Mandala, infrared light rod with engravings. Photo by Mikko Gaestel. source: https:// rhizome.org/ editorial/2016/ aug/16/slimeintelligence/

3.10 © Mycetozoa from Ernst Haeckel’s 1904 Kunstformen der Natur (Artforms of Nature). source: https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Slime_mold

2 A slim mold is a simple organism that consists of an acellular mass of creeping gelatinous protoplasm containing nuclei, or a mass of amoeboid cells. When it reaches a certain size it forms a large number of spore cases. source: https://www. lexico.com/definition/slime_mould

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3

• Perceptual adaptation

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• Perception Arakawa and Gins contended that perception is a complex activity composed of multiple ‘microevents’. People understand the relationships between things in space in terms of a small number of elementary schematic mental images. Imagine a ball on a table. The relation ‘o’ has three parts: 1. The ball is in

contact

n

with the table. 2. It is

3. it is

o s upprted

v e r t i c a ll y

oriented with respect to the table.

by the table.

Not every language has a concept ‘on’, but every language has the concepts ‘Contact’, ‘Vertical Orientation’, and ‘Support’. Each of these is an elementary image-schema. Others Include: ‘Container’ defining in and out, and out, ‘Path’ defining to and from, and so on. We also have basic body schemas: head, trunk, arms, legs, front, back and basic face. Every complex mental image we have is made up of a collection of these elementary image28


The Body of Surroundings

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schemas. Terry Regier’s research, published in his book The Human Semantic Potential, suggests that our elementary image-schemas arise from inborn structures of our bodies and brains, plus very basic common experiences. . • The brain builds a trustworthy reality using the information it gets from the surrounding environment, including image schemas. Arakawa and Gins worked on altering the perception of the spaces they built, and adapting the body to it. There are also modern works that try to alter the perception like the work of the artist Xin Liu. She designed glasses that make you see your surrounding environment upside down. In this way what is perceived is always filtered by cognition, where the brain takes what it remembers and unscramble the input into what it knows. This ability of perceptual adaptation does not only work on image recognition but also on the body. For example, holding a pencil in someone’s mouth as if they are smiling ends up getting them into a better mood because it activates the same muscles as smiling. This is a simple DIY way of hacking one’s biology. Context > cognition > perception > reality Perception is a fabrication of your mind. We form our versions of reality based on what we perceive through our senses, cognition and mind that is shaped by our context.

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The Body of Surroundings

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3.9 Arakawa and Gins, Reversible Destiny Lofts, Mitaka, Kitchen and Sphere Room, 200. © photo: Masataka Nakano

4

• New landing sites On a daily basis we fluctuate between a normative perception of ourselves, the world around us ,and a much more dynamic and variable self; a multiplicity of sentiments, directions, actions. This breakdown of thought is what Arakawa and Gins attempted to prolong. An invention which provides the opportunity for the human to realign herself and create a new spectrum of selves; of landing sites. According to Arakawa and Gins, the world is composed of three types of landing sites: perceptual, imagining, and architectural. They see their job as forcing you to create new landing sites by systematically removing and reconfiguring your old ones. The body is redirected; the paths to the old landing sites are blocked. New perceptual landing sites are installed, new paths to physical landing sites inserted. Straight paths are made curved. You can no longer just walk through the room with your old body posture. The body must change. By using architecture to challenge perception and cognition, the imagination is stimulated. One of those examples is The Reversible Destiny House, where Identical sets of furniture stand similarly positioned one above the other within the upper and the lower altered labyrinths, with the furniture of the upper region hanging upside down from the ceiling. 30


TECH NO LOGY ٤


The use of technology

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— Intro We are challenged to rethink what is the future of caring spatial environments and what it means to be human in a highly technologized environment. Technology is something to acknowledge while designing architectural contexts for the future. Technologies emerging throughout time, do formulate the way we live, act, stress and proceed. “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us” as the Canadian philosopher; Marshall McLuhan, once said. When looking along examples of technology tools that played a role in forming our relations to spatial surroundings and realities, a long list goes: • The stone artifact was the first primitive extension of our body; a survival tool. • Then the fire came as one of the oldest milestones of development; a radical technology for nutritions1. • After that writing became a way to capture thoughts; power through information technology. • Later, money evolved as a technology to express regulated exchange; technology of value. • In modern times, the internet is a mass communication technology for hive mindset. “We persist a long time, and make big changes between generations. We use cognition to come up with new intelligence while we presist” Joanna Bryson, Is AI Changing us?, TEDxCERN, November 2018. Human, perception, cognition and technology are always in constant weave. So as designers that construct architectural contexts, the use of technology should not be missed in architectural fabrications of the future. Charles Fort, an American writer and paranormal researcher, stated that not each time we have

1 When Fire Met Food, The Brains Of Early Humans Grew Bigger : The Salt Because we had better food, our brains grew bigger than those of our primate cousins, scientists say. Early humans cooked, which makes meat and veggies more digestible and nutrients more available to the body. source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/10/24/163536159/when-fire-met-meat-the-brains-of-early-humans-grew-bigger?t=1630785178110

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The use of technology

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a new discovery in science we have to rebuild the old science. He actually said that science itself is just a period of thinking, and what happened before is what he called the dominance of religion and what is forthcoming is what he called the dominance of wider inclusions. This wider inclusion of technologies and biological undestandings of the ‘architecture body’ in creating spatial environments allows the creation of new aliences if spaces that cares for the psych and health of individuals. As part of this research project some spatial examples that weaved the use of technology, are listed. The following spatial examples, did focus on using modern technologies in fabricating a spatial context that deals with human emotions, sensations and perception.

1

• Happiness spa, by Xin Liu The artist and engineer Liu worked on a happiness spa experience in one of her projects, to regulate stress levels in the body. In this spatial context, she used technologies to stimulate the ‘body’ for an experience of ‘joy’ in a format of a spa. That is by integrating in the space technologies of: bone conduction sound massage, use of placebo pills, tickle fan, light strobes with vibrated hands and touches and others. The knowledge from science and technology were used in the fabrication of props, sounds and emotional experiences as design parameters.

4.1 © Xin Liu in collaboration with hotmilksfoundation, Happiness spa https://www.xxxxxxxxxinliu.com/happiness-spa

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The use of technology

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2

• Heavy Duty Love for Future Sensitive Humans, By Lucy Mcrae. Heavy Duty Love is a mental health prop existent as a tactile domestic mechanical structure compensating for a lack of human touch. This machine ​​ develops new types of sensitivities and neurobiological quirks. The machinewearables are mini architectures that nurture and connect the body to the device. Large furniture-like cushions made from tarpaulin, carpet underlay and industrial velcro, surround the body’s perimetre. Lean against the machine, and you’re ready to be squeezed. The machine is fabricated with mental health in mind, designed to transmit strength through sensitivity, allowing womb-like connectivity sensations. This speculative domestic machine is an example that intersects architecture, science and biotech to create architectures of joy. Aside from that, the main goal of this design is to facilitate a touch sensation for In vitro2 babies that are made in labs and they miss the touch of a mother’s womb. In the heavy duty love project, gene edited babies grew in alienation to a mother womb, and the innovative context of this project is based on providing a sense of touch for the alienated figures (babies) grown in labs.

4.2

© Lucy Mcrae, Heavy Duty Love for

Future Sensitive Humans https://www.lucymcrae.net/cares

2 In vitro studies are performed with microorganisms, cells, or biological molecules outside their normal biological context. source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ In_vitro

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The use of technology

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3

• Sensory reality pods, By Sensiks. Sensiks is a platform for sensory reality. They design their sensory experiences for improving quality of life, PTSD and other causes. The core of the sensory realities is based on : Neurobiological studies that showed that signals delivered via different sensory modalities interact at multiple processing levels in the brain and can alter perception and thus the bodily and mental state of a person. The whole reality is based on merging between scientific and technologised knowledges in creating caring sensory contexts. This is done by hacking the brain through artificial senses (AS), and triggering a multisensory holistic percept of an environment.

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The use of technology

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36


To END ٥


To end

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As this research focused on investigating understandings regarding chronic stress bioligically, and spatial concepts and examples dealing with human emotions and burdens. Different understandings are gathered biologically and spatially:

Past or present stressful (traumatic) experiences are stored in our body (momory bank). Living the past constantly: physicall, chemically and emotionally, is living with chronic stress. And very object, thing, place or situation we live with in our familiar physical reality, has a neurological network assigned to it in our brain, and an emotional component, that is traslated into emotions with different frequinces. Those assigned emotions affect the way we behave and react, where the environment within our selves co-operate with the environment outside; The extended mind. Becoming addicted to the emotions of stress (feeling-thinking loop) activates the experience dependent genes, that can change the expression of some health genes, pushing the genetic buttoms for disease. Though, changing the information recepted by our cells chemically; affecting our emotions, can retreat to the expression of health.

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To end

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To trigger the emotions of joy in counter to the emotions of stress, perception and congnition are key factors. To begin with the relation between our brains and physical environments; this relation includes image-schemas. And those image-schemas contribute to forming our perception, and are filterd by our congnition. The perception is a fabrication of the mind; we form our versions of reality based on what we perceive through our senses, emotions, cognition and mind, that is shaped by our context. This is what Arakawa and Gins called perceptual adaptation. And a way to hack our perception and cognition, in order to stimulate more of the joy emotions, is by creating new landing sites in our spatial fabrications. New landing sites means a much more dynamic and variable self; a multiplicity of sentiments, directions, actions, by triggering the body to keep breaking the old movement patterns and providing a constant variables of image-schemas. New landing sites is an architectural fabrication challenging perception and cognition, into stimulating the imagination and triggering the emotions of Joy. Different spatial examples used innovative technologies to deal with human emotions, but in the case of chronicc stress espesifically :

What is the spatial fabrication of the future the can merge between the different biological and spatial previous understandings stimulating joy emotions?

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To end

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40


Literature

- Arakawa and Gins , We have decided not to die, Guggenheim Museum Publications, 1997. - A Madeline Gins reader edited by Lucy Ives, The saddest thing is that I have to use words, Siglio Press 2020. - Hal Foster, Design and Crime, Verso 2002. - Dr Joe Dinspenza, Becoming supernatural, Hay House, INC 2017. - Donna J. Haraway, staying with the trouble, Duke university press Durham and London 2016. - Anna Lowenhaupt tsing, The mushroom at the end of the world, Princton University press 2015. - Maria Puig de La Bellacasa, Matters of Care, University Of Minnesota Press 2017. - Franziska Lautenbach, Sylvain Laborde, Performance Psychology, The Influence of Hormonal Stress on Performance (Performance psychology) 2016. - J.M. Mullington, in Encyclopedia of Neuroscience ,Endocrine Function During Sleep and Sleep Deprivation 2009. - S.H. Liening,R.A. Josephs, in Encyclopedia of Human Behavior (Second Edition), 2012. - R. Yehuda, in Encyclopedia of Stress (Second Edition), 2007.






Mary Farwy

2021