Mutant Body of Architecture

August 1, 2011

The reading of the Mutant Body of Architecture by Georges Teyssot has given new insights into the complexity of sensation within the body. Exteroception, proprioception and interoception were introduced to categorise the body complex sensation and behaviour triggers into the exterior senses, involuntary sense of balance and positioning in space and the sensation of visceral organs hidden from sight respectively. My understanding of the totality of these 3 layers gives rise to the notion of sensation and the conscious mind identity reacts to this sensation, forming a loop between the subject and the objective realm. The past readings lead me to question which part of ‘affect’ it inhabits in.

What intrigued me in the reading was the complexity of exteroception and beyond the bodily senses; it also complies to the understanding of extension of the body with tools. Stated as ‘A border envelope of the flesh, the body’s armour – skin separates and isolates’, our exteroception is a membrane between the physical world (object) and the individual (subject). Besides sending messages from the exterior to the body, our exteroceptic senses also display signs or language from proprioception and interoception. Involuntary blushing or goose bumps are signs that flip the course of action from object to subject towards subject to object, this form a loop as described in Massumi’s text.

The extension of body is can be a physical or virtual one in this modern time. By virtual I mean through technological advances such as the now popular Iphone by Apple is one such device that allows the extension of receiving information to the body. Teyssot mentions, ‘As time passes, these repeated habits are definitively incorporated and disappear from our view.”. In a way, the constant use of multi-functional phones overtime becomes a hub of information we rely on and take in into our ‘body’.

On the physical realm, all things man-made are created for a purpose to serve but vary in purpose. Similarly, the function of clothing and habit of being clothe changes the notion of tool for covering and sheltering the naked body to one that codifies a subject. It inherits an exteroceptic quality and acts as an extension of the body to convey and signify. This extension of being clothed becomes so inherent in most culture that law has made it illegal not to be clothed in modern society. This however leaves much discussion for another day.

-Barry Lim

One Response to “Mutant Body of Architecture”

  1. In The Phenomenology of Perception, the phenomenologist, Maurice Merleau-Ponty also discusses how the body comes to be extended through the habitual use of tools, for instance, driving a car, the blind wo/man’s walking stick, the typewriter (he is writing before the advent of the personal computer!)

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