Affect and feeling, body and soul

November 21, 2012

[when the atmosphere is too hot ceramic tile is an appeal to take my shoes off and walk on its cool refreshing surface]

Both readings introduce the lector to the term “affect-affection”. There are many ways of describing it but they always agree in the fact that “affection” is an abstract term, “unformed and unstructured”, and because of that it can be transmitted between bodies. So we can say that bodies affect other ones.

Our body is affected by many other extern agents in our environment. How can a space influence in our conduct? It is dark outside. Why do I switch off the general light in this room while writing these words? I only turn on the bed table light next to me so that the atmosphere is less aggressive, my body –my eyes– prefer to work in this kind of space, otherwise it would be too shining and could not focus on the task because they would not be comfortable.

Lighting is from my experience one of the most relevant aspects when talking about space and its affection on the user’s body. When it is 5 a.m. and the nightclub is about to close they only need to turn on the lights and people automatically stop dancing, even if the music is still going on. Light also affects the color and we are constantly affected by it.

However, not every user would be affected in the same way. It depends on the personal experience and cultural backgrounds. A clear example is the general wish of having natural lightened spaces in occidental cultures and on the contrary the shadow’s search in oriental cultures.

Even so there are many other aspects in a space, apart from lighting, that affect our body; the temperature, smells, material and its texture, … and every user will experience it depending on culture and memories.

For instance ceramic tiles in a space affect me in a positive way; because of their neutral smell, the warm color, the cool surface, and the traditional aspect in the region I come from, they are all good affections for my body. And after being affected my brain process the information given to my body, and then my “soul” starts to feel.

Can the “soul” be affected?

-Anna B-

Nigel Thrift, ‘Spatialities of Feeling’ in Non-Representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect, London: Routledge, 2008.

Eric Shouse, ‘Feeling, Emotion, Affect’, in Melissa Gregg, ed. ‘Affect.’ M/C Journal 8.6 (2005). 25 Nov. 2011


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