Light bless you

November 28, 2018

“Arendt’s The Human Condition presents a catalogue of spatially defined distinctions that associate the private with necessity rather than freedom; futility rather than permanence; shame rather than honour. For Arendt, the private is a space of darkness and violence, harbouring the secrets of life and death, in distinction from the public where humans attain the ability to transcend these constraints.” Catharina Gabrielsson, “The critical potential of housework”

When Catharina Gabrielsson notes that the architecture world does not care about the housework, she refers to it as an issue we need to solve. The modern history of domesticity has been defined by the rationalisation of housework and it has been always an aspect delegated to women. Moreover, housework has been limited to domesticity, regarding then only the private concern. However, when she speaks about maintenance in words of Hilary Sample, we can see how Sample argues the maintenance should be taken as important in architecture as a public activity. In this case, maintenance is distinguished from cleaning which is associated with the domestic.

It is difficult for me to create the bond between the housework and the lighting infrastructure in the public space, but at the same time it is closely related in terms of social aspects. The difficult part refers to the private and public aspect. As Gabrielsson reflects in her text, the housework is a care-taking practice that assemble relations, activities, spaces and temporalities, which create a background to the hidden and ignored conditions of possibility in architecture.

In this study case, the lighting infrastructure born as a way of maintain the public and private life and also to make the productive hours longer. Again, it was a need for the capitalism system but at the same time for the maintenance. We can say then that the lighting infrastructure is part of the caring system of the city as all the infrastructures that try to support the life and the activities. Unlike housework, it has always been considered in the architecture world as a service but also as a design tool. It is an example how an infrastructure can create architecture and be part of the maintenance at the same time.




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