Infoscience

Thesis

Aesthetic Space: The Visible and the Invisible in Urban Agency

Recent 'turns' in social sciences, namely the visual, qualitative, actorial or spatial turns, all indicate a rising interest in individuals. Since the aesthetic dimension always nourishes and informs individuals’ spatialities and their decision-making processes, my research explores how the subjective realm of the aesthetic has proved itself able to generate conditions that lead to action, and consequently influence other dimensions of society, especially in the ethical, political or legal realms. My systemic approach is grounded in the relational theory of space, the phenomenological study of the imagination, and the theory of urbanity. Hence, I investigated both urbanity and beauty as some of the most intriguing and interesting emergent (and not resultant!) phenomena of the urban system — where urbanity belongs to its objective realm and beauty to its subjective realm. It is essential to recognize that humans, unlike the components that create the natural systems, are capable of a particular sort of action due to their imaginative capacities that allow them to overpass the actual perceived world. The aesthetic dimension directly involves the human imaginative consciousness, which in turn activates the realm of the virtual, i.e., the realm that which exists only in a latent state, and does not appear visibly (fr. ce qui n'est qu'en puissance). While engaged in aesthetic experience, humans exhibit a particular sort of intentionality through which they bring to mind what is not visible through what is present and perceived. By making use of their lived body, individuals are capable to engage in a particular sort of imaginative play through which memories of the past, anticipations of the future and the actualized perceived present are conjured together, informing one another. Since every human intentional experience is spatialized, I investigated a particular spatial structure through which aesthetic experience occurs as such. I called this structure aesthetic space. In the last chapter, I investigate more precisely the influence of the urban environment on the way in which individuals’ aesthetic judgments evolve and mature. By considering the experience of modernity and the city as pivotal in the construction of individuals’ aesthetic sensitivities, I explore the spatial component of aesthetic judgments on some particular cases. I also focus on the importance of the urban public space, the lifestyle change, as well as on the period of childhood, which appear to be critical to the (aesthetic) development of individuals.

    Keywords: space ; aesthetics ; urban system ; urbanity ; city ; imagination ; experience ; Switzerland

    Thèse École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, n° 6445 (2017)
    Programme doctoral Architecture et sciences de la ville
    Faculté de l'environnement naturel, architectural et construit
    Institut du développement territorial
    Laboratoire Chôros
    Jury: Prof. Bruno Marchand (président) ; Prof. Jacques Lévy (directeur de thèse) ; Dr Luca Pattaroni, Prof. Michaël Jakob, Prof. Laurent Matthey (rapporteurs)

    Public defense: 2017-5-16

    Reference

    Record created on 2017-05-08, modified on 2017-05-18

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