Marking Presence

Abstract 

Much has been written about the visual understanding of space through perspectival constructs, with emphasis given to an assumed static observer. This paper aims to find new innovative ways of understanding our dynamic bodily relationship with our surroundings, by including a sensory investigation of every-day experiences of our encounters with buildings, which are often overlooked. The paper will explore the body in relationship to the built environment, and the proprioception of bodies and buildings. It will be based on our current research, investigating ways of mapping and notating bodies and their responses to architectural space. It will look at what types of notation are appropriate, and how these findings can be used to affect and enhance the design and building process. The aim is to develop scores through an investigation of various forms of notation that emphases the sensory, and our experiential perception and response to space.

The paper will look at a number of graphic representations including: dance notation, language, architectural plans, maps, sketches, drawings and diagrams. In order to investigate the possibilities for considering the relationship between body and building, an exchange will be used between the disciplines of architecture, interior design and dance by considering the body moving through a series of spaces, and the act of mark-making as a method of recording sensory response.  The results of the exchange offer new ways to describe and represent space that take place through an evolving process, drawing in the materiality of the building, its tactility, its surface qualities, and felt language. Insights have been gained into how we perceive space offering new ways to describe and develop design interventions informed by the sensory. The project develops a broader set of linguistic possibilities to engage with the built environment and a grammar of notation, with a choreographic score that describes and activates the moving body in the built environment.

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