Architecture, Phantasmagoria, and the Culture of Contemporary Capitalism - Introduction
MetadataShow full item record
This symposium addresses the concept of phantasmagoria in architecture, unearthing its various manifestations in the contemporary culture of spectacle. Participants from a variety of fields at the intersection of architecture, technology, and political philosophy will examine the history of phantasmagoria from the late eighteenth century to the present and the place it occupies in the writings of Marx, Benjamin, Adorno, and others. More specifically, participants will discuss its role in analyses of capitalist commodity fetishism where, along with the notions of the spectral and the fantastic, it is used to question, and occasionally to subvert, the relationship between ‘reality’ and ‘illusion’. Special attention will be paid to the present-day significance of phantasmagoria in an age of tele-technological and communicative capitalism. Just as new technologies, according to Benjamin, reorganized the human sensorium in the 19th century, turning Paris into the interior space of the flaneur, so technical innovations are reconfiguring the most basic conditions of urban experience in our time, generating new forms of ‘hyper-mediated’ subjectivity that transform the city through the force of psychic shock. By bringing a variety of perspectives to bear on this one concept, the symposium will attempt to frame a general critique of the culture of contemporary capitalism.