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2007 02 26
Angle of Incident #42: Seminar 4, Rethinking the Status of the Natural, Part 4
And it was useful too, because it led directly to what became a substantial (two hour) presentation by seminarist Laura Knap of certain considerations rising from her researches towards her graduate thesis—which involves, among other concerns, notions touching on ideas about feminine space—and feminized space—in architecture and culture at large. Knap sums up the subsequent trajectory of the afternoon:
About a year ago, I had the fortune of stumbling upon the writings of Elizabeth Grosz, in a neat little publication in the Writing Architecture Series from MIT Press called "Architecture from the Outside". The provocation and promise in her texts continues to excite me; the following quote very nearly haunts: "I am not interested in affirming a fixed, static nature . . . I am interested in rethinking the status of the natural, to affirm it and to grant it the openness to account for the very inception of culture itself. Nature must be understood in the rich and productive openness attributed to it by Darwin and evolutionary theory, by Nietzsche, Deleuze, or Simondon, as force, as production, as a revelry in the random and the contingent, as a continuous opening up to the unexpected, as relations of dissonance, resonance, and consonance as much as relations of substance or identity." (1) ". . . nature is what inhabits cultural life to make it dynamic . . ." (2)

Sounding out of the origins and implications of this explosive, generative thought, we (somewhat carefully and tentatively) tracked a series of points in feminist theory which are mapped out by Grosz in her book Sexual Subversions. (3) In a happy coincidence, much of the material brought to the table by the other seminarists provided reinforcement, links to other discourses, and lively counterpoints. I left feeling thoroughly indebted to my colleagues for their questions and clarifying ideas as we touched upon the disruption of a unitary identity implied by Freud's proposal of the unconscious; waded through Julia Kristeva's notions of the symbolic and pre-symbolic (semiotic), and jouissance; and grappled with Luce Irigaray's destablizing advocations for complex, multiple meanings.

(1) Grosz, Elizabeth. Architecture from the Outside. (Cambridge Mass, MIT Press, 2001) . 98 .
(2) Ibid. 105.
(3) Grosz, Elizabeth. Sexual Subversions: Three French Feminists. Sydney : Allen & Unwin, 1989.

[email this story] Posted by Gary Michael Dault on 02/26 at 06:23 AM

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