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Ocular Centrism and the Other Senses - Essay Example

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In order to understand the theme of the article, it is important to become familiar with the author's point of view on modern architecture and the main forces that influence them. …
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Ocular Centrism and the Other Senses
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"Ocular Centrism and the Other Senses"

Download file to see previous pages The author traces such an ocular centric culture from the renaissance era during which individualism took shape and found more application during the industrial era of the 19th and 20th century that have led to the present technological dependence of mankind, however, he also cites a few examples of ocular centric architecture as early as the age of the Greeks. In addition, the author feels that significance given to the power of sight has been witnessed in the architectural structures and the culture of the respective periods. For example, a person with blindness is considered severely disabled when compared to one who is deaf. The ocular centric nature of succeeding cultures has not only led to an increasing dominance of sight and its influence of culture, it has led to ignorance of the other senses which has also influenced architecture by making it one – dimensional. In order to prove this point, the author examines various structures of the past that have qualities absent in contemporary architecture. For example, the author explains the use of light and shadows in some famous structures and how a lack or limited amount of light contributes to the aesthetic beauty of a structure. He also goes to propose that light in the use of today's structures invades privacy and has other effects such as limiting the creativity of the human mind. With respect to sound, he says that although it has been taken into account in today's buildings, they do not aid the effects of hearing such as its interactive ability which was incorporated in structures of the past. Similarly, the power of smell and touch have not only shown to be important factors in architecture, they are shown to have an influence on the human mind itself. Therefore, by ignoring these senses in creating architecture, western culture has also experienced a significant reduction in the qualities that is attached to these senses such as intimacy which is associated with touch, warmth associated with smell and interactivity associated with hearing, etc. Therefore, the resulting structures are one-dimensional in nature and do not engage the individual as intensely as with structures of the past. Hence, architecture needs to encompass the variety of senses and emotions experienced by an artist rather than the dominating sense alone. The author also establishes that art is as much an interaction between the viewer and the structure as it is with the quality of the structure alone. Ocular centrism has not only led to a one-dimensionality of the structures but also a corresponding quality in today's artists that significantly decreases the quality of contemporary art. Today's structures are built with the idea of optimality and rationality than through the experiences of the artist. The author also cites simple buildings such as hospitals and houses for this purpose (Pallasmaa, 285-296). Human Rootedness The author's remarks are significant because of the importance of architecture in human life. Architecture is a reflection of the characteristics of the culture of the particular period. It is the same reason architecture is studied in such detail while endeavoring to know about the nature of past civilizations. Architecture and other forms of art deal with questions that have been at the centre of man's imagination ever since civilization took shape. This is evidenced in the ancient cave paintings around the world to the relatively ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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