Ideology, subject, architecture: the transformation of architectural theory and the architect-subject in the 21st century

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2018
Çavdar, Rabia Çiğdem
This thesis will concentrate on how architecture is reproduced by ideology to structure/constitute the mind. I think that dominant ideologies ceased to structure the physical world (or perhaps it is easier for them to play over the physical world - power already has done it) and their new target is the human mind, where they have the potential to make radical inceptions. This thesis asks the question of how architecture affects the human mind with the transformation of late capitalism: how late capitalism uses architecture as an agent (or apparatus) to change the construction of the human mind in order to impose its ideology, through the transformative tools presented in the twentyfirst century. The thesis will be structured over three conceptual domains: subject, ideology and architecture. These three domains have a profound epistemological relation to the definition. The main argument is that “architecture” is a kind of “point de capitone”, in Lacanian terms, between “the subject” (human mind), which is defined as the sublime object of ideology by Zizek, and “ideology”; the role of architecture in transformation of the mind. The reason behind this statement is that especially after the digital turn, not only in architecture but also in all life patterns, free-floating meanings began to invade the complete social structure; every concept that constitutes societal life was displaced. Everything began to be described with the prefix “post”, such as post-historical, post-humanist, post-political, post-ideological, post-theory and even, astonishingly, "post-truth". Under these circumstances, in which truth becomes “meaningless”, I propose a neo-structuralist argument which is that to fix these fluid surfaces, it is possible to reactivate the Lacanian term “point de capitone” for re-constituting “meaning” and “truth”. In Lacanian terminology, “point de capitone” works to fix meaning between two different fields. In this dissertation, my claim is that “architecture” as a cultural form could be used as “point de capitone” between ideology and the subject in the “post-truth era”. I think that epistemologically re-structured architecture as an “interface” has potential to turn into a “meaning-fixer” in a place flooded with a multitude of free-floating concepts. Meanwhile via this “point de capitone”, a redoubling procedure that re-creates the lost otherness will re-constitute an “incommensurable dialectic” for providing social antagonism. With the awareness of new digital agents on space structuring/perceiving, I claim that “architect-subject” can re-configure itself for re-defining a new regime of architectural theory. It is clear that the object of theory has changed, and the new object of architectural theory is the “architect-subject”.

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Citation Formats
R. Ç. Çavdar, “Ideology, subject, architecture: the transformation of architectural theory and the architect-subject in the 21st century,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2018.