At the Crossroads: writing spaces between academia and embodiment

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Abstract

Abstract
Writing in the fields of architecture and urban design has become more prevalent. Now seen as a professional tool alongside drawing, writing is used to both clarify spatial ideas and communicate them, and as the building arts have moved into the realm of research, writing has become more ‘academic’. In the practice of architecture, a cartographic position is adopted in order to gain an overview, to structure, but it is a removed view devoid of detail and spatiality. The ‘academisation’ of architectural writing can be viewed as a cartographic positioning, raising the question as to whether it has then become distanced from the very object of its inquiry – space?
In the Autumn of 2015 I travelled to a small village in Mexico intending to analyse research data collected elsewhere and to write an academic paper from the quiet and removed reserve of this neutral location. Instead, my emotional response to the space I found myself in triggered a radically different kind of writing - of this space. I found that the intentions of my neutrality were challenged by this space, and that a more sense-based approach and sensual embodied spatiality came to the forefront. And there I stood literally at the crossroads.
This chapter explores the space of the crossroads of my own writing practice by setting up a dialogue between the reflexive, cognitive voice of academic writing – a cartographic position - and the sensorial, perceptual voice of non-representational inquiry - a more poetic, embodied practice. The dialogue is facilitated by interweaving theoretical positions with 3 multi-media narratives made in Mexico: Walking Luna, Perspective and 258. In this way the form of the chapter itself explores the interaction between different ways of writing spaces and the spaces of this writing.

Key Words: Space, spatiality, embodiment, academic writing, communication site analysis, perception, architecture, urban design, Non-Representational Theory
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWriting as Spaces
EditorsEkatarina Midgette, Jessie Seymour, Esthir Lemi
Number of pages13
Volume119
Place of PublicationLeiden, Nederlands
PublisherBrill
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-39431-5
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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Cite this

Smith, S. (2019). At the Crossroads: writing spaces between academia and embodiment . In E. Midgette, J. Seymour, & E. Lemi (Eds.), Writing as Spaces (Vol. 119). Leiden, Nederlands: Brill.
Smith, Shelley. / At the Crossroads : writing spaces between academia and embodiment . Writing as Spaces. editor / Ekatarina Midgette ; Jessie Seymour ; Esthir Lemi. Vol. 119 Leiden, Nederlands : Brill, 2019.
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Smith, S 2019, At the Crossroads: writing spaces between academia and embodiment . in E Midgette, J Seymour & E Lemi (eds), Writing as Spaces. vol. 119, Brill, Leiden, Nederlands.

At the Crossroads : writing spaces between academia and embodiment . / Smith, Shelley.

Writing as Spaces. ed. / Ekatarina Midgette; Jessie Seymour; Esthir Lemi. Vol. 119 Leiden, Nederlands : Brill, 2019.

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

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N2 - AbstractWriting in the fields of architecture and urban design has become more prevalent. Now seen as a professional tool alongside drawing, writing is used to both clarify spatial ideas and communicate them, and as the building arts have moved into the realm of research, writing has become more ‘academic’. In the practice of architecture, a cartographic position is adopted in order to gain an overview, to structure, but it is a removed view devoid of detail and spatiality. The ‘academisation’ of architectural writing can be viewed as a cartographic positioning, raising the question as to whether it has then become distanced from the very object of its inquiry – space?In the Autumn of 2015 I travelled to a small village in Mexico intending to analyse research data collected elsewhere and to write an academic paper from the quiet and removed reserve of this neutral location. Instead, my emotional response to the space I found myself in triggered a radically different kind of writing - of this space. I found that the intentions of my neutrality were challenged by this space, and that a more sense-based approach and sensual embodied spatiality came to the forefront. And there I stood literally at the crossroads. This chapter explores the space of the crossroads of my own writing practice by setting up a dialogue between the reflexive, cognitive voice of academic writing – a cartographic position - and the sensorial, perceptual voice of non-representational inquiry - a more poetic, embodied practice. The dialogue is facilitated by interweaving theoretical positions with 3 multi-media narratives made in Mexico: Walking Luna, Perspective and 258. In this way the form of the chapter itself explores the interaction between different ways of writing spaces and the spaces of this writing. Key Words: Space, spatiality, embodiment, academic writing, communication site analysis, perception, architecture, urban design, Non-Representational Theory

AB - AbstractWriting in the fields of architecture and urban design has become more prevalent. Now seen as a professional tool alongside drawing, writing is used to both clarify spatial ideas and communicate them, and as the building arts have moved into the realm of research, writing has become more ‘academic’. In the practice of architecture, a cartographic position is adopted in order to gain an overview, to structure, but it is a removed view devoid of detail and spatiality. The ‘academisation’ of architectural writing can be viewed as a cartographic positioning, raising the question as to whether it has then become distanced from the very object of its inquiry – space?In the Autumn of 2015 I travelled to a small village in Mexico intending to analyse research data collected elsewhere and to write an academic paper from the quiet and removed reserve of this neutral location. Instead, my emotional response to the space I found myself in triggered a radically different kind of writing - of this space. I found that the intentions of my neutrality were challenged by this space, and that a more sense-based approach and sensual embodied spatiality came to the forefront. And there I stood literally at the crossroads. This chapter explores the space of the crossroads of my own writing practice by setting up a dialogue between the reflexive, cognitive voice of academic writing – a cartographic position - and the sensorial, perceptual voice of non-representational inquiry - a more poetic, embodied practice. The dialogue is facilitated by interweaving theoretical positions with 3 multi-media narratives made in Mexico: Walking Luna, Perspective and 258. In this way the form of the chapter itself explores the interaction between different ways of writing spaces and the spaces of this writing. Key Words: Space, spatiality, embodiment, academic writing, communication site analysis, perception, architecture, urban design, Non-Representational Theory

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PB - Brill

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Smith S. At the Crossroads: writing spaces between academia and embodiment . In Midgette E, Seymour J, Lemi E, editors, Writing as Spaces. Vol. 119. Leiden, Nederlands: Brill. 2019