Play and the production of meaning in an urban landscape

Stevens, Q. T. (2002). Play and the production of meaning in an urban landscape. In: J. P. Macarthur and A. Moulis, Additions to architectural history : Nineteenth annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. Additions to Architectural History, XIXth Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, Brisbane, New Farm Powerhouse, (). 4-7 October, 2002.


Author Stevens, Q. T.
Title of paper Play and the production of meaning in an urban landscape
Conference name Additions to Architectural History, XIXth Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
Conference location Brisbane, New Farm Powerhouse
Conference dates 4-7 October, 2002
Proceedings title Additions to architectural history : Nineteenth annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
Place of Publication Brisbane, Australia
Publisher Society of Architectural Historians, Australia & New Zealand
Publication Year 2002
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 1864996471
Editor J. P. Macarthur
A. Moulis
Total pages 12
Collection year 2002
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
This paper examines the complex role which the urban landscape plays in the representation and transmission of social meanings. Whilst the city resonates with memories of past events and symbols of cultural beliefs, its public spaces are also a medium, a stage which frames actors and audiences. Places constantly gain new meanings because spatial context is a part of such performances of meaning. The paper focuses on those social practices through which “the imagination seeks to change and appropriate” the ‘representational spaces’ of a city (Lefebvre, The Production of Space, p. 39).

The paper draws on observation of social rituals and informal play behaviour in Melbourne’s public spaces. It describes a broad range of gestures through which people reproduce, refract and refute the social meanings that are embodied in built form. The paper focuses on examples of three different kinds of spatial behaviour: celebratory parades, bodily engagements with public artworks, and posing for wedding photos. These activities all illustrate a dynamic tension between the reproduction of accepted cultural meanings through participatory ritual; spaces of spectacle where meanings are consumed passively; and active interventions through which new meanings are written onto the urban landscape. The paper draws together concepts from a range of social theorists, to explore the interrelation between built form, representation public performance, and social identity.
Subjects E1
310199 Architecture and Urban Environment not elsewhere classified
680103 Civil
Q-Index Code E1

 
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Created: Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 01:15:58 EST