• Parallaxical identities: Architectural semantics of contemporary arts institutions and the curation of cultural identity

      Tracada, Eleni; D'Arcy-Reed, Louis (University of Derby, 2019-09-19)
      The research project interrogates the identity forming principles beneath contemporary arts museum architecture across physical and psychoanalytical dimensions. In identifying a metaphysical distance, or barrier, between the unconscious of the cultural architectural intervention and the identity within the cities’ fabric, the state of a parallaxical identity manifests itself. The parallaxical identity, developed from Slavoj Žižek’s parallax gap in psychoanalysis, elicits the presentation of ego-ideal, ideal-ego, and superego of architectural interventions seen as regenerative for culture, the city and its communities. Developing the parallax within architecture allows the thesis to include a rigorous interrogation of theory across disciplines of psychoanalysis, architecture, contemporary art and museology, whilst also remediating the position of architectural practice beyond its conventional boundaries and rhetoric. Adopting a mixed methodology across theoretical and practical disciplines, the thesis reveals unconscious interpretations and embodied analyses through a weaving of para-architectural methods including, photography, questionnaires, exploratory installations, written prose, and imagined cultural visualisations. Three major arts institutions act as case study analysands for psychoanalytical observation and diagnosis to take place, informing the resulting framework for observing parallaxical identities, whilst also producing recommendations for the future of the cultural institution of the museum/gallery. Alongside the thesis’ position as a critical commentary, a supplementary PhD exhibition proposal centered on Parallaxical Identities questions the role of architecture as a discipline that necessitates para-architectural and psychoanalytic methodologies, whilst also presenting new artistic works in response to the thesis to reveal to audiences’ the haptic and hidden structures within architecture and the ‘expected or unexpected’ parallaxical interventions of place.