To See (Like) a Crowd

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This paper explores the dynamics through which design drawings structure spatial strategies, particularly those with an agenda for socio-political change, while interrogating the drawings’ impacts on subjectivity. It dissects an early Soviet architectural drawing addressing the 1920s-30s crowd-design-problem: using architectural space to generate a robust intersubjectivity in mass crowds. Revolutionary Soviet artists challenged inherited graphic regimes of viewing crowds from an alienating distance, proposing devices of immersion to radically re-visualize mass crowds and re-conceptualize collectivity. Drawing on Suprematist compositions, the avant-garde Soviet Rationalist architects translated immersive principles from contemporary revolutionary art. The paper articulates the Rationalists’ alternative graphic framework which immerses the observer-cum-designer within crowd dynamics in a distinctively architectural way, while identifying its implications on spatial design: a space of undulating grounds, rhythmic choreographies and ‘textured’ visual fields. The paper also speculates on its implications redefining subjectivity; re-introducing emotion amongst the relations of production challenges canonical Historical Materialism.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Number of pages18
JournalArchitectural Histories
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


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