主体性的物化和建筑的媒介性 —— 从家庭空间到城市领域
The Materialisation of Subjectivity and the Agency of Architecture: From Domestic Spaces to the Urban Realm
程婧如 Jingru Cyan Cheng （AA, UK; ACROSS Architecture, UK）
布兰登·卡林 Brendon Carlin （AA, UK; Urban System, UK）
玛丽亚·派斯·冈萨雷斯 Maria Paez Gonzalez （AA, UK; Foster&Partners, UK）
程婧如 Jingru Cyan Cheng （AA, UK; ACROSS Architecture, UK）
布兰登·卡林 Brendon Carlin （AA, UK; Urban System, UK）
玛丽亚·派斯·冈萨雷斯 Maria Paez Gonzalez （AA, UK; Foster&Partners, UK）
ABSTRACT Derived from the relationship between architecture and political economy, this paper examines how the larger framework of structural economic and social changes are manifested and revealed through stories of home and typological compositions of houses, as well as similarities and differences in the way in which similar social conflicts are represented in Costa Rican society and Chinese society. The paper argues that the materialisation of subjectivity is at the core of the relationship between political economy and architecture, and the agency of architecture or spatial design lies in the construction of certain spaces that are able to imply transformations of relationships.
KEY WORDS subjectivity, family, house, home, materialisation
Since 1970s and 1980s, architectural discipline has become increasingly interwoven with changes in economic forms and social structure, which can be referred to as political economy in general. Admittedly, the position of political economy has been much more often enunciated in relation to large-scale urban planning. The urban social theory during the 1980s argued that urban planning could be seen as an essential element of the state apparatus. For example, David Harvey’s The Condition of Postmodernity is one of the classic theories dealing with this matter. However, one should not forget that the word ‘economy’ originally comes from the Greek work ‘oikos’, which means house. And economic forms and activities, either capitalist or socialist, always impose a set of social and personal relations onto subjects they create, for example, the manipulation of how family works in different economies. All of these suggest that political economy can be articulated at an architectural scale through examining the way in which dwellings and settlements are formalised. To this end, domestic space can be seen as both an apparatus of condensing social, economic, political and cultural issues in the society and thus an instrument of the production of subjectivity of its inhabitants.
The work of Topicality workshop in Costa Rica, a visiting school programme of the Architectural Association, is a case in point. Through the conversation with Brendon Carlin and Maria Paez Gonzalez, directors of the Tropicality programme, the following discussion focuses on how the larger framework of structural economic and social changes are manifested and revealed through stories of home and typological compositions of houses, as well as similarities and differences in the way in which similar social conflicts are represented in Costa Rican society and Chinese society.
(Jingru Cyan Cheng - C; Brendon Carlin and Maria Paez Gonzalez - C&G)
1 Home as an Urban Project
C: Could you briefly introduce the subject and context of the work of Tropicality? And what drives you to do so?
C&G: The choice to study housing, and the locations – four cities along the tropic of cancer with a colonial past which are undergoing a shift to fully developed countries - was motivated both by an excitement and optimism about the possibilities for extraordinarily unique houses and forms of life within these regions; at the same time, we are alarmed about the status and direction of architecture and society in these beautiful places. The method we developed for the workshop is intended to the lift the romantic veil obscuring narratives of the tropical home and reveal what we might characterise as invisible, discreet and slow forms of violence. Because we consider housing a fundamental urban molecule, the structural study of which can reveal much about, and is a central component of urban mechanics at large, we believe it is currently at the forefront of an urgent project of the city.
C: Totally agree. A project of home definitely transcends the domestic scale. Family is always at the heart of social organisation and modes of production, and has been thus constructed and reconstructed throughout the transformation of economic systems and alternation of political regimes. And the emergence of new economic and political forms always coincides with the construction of their desired subjectivity. During the process, conflicts, struggles and even resistance are condensed in the domestic domain - the house.
2. The Subjectivity of Inhabitants and the Typological Composition of Home
C&G: Excavating the inhabitant’s idea of self, rituals, meaning and their emotional state’s push-and-pull relationship to the material composition of the home was one of the primary and motivations behind the workshop.
In Costa Rica and the other countries which Tropicality will visit in the coming years, the nuclear family and corresponding typological compositions of the home can be traced to the political projects of colonisation and then industrialisation by Spain, England , France and America. It is often argued and well documented that the contemporary nuclear family was largely a construct of modernisation. As Jordan Sand points out in his book House and Home in Modern Japan, in places like Japan amongst many others, the modern family, house and home were very decisively and aggressively imposed to organise more efficient productive and reproductive potential. This meant that there was a systematic arrangement of roles, through establishing divisions such as gender, age and status or class. These choreographies were formalised through the typological composition of architecture. The formal and programmatic composition of the home was strategically focused on producing or enforcing the modern industrious family and therefore productive members of a new kind of society.
What we saw in Costa Rica are homes largely resembling mid to late 20th century American family homes in internal organisation, but with traces of the colonial Spanish aesthetic features and local adaptations mainly due to climate, economy, materials and geography to name a few factors. At the moment, the kind of crisis and dysfunctionality of the family seen in Europe and America as early as the 1960’s and 1970’s is shaking ideas of family, self and home to their core. In Costa Rica and Latin America the nucleus of the family is almost always multi-generational. Community it seems, is something very fundamental to us humans - tied to our emotional well being and a source of meaning in our lives, but also a very pragmatic tactic for survival; inevitably also a major source of conflict and impulse for new means of mediating it – both materially and immaterially. Unacknowledged and often unrecognised social contracts and material mediations are established in order to co-exist. What we witnessed in our research in Costa Rica is that traditional structures of family, identity and meaning (for instance religion) which have transformed since Spanish colonisation yet remained largely one intact body for centuries are now fragmenting, drifting detached and melting into an increasingly boundless, complex, homogenous global body. We would argue that this tendency and its consequences, and not likelihood of robbery, is the main motivation behind the walls, barbed wire, cameras and security guards so present in almost every neighbourhood in Costa Rica.
(Fig 1a-b: A typical high security suburb with American style suburban types with hints of Spanish Colonial.)
C: How does this on-going crisis represent itself within a family? How do you see the subjectivity of inhabitants in relation to the typological composition of home?
C&G: Within the family this manifests as very different expressions and materialisations of identity and meaning from one generation to the next. The typical grandparent may define themselves almost entirely through their religion, social relationships and moral action, which is heavily reflected in material arrangements as distinct and maintained boundaries within the house including furniture, decoration, abundant religious iconography, utilitary items, and the control of phenomenological qualities like light, smell and air flow. For example, in one home the front door always remained open during the day, the chair was set on the front porch, the religious effigy is dusted and candles lit every morning.
The generation now becoming adults however has largely begun to abandon religion, rigid gendered roles, traditional family obligations, and in many cases the expectations of given roles in society in general becoming diametrically opposed to the values of their grandparents, and parents generation. Many of the participants in the workshop, their friends and the younger generations of Costa Ricans now find meaning and identity in the brands that they consume, personal achievements and individuality and uniqueness from others around them. This manifests materially in their homes through the adaptation of more generic and superficially nostalgic architecture, as if aware that they inhabit a volumetric canvas atop which they can shift material identity at the pace of fashion. Their choice of domestic objects and use of the house is focused on identifying with their profession and status within the society’s body and intellect, in part by expressing creative potency through individuality. For instance, in several of the houses that we studied idiosyncratic combinations of items associated with global culture are displayed instead of religious items, interior and exterior doors are left closed, surveillance and security become a technological replacement of shared-identity social relationships which once constituted a web of security. The gross area and arrangement of the house is becoming driven by greater personal autonomy manifested in and perpetuated by technologically enabled increasingly physical and social mobility – the mass-produced car, the discount airline, cheap internet –a global connectedness. The contradiction at play within these tendencies is between very clear liberative consequences for the individual and the tendency to build new kinds of potentially material and immaterial barriers on the other.
(Fig.2: An older woman’s house in the city)
(Fig.3: Security walls around a suburb)
3. The Idea of Home and Social Conflicts
C: Returning to the urban scale briefly mentioned in previous discussions, how does the material organisation of home and immaterial relationship within a family manifest/reveal the social changes and conflicts in Costa Rican society?
C&G: In all of the stories we encountered in Costa Rica drastic change, liberation of sorts and new conflict were present. Costa Rica is a country with no military, some of the strictest environmental protection measures in the world, high literacy, low infant mortality, long life expectancy, modernised manufacture and agriculture, high-tech industry growth, very high tourist numbers and relatively high per capita income. Despite these achievements, Costa Rica is in many ways a country on the brink of either political turmoil or complete submission to the market values many big economies around the world. Like many countries which perform well in liberal-economic indices, display GDP growth and high rates of freedom, Costa Rica also experiences high levels of poverty, income disparity, rural-to-urban displacement and both sanctioned and unsanctioned corruption. Therefore political populism threatens to drive the country towards extreme policy shifts, the likes of which have heralded recent economic collapse and political upheaval in neighbouring Latin American countries like Venezuela. In contrast to the threat of public institution exploitation and economic cronyism – under the banner of socialism - the continued totalising infiltration of corporatism and an accompanying tropical-flavoured version of advanced capitalism is destabilizing and evaporating almost everything one might have once considered Costarricense, which as mentioned previously also brings new freedoms.
This means that the family, in its recent historical form, is experiencing a transformation – multi-generational housing arrangements are increasingly infrequent and rural youth are moving to urban centres. These shifts are driving both new construction, illegal and legal, and the modification of existing housing stock. Conflicts between children and parents, and parents and grandparents are about more than simple human desire for liberated will; they are about dramatic differences in personal and cultural practices and beliefs from one generation to the next.
(Fig.4: An architect designed house in a 1980-90’s suburb)
C: Could you elaborate a little bit more the relationship between the transformation of house, economic shifts, social mentalities, probably through real cases?
C&G: Earlier we had mentioned the changes from one generation to the next in the material appropriation of houses, the shifting aesthetic and typological composition, and the patterns of daily life. These changes manifested clearly in several of the stories from the first year of the workshop. In the story Zurqui conflicts of identity and belief drove a middle-class married couple and their children from their grandmothers home. She is an avidly religious matriarch of the house, as is typical in the Costa Rican home since Spanish colonial times. Her son-in-law didn’t accept her authority and eventually opted to purchase a new suburban home in a gated community at the periphery of the city. Himself, his wife and children now commute an hour or more to school and work, the four family members have one car each. Their home is very large, the type very alike American suburban home of the last 30 years, and is often empty because of their new lifestyle. In contrast to the grandmothers house there is no religious iconography, little to no objects of historical or spiritual meaning, high security walls, gates and cameras and large yards - increasing dramatically physical and social distance between neighbours.
(Fig. 5: The Interior of a new nuclear family house in the suburbs)
At the other end of the spectrum is a story of the urban migrant poor, Carpio & Puriscal. In the film we hear of one rural family’s struggle with poverty in the wake of land privatisation, industrialisation of agricultural production and opening of free trade. The family is provided with social housing by the Costa Rican government after years of living in a sheet-metal shack. During an interview, the family-members conveyed repeatedly that family was the most important thing in life, it was what life was worth living for. However, due to lack of means for the family to sustain itself, the children are moving four hours away, to the city, and will infrequently see their parents and grandparents. The story then took us to a slum at the edge of the city, likely similar to where the children from the previous story will find housing when they arrive in San Jose. These are in many ways not unlike other settlements resulting from urbanisation across Latin America and in many places in the world for that matter. People here inhabit private and state owned land illegally, under threat of eviction at any time. In most cases they build their homes themselves with little planning and often without services like plumbing and electricity. The woman whom tells her story in El Carpio, San Jose’s highest-crime slum, has been expanding her house for several years. They had initially built it with one room for six people, now it has four rooms, one for cooking and dining, one for the children, one for the parents and one that houses the family’s informal grocery at the street front. The woman conveyed an almost desperate sense of homelessness, of not belonging; she dreams of returning to the countryside of her youth where much of her family remains to this day. It was clear in Carpio and Puriscal that for these families ownership is the essential ground upon which the home relies.
(Fig. 6: A village against the landscape several hours drive from the city)
C: Here you mentioned the issue of rural-to-urban migration. As you said, this phenomenon is not confined to Costa Rica. It also prevails in China, known as the floating population. The floating population refers to rural migrant workers who live and work in cities yet are legally registered in the countryside. The dual role of this population is made explicit by the phenomenon that they simultaneously have temporary habitations in the city and permanent family houses in the countryside. The typical story is that adults come to cities to work, leaving behind their aged parents and young children, and often send a large portion of their earnings back home. Families are forced to live apart and villages are economically dependent on urban economies.
The fundamental contradiction is that these rural migrant workers live and work in cities yet are legally registered in the countryside. In other words, they are undocumented migrants. Due to China’s household registration system, rural migrant workers are unable to access welfare services in cities. In this sense, rural migrants are unrecognised by cities, even though they constitute a significant part of the urban labour force, especially in labour-intensive industries. It is incongruous that rural migrant workers fuel urbanisation without themselves having rights to the city. Given that they have no right to subsidised public housing due to their hukou status and that commodity housing in cities is usually far beyond their means, rural migrant workers become tenants in low-quality urban villages on the periphery of a city. These urban villages form enclaves and represent a retrogressive form of urbanisation. Thus, rural migrant workers are involved in the urban economy yet live in rural conditions.
Furthermore, being undocumented, economically unrecognised and spatially marginalised puts this group in a volatile situation. They have been alienated from their own rural communities yet have not been fully assimilated into urban communities. Rural migrant workers become strangers both in cities and in the countryside. Operating on the legal, economic, social and spatial periphery, the subjectivity of migrant families is at stake and identity lost.
Specific to house and home, the materialisation of identity of rural migrants manifests a paradoxical tendency: even though the village is depopulating, the physical scale of construction work is increasing. It is a result of the floating population who leave the countryside to work in cities, yet send back their earnings to build new houses in their home villages where they themselves spend little time. As a shared aspiration in Chinese rural society, building a new family home is an act that celebrates the rising status of a household in the village. These family homes reveal that, to a certain extent, the village still represents home, a sense of belonging and a form of economic security for migrant workers.
C&G: Migration takes different forms depending on economic means and socio-economic status. In the project Los Yoses – perhaps not coincidentally one of the only projects in which its two narrators are actually seen in the film - the two women decided to return to the neighbourhood of their youth near the city centre. This is an unusual move for most middle and upper income bracket families in Costa Rica which typically buy a house within the thickening rings of suburban single family house or condominium growth at the periphery of, and outside of the city. Both of the women in Los Yoses articulate a conscious rejection of developer driven new housing projects as a fully-packaged, idyllic home and lifestyle constructed out of ‘walls that are not real.’ Economic resources play a large role in the production of and manifestation of subjectivity and to the resistance of its prevalent forms here.
4. Open Conclusion
C&G: Across the stories from the first year of Tropicality, we saw expression of subjectivity manifest on different structural layers, from decoration, to surface treatment, to spatial modification, to typological composition.
C: The materialisation of subjectivity is at the core of the relationship between political economy and architecture. If we understand the apparatus of economics and politics as a set of social and personal relationships, rather than pure numbers and political terms, the agency of architecture or spatial design lies in the construction of certain spaces that are able to imply transformations of relationships.
关键词 主体性 家庭 住宅 家 物化
从2 0世纪70年代起，建筑学与经济模式和社会体系变化的关系越来越紧密；广义上来讲，即建筑学与政治经济学之间联系的加深。不可否认，相较于建筑学，大尺度城市规划与政治经济学的关系更为清晰。20世纪80年代的城市社会理论指出，城市规划可以被看做是国家机器（state apparatus）运作过程中的一个基本环节。比如，大卫·哈维（David Harvey）的《后现代的状况》（The Condition of Postmodernity ）就是这方面的经典著作。然而，我们不应该忘记Economy（经济）这个词源自希腊语oi k os，原意为房屋。其实，不管是资本主义还是社会主义，特定的经济模式及其活动总是会将一系列关系模式（包含社会层面与个人层面）强加在这种经济模式所创造的主体上。比如，不同经济形态对家庭在社会中的角色的操控就是典型的例子。由此我们可以看到，通过研究住宅和居住形态形成的过程，政治经济学事实上也可以通过建筑尺度得以清晰表达。这样，家庭空间（domestic space）对社会而言，可以被看做是浓缩社会、经济、政治和文化议题的机器；对其中的居住者而言，则是塑造其主体性的工具。
英国建筑联盟学院（Architectural Association）访问学校Tropicality工作坊探访了哥斯达黎加，致力于家庭空间的研究。以下与工作坊负责人布兰登·卡林（Brendon Carlin）和玛丽亚·派斯·冈萨雷斯（Maria Paez Gonzalez）的对话，着重探讨经济与社会结构性变迁的宏观框架如何在一个个家的故事和住宅的类型学组织中反映出来，并对比了在哥斯达黎加和中国社会中相似的社会矛盾表现形式的异同。
C&G：对我们来说，主要目标是挖掘居住者对自我、仪式、意义和他们对家的感性认知与其物质组成之间的关系。这也是我们最重要的研究动力之一。在哥斯达黎加和其他几个我们在接下来几年中即将探访的城市里，核心家庭（nuclear family）及其相应的家庭空间的类型学构成可以追溯到西班牙、英国、法国和美国当时的殖民地化和工业化项目。关于当代核心家庭很大程度上是现代化的产物这一论述已相当成熟。就像乔丹·萨德（Jordan Sand）在《当代日本住宅与家庭》（House and Home in Modern Japan）一书中指出的，在日本和类似日本这样的地方，当代家庭、住宅、家被强加了组织高效生产与再生产潜力的职能，且这种强加的方式是具有决断性和侵略性的。这意味着通过建立性别、年龄、社会地位、社会阶级的分工，个人在家庭中的角色有着系统化的安排。而这些编排通过建筑的类型学构成被赋予了形式。一个家的形式和功能上的构成策略性地关注如何塑造与实现当代的产业家庭——也就是新社会中具有生产力的成员们。
另一则故事是关于一对贫穷的城市移民卡皮奥（Carpio）和普瑞斯卡（Puriscal）。在电影中，我们看到了在土地私有化、农业生产工业化以及开放自由贸易等时代背景之下一个贫困农村家庭的挣扎。这个家庭在栖居于棚屋多年之后，搬进了哥斯达黎加政府提供的福利房。在采访中，他们的成员虽然反复强调家庭是人生中最重要的组成部分，是生活值得存在及付出的理由，但是由于生活难以为继，家中的孩子被送去了离城市4小时之远的地方，与父母和祖父母相见的机会极少。于是这个故事把我们带到了城市边缘的贫民窟，类似于前面一个故事中孩子们抵达圣何塞（San Jose）之后会去住的房子，类似于很多拉丁美洲和世界其他地方因城市化而形成的街区。这里的人们非法居住在或私有或国有的土地上，随时面临着拆迁的威胁。在很多调研案例中，他们在没有任何规划知识的前提下自建房屋，很多住宅甚至没有基础的排水和供电设施。在圣何塞犯罪率最高的贫民窟El Carpio给我们讲故事的妇女已经私自扩建自己的住宅好些年了。最初她搭建了一间房，供6个人居住。如今她家一共有4间房：一间作为厨房和饭厅，一间给孩子们，一间给她和丈夫，最后一间作为他们家在临街一面的小杂货店铺。她强烈地表达了那近乎绝望的无家可归感，并热切地渴望能回到年轻时候居住的乡村，和其他家庭成员团聚在一起。在卡皮奥和普瑞斯卡的案例中，我们可以清楚地看到，所有权是家庭得以存在的基础（图6）。
C&G：我们观察到移民行为的发生有不同的形式，这取决于不同家庭的收入和社会经济地位。在洛斯·约瑟斯（Lo s Y o s es）项目中，两位女性叙述者决定搬回她们幼年时在市中心附近住过的街区。这对于哥斯达黎加中收入的家庭来说是个不寻常的行为。这类家庭通常会在市郊购买独栋家庭住宅，或是在城市边缘地区和市外购买独立产权公寓。而在洛斯·约瑟斯项目中，两位女性都表现出了对开发商主导的新住宅项目的有意识抗拒。她们认为这些项目兜售的是刻意包装过的家的形象及相应的家庭生活方式。经济能力在塑造和体现主观性上有着重要的作用。这个案例则体现了经济能力在抵抗普遍主观性形态时的作用。
本文通讯作者为Brendon Carlin , Maria Paez Gonzalez，联系方式为tropicality@aaschool.ac.uk。
① 本文话题来源于建筑东西（ACROSS Architecture）与伦敦大学亚非学院孔子学院（London Confucius Institute, SOAS, University of London）联合举办的交流会——家（Home）。“建筑东西”是由英国建筑联盟 (Architectural Association School of Architecture) 的中国在读学生和已投身于建筑实践的毕业校友共同组建的独立学术联盟。“建筑东西”致力于开展广泛且深入的学术讨论活动，从学术到实践，从建筑到城市；在东西方文化的碰撞中，建立一个分享与交流建筑和城市思想的平台。
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