Mechanics of Experience : Arthur Rimbaud’s Poems

Course Mentors:  Apurva Talpade, Kausik Mukopadhyay, Prasad Shetty, Tamal Mitra, Vastavikta Bhagat

At SEA, we work with three premises - first; that the role of architects is to imagine and craft new spaces (and forms); second; that such imaginations happen through drawings (drawings here is a much wider and include texts, sounds, installations, models, etc. along with marks on two dimensional surfaces); and third; that spaces (and forms) express themselves as experiences. Hence, when one is imagining and crafting space (and form), one is involved in imagining and crafting experiences. Based on these premises, this course engages with understanding and exploring the mechanics of experience. The key questions here are: How does one experience (space / form) and how does one create new experiences (through space / form)? The broad objectives of the course include: first, familiarising the students with the mechanics of experiences ; and second, building capacity in students to articulate experiences and visualise space / form related to such experiences.

Three conceptual tropes are used in this course: first, sense-perception, which helps in understanding the processes of experience; second, visual culture, which helps in familiarizing and exploring the world of images and drawings and acquainting the students with using images for analysis, world creation and exploration; and third, theater, which makes the exploration of space / form tangible. A literary text is used to navigate through these tropes. Through these tropes, four key ideas that are fundamental in thinking about space are explored: space (as a physical entity); form (its logics and geometries); experiences (through senses, deductions, consciousness, etc.) and image (logics of images, the ways they shape our mind, methods and experiences, and their politics). While these ideas are theoretically explored with rigour, the course aims at developing a visceral understanding of them. This is done through intensive lectures /conversations, field-visits and a series of exercises.

The module began with a reading and explanation of the poems written by Arthur Rimbaud. Each student was assigned a poem and was told to collect things related to the poem. Students collected things such as household objects from the old radio used by our grandparents. Some of them also collected things from the junk dealer.

These were later updated to write texts on the theme formed by collecting objects related to the poem. These texts described various themes like light, sound, crowd, hometown handiworks and many more.

These texts were modified and were then updated to make sketches using different mediums. These sketches were later modified to larger drawings and later on to the making of the iterations.

Specific places were selected and used up for the exhibition. Some of them used the stilts and some of them used the stairs and the lower studio. The iterations were presented in various ways. They were presented through performances, theatre and presentations of objects, light and sounds.