OP ED PUBLISHED
July 18, 2014
Rem Koolhaas, chief curator of the 2014 Venice Biennale, managed to excite us, again forcing us to rethink the Elements and Fundamentals of architecture. For me, this is the first time I felt a real desire to visit the show, which I have always imagined to be more like an amusement park for new design.
Opening: April 29 7pm
Storefront for Art and Architecture
Site, Insight, Incite!
Human knowing is complex and magnificent. We know with our mind and body, in waking thought and dream images, in memory and amnesia, in enactment and insight. We know as monads and dyads and triads and fields. We know with language and fantasy, with sex, and gender, and queerness. We know through traumas, and pleasures, culture and politics, drive and instinct, cognition and emotion, aggression and love.
Published Paper in Psychoanalytic Perspective
“Coming from the field of architecture, Sperber explores the processes in which buildings expand the range of human experiences. Using the nineteenth century term empathy from philosophy of art as well as current psychoanalytic notions of mentalization and the relational understanding of trauma, she contends that the building can reconnect the inhabitant to affects that have been avoided, split off or dissociated by trauma or non-reflective parenting. She further articulates the difference between architecture and the Winnicottian transitional object. While the transitional object garners its power through the child’s projection of affect to compensate for the unavailable mother, buildings always act as both symbols of their functions and the embodiment of the function they represent. Buildings literally and emotionally contain, shelter and protect. The building in site creates new personal and social experiences which, like psychoanalytic insight,foster new ways of being.”
By: Melissa Tapper Goldman
“Architect Esther Sperber, the daughter of a Talmud scholar, draws on the poetics of space as well as creative problem-solving—two of architecture’s key concerns—for her work with Jewish organizations and beyond. In 2008, she won a competition to design the Kesher synagogue in Englewood, New Jersey (unbuilt). Beginning with the community’s name, meaning knot or connection, she organized her design around the concept of continuous connectedness, creating a network of ramps to aid members of different ability levels in accessing the sanctuary on Shabbat without the aid of an elevator, a priority for the Orthodox congregation. For ornament and texture, Sperber incorporated the evocative beauty of Hebrew script, bringing the centrality of text in Jewish life into physical form. Her design carves the structure into the surrounding landscape, resulting in an L-shaped sanctuary that creates women’s and men’s sections in a non-hierarchical orientation, each enjoying open vistas and natural daylighting… ”
By: Esther Sperber
“After months of architectural design, we finally entered the site for our first weekly construction meeting. The general contractor had started the demolition, and I was excited to see the bare space, its walls and other distractions removed, and to imagine the place as we’d designed it. Richard and I entered the apartment for the meeting. Raymond, our contractor, was late, but the new site manager was waiting. When he noticed us, he walked over to Richard, a graying man of around 60, shook his hand and introduced himself. Richard, accustomed to this situation, introduced himself, smiled and then introduced me, announcing, “Please meet my boss, Esther.”
In the 10 years I’ve been running my architectural practice, I, like Richard, have gotten accustomed to people assuming that my male employees are the lead architects who will be making final decisions. Yet this time a lingering frustration colored the rest of my day, a sense that while feminism has made significant progress on a conscious level, little change has trickled down into the unconscious of our culture…”
Response to Lew Aron’s Plenary Address
Psychology and the Other Conference
Lesley University, Cambridge MA
October 4-6, 2013
“Sylvia Lavin writes in her book “Kissing Architecture”:
“A kiss is the coming together of two similar but not identical surfaces, surfaces that soften, flex, and deform when in contact, a performance of temporary singularities.” (Lavin, 2011)
I get a bit excited when reading Lavin’s phenomenology of kissing. Not only because kissing is arousing, but, also, because Lavin employs kissing to suggest a way for two disciplines to interact…I am excited to envision a place in which psychoanalysis and its acceptance of the disorganized human mind can kiss the thoughtful reasoning philosophy, the wonderment of religion and perhaps even the concrete usefulness of architecture.”