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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Outside of Architecture: Between Mediating and Navigating the Air

  • Author(s): Balug, Katarzyna
  • et al.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

This paper unpacks the changing logics of flight, from the hot air balloon to the 1969 moon landing, which mirror the larger transition to narratives of control during the modern industrial era. Then, it explores a blind spot in architectural historiography that left inflatable forms out of architectural scholarship since the 1980s, despite their being prominent in the decade before. Finally, the project deploys recent insights from media studies, a discipline that evolved from critical theory to address communications media and technologies in the 1960s, and more recently focuses on the materiality of such media, to trouble architecture’s disciplinary limits and to demonstrate how the logics of the flying balloon illuminate the inflatable anew. Along the way, the work of artists and architects like Graham Stevens, whose texts and structures deploy scientific principles to reveal and embody a human entanglement with elemental forces, grounds the exercise.

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