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Perceptual devices - History / Effect / Design

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The goal of this course is to examine how the world around us is simultaneously experienced through different senses and how certain mediums in the history of art and architecture succeed or fail to take advantage of our perceptual capacities as a whole. Students will be asked to design a Perceptual Device to explore how we can challenge the conventional ways we perceive the environment around us.



Visual Perception- The World and the Eye

a. How the western world has been largely driven by ocularcentrism, placing emphasis on vision over all other senses.

b. How this ocularcentrism has greatly affected the way we think, live and build.



Multi-Sensory Perception- The World and the Body

a. How critics of ocularcentrism claim that utilizing all senses as a holistic experience enhances the way we live and experience the world.

b. Examples of using neglected senses to change the way we experience certain phenomenon.



The Perceptual Device (Assignment)

a. Students will be asked to design a perceptual device that could be as conceptual as a fine-tuned manifesto or as physical as a three dimensional model.  The device shall challenge the way we conventionally experience our surroundings or specific phenomena.  An additional session will be scheduled to provide in-depth critiques of each device.




Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye

By Rudolf Arnheim


The Eyes of the Skin

By Juhani Pallasmaa


Thermal Delight in Arcitectyre

By Lisa Heschong


In Praise of Shadows

By Junichiro Tanizaki


Phenomenology of Perception

By Maurice Merleau-Ponty

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Please note that the second session of this class has been scheduled. Perceptual Devices- History/Effect/Design 2 will meet SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7 at 3PM at the Van Alen Institute. Even if you missed the first class you are welcome to do the assignment and participate in the second class.

Please see the 2nd class proposal ( for assignment details.

maria ibanez de sendadiano's picture

This is a reminder that the class is scheduled to take place this Saturday at 3:00pm at Common Room. The address is: 465 Grand Street, NY, NY 10002. This is on the Lower East Side of NYC.

Take F train to East Broadway stop. Exit at rear of platform if coming downtown or front of platform if coming from Brooklyn. Walk East on East Broadway just past Pitt Street. Use Rear Entrance on East Broadway.,+New+York,+NY+10002

Looking forward to it,


The course description has been updated and new reading recommendations have been added for this class.


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