chapter  1
(Auto)biographies and space
ByDANA ARNOLD
Pages 11

I am interested in how discourse shapes our experience of architecture and the built environment as a visual object and as an agent in the formation of social identity. This essay seeks to investigate how the discourses of architecture work to perpetuate hegemonies, and to think about ways in which we can destabilise such norms.1 Specific reference is made here to the autobiographical and the biographical trace, both of which overlap and intersect throughout this essay. My starting point is can architecture through its hegemonic discourses make me into/construct me as a woman – in other words do my (auto)biography and the spaces (both textual and physical) I inhabit intersect? The intention is not to offer a hermetically sealed argument about the (auto)biographical trace in architecture. Instead, it is to present a series of incremental position statements about our relationship to architecture and how the verbal and visual discourses around space and spatial experience work to form our identity. In thinking about an ontology or system of the built environment in this way it is necessary to try to think about theories of both subjects and objects (and here I include biography) and their ties – particularly in this case feminine biographies and space. And it is helpful to think about criteria for distinguishing various types of subjects and objects for instance: concrete and abstract, existent and nonexistent, real and ideal, independent and dependent and their ties in other words: relations, dependencies and predication. In addition, the notion of time is important as the (auto)biographical trace transforms itself and is transformed by time.