The Narration of Everyday Experience
DOI link for The Narration of Everyday Experience
The Narration of Everyday Experience book
The ability to tell a story through the design and configuration of spaces had become critical to the spatial deployment of “avocational education” already in the industrial economy. In Las Vegas, it has certainly reached its current apex, but by no means does the story end there. While the means by which such storytelling is presented have substantially transformed, the understanding of the narrative potential of architecture is as old as architecture itself. The surfaces of our dwellings, from caves to contemporary shopping malls, have historically existed as a kind of medium via which humans communicate, through painting, writing, decoration, and detailing. And the assembly of such surfaces, either within a single edifice or across an urban landscape, has historically held the potential for an unfolding of spatial narratives. The more successful of these have been eulogized for their ability to transform one’s spatial experience, and have been studied by centuries of historians, architects, planners, and other designers seeking ways of telling stories in space. But space is more than the assembly of surfaces, and it is the evolution of storytelling from surface to the immersive space of social being that is most revealing for an understanding of the Experience Economy. The contemporary manifestation of this storytelling – the kind of scripting of experience which has transformed today’s leisure practices – is grounded in a particular tradition of architectural narration which has considered the city and the edifice as spatial texts, within which or upon which stories can be written for the betterment of urban life. While a complete historical survey of this tradition could form the subject of quite a number of volumes, I feel it is important to trace, at least lightly, a handful of critical examples to better situate the narrative tendencies of the Experience-d Environment.