Perspecta 49 proposes that the concept of reflection is a far more complex topic than that of a mirror image. In language, reflection connotes the act of contemplation, often the process in which we draw from our past. It describes an intellectual action that amplifies a line of thinking. In physics, reflection is the interference between two different media, which causes an abrupt change in direction of a wave (light, sound, etc.). The behavior of reflection allows us to perceive an image through light. In mass culture, our desires are reflected as a semblance of a collective identity. Here, reflection becomes an unconscious phenomenon of our shared experience.
Reflection raises issues that are philosophically rich, technologically relevant and culturally significant, rendering it a fertile lens through which to contemplate architecture. Perspecta 49 will bring together various accounts of reflection to consider the ways this prolific term influences the disciplines of art, architecture and culture.
French psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan identifies the significance of reflection in the formation of individual consciousness in his work, The Mirror Stage. The Mirror Stage describes the formation of the ego in an infant when it encounters its image in a mirror for the first time. The child’s identification with the mirror image establishes a conception of the subject (self) in relation to the object (external world).1 The system of consciousness identified in The Mirror Stage is elaborated into three realms in Lacan’s larger body of work: the Imaginary, the Real and the Symbolic. These orders will provide three themes in which to ground the discussion of reflection.
This project was a proposal for The Yale Architectural Journal, Perspecta 49, which is the oldest student-edited architectural journal in the United States. This was done in collaboration with Jennifer Dempsey and Nicholas Hunt and submitted in the Spring of 2013.