Architectural Research Quarterly

theory

Words and objects in transposing desire and making space

Nishat Awana1

a1 University of Sheffield, School of Architecture, Arts Tower, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN UK n.awan@shef.ac.uk

In this article I will explore the relationship between space, language and objects and interrogate the role of language as a signifier for the transformation of space through cultural difference. My work is informed by the context and the methods of postcolonialism and specifically the notion of hybridity. If the hybridity of a postcolonial identity is acknowledged, then the space where these identities are negotiated could also be seen as sharing qualities of overlap and mixing. Influenced by psychoanalytic theories of the self and its relation to others, postcolonial theory has used strategies of ‘mimicry’ and ‘hybridity’ as motifs to provide a vocabulary that shifts colonial relations out of the dialectic of oppressor and oppressed. But following Lefebvre's idea that all space is social space, and Foucault's spatialisation of power, the move from the historic preoccupation with time to a spatialisation of the processes of knowledge production, allows postcolonial thinking to go beyond the complicities of identity politics, which has been one of the major criticisms of this mode of thought. As an architect, this opens up certain possibilities of interrogating postcolonial subjectivity through the spaces that are occupied and used by those who are implicated within it. This paper will focus on one such space: a park in East London.