Contemporary Architecture and Interspace of Communications -“Digital skin” and Sensual-Aesthetic Community of “Flesh”-
In recent times, the so-called “media façade” that combinesinformation-technology (IT), sensors, lighting, and arts has emerged as a newtrend in exterior decoration in contemporary architecture and has transformedthe stereotyped grid and dreary urban cities in modern architecture intosentimental and originative ones. This paper has examined how, under thesecircumstances, the splendid and dynamic “digital skin” of “media façade” hasbeen transformed into the interface of public interactive communicationsrather than being degraded into a brilliant display that experiments flashdesign, spectacles of exaggerated advertisements, and the effects ofcutting-edge audiovisual technologies. First of all, this study has examined thecharacteristics of “digital skin” based on, first, Merleau-Ponty’sphenomenological view of self-controlling order and the perceptual, symbolicorder of living things and, second, psychoanalyst Didier Anzieu’s view of theconcept of “skin” as a psychological wrapper – with the philosophy oftechnology by Gilbert Simondon, who emphasized a symbiosis between manand machinery and the importance of technological culture, as a medium ofreference. Furthermore, this study has figured out whether “digital skin” that transforms information in a boundary between the exterior and the interiorcan establish a community of genuine communications in relation to asensual common zone which is characteristic of Merleau-Ponty’s idea of theexistence of “skin.” As a result, this study has found that “media façade” ofcontemporary architecture not only shows diverse epidermal designs byreacting to the outside natural environment and by changing its patterns andcolors by itself but also functions as an interface of communications thatconveys messages by sensually interacting with the gestures of residents. Thestudy also found that, in order for “media façade” to function as a field ofsocial communications, it requires aesthetic experience with which it couldreflectively face the images or symbols of light produced by “digital skin”by maintaining a distance with which it can sustain multisensory space –reacting to a sense of touch with skin – but cannot be absorbed in it. Thisis based on a conclusion that only then “media façade” can offer one-sidedfantastic spectacles and maintain a distance with the experience of totallyimmersed in media screen that induces carnivalous absorption. In short, inorder to prevent the images of symbols of “digital skin” from being degradedinto volatile events and digital stresses, both “sensual and interactiveexperiences” and “quality contents” that can induce the participation ofresidents and consolidate them should be developed through interdisciplinaryresearch among the studies of arts and humanities. Besides, “digital skin”should be given equal opportunities in terms of not only sensual and pureaesthetic experiences but also access to information and utilization. Then,contemporary architecture will develop into an interface of communicationsand social platforms beyond the meaning of residence and will be able torealize its value of social communications. Besides, “digital skin” can helpcreate a new community of new social “flesh” by recovering the consolidation with the community of emotion – which lacks in the community of smartphones -- as it interacts with “media façade” through the medium of multisensory body.