Subjective Place-Making Across Physical and On-Line Environments: Strengthening Personal Identity While Generating Community

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


In moments when we 21st Century humans are prosthetically and/or remotely intimate with technology to perceive and act in local and remote physical and virtual environments, do we appropriate the technology into our embodiment? If so, this presents a crisis to a restricted understanding of an embodied experience as figural.
Philosopher Henri Bergson’s concept of meaning occurring through "durations" of
materiality “images" offers a way to understand how multiple engagements develop one’s embodied identity. Bergson’s “images” are slices through reality, experienced bodily. This paper proposes a 21st Century bodily update: the technological built environment (not available in Bergson's 20th Century world) is merged with one's biological body, so one’s “imaging” occurrences are now place-making (generating meaning and identity). The potential is for a person to be a place (rather than being in a place). This paper advocates that neglecting this updated multiplicity of embodiment when considering and designing interior, architectural and urban environments is to miss providing for the 21st Century client’s real needs.
This paper presents design student projects that explore solutions for meeting 21st Century real needs, including a Virtual Reality project to augment and connect our Ultimo, Sydney campus with our other campuses and on-line community. Our Virtual Reality Team consists of Torrens University Digital Media and Interior Design faculty, students and alumni, with international academic and industry leaders. We are using Revit and Unity software, stereoscopic 360 degree cameras, Oculus Rift technology, and smartphone VR viewers. Our goal is to strengthen on-line and on campus students’ individual places/identities as they generate and activate a meaningful, communal campus place together. Key to generating meaning is for students to recognise that an individual’s past is in one’s present place-making and the campus building’s historic 20th Century past is in its present 21st Century place, contributing historic reference and present purpose to the Ultimo neighbourhood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-203
Number of pages7
JournalAssociation of Architecture Schools of Australasia
Issue numberISBN 978 0 473 33710 0
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Embodiment
  • Henri Bergson
  • Gilles Deleuze
  • Place


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