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Sensing Spaces interview: Kate Goodwin

Curator Kate Goodwin provides the last word on the Sensing Spaces exhibition at the Royal Academy

What is your show about?

Sensing Spaces is about experiencing the power, the poetics, of architecture. It should re-engage and set the stage for a discussion on the psychology of space.

Has this quality been missing from recent architectural debate?

So much of how we communicate architecture is through image. But this can distance us from the direct experience of being in space, of being in architecture.

It is important that we begin to express what it feels like to experience the spatial qualities of architecture. It’s so much easier to express what we feel about the social and political nature of buildings. In a world where our experience of it has become so virtual, the real has become more important than ever.

Is Sensing Spaces a reaction to so-called iconic architecture?

Sensing spaces is a counterpoint to the idea of architecture as a landmark icon. It is about the sensory, physical engagement of space. Each of these projects speaks to you. Each brings architecture back to a question of scale. Iconic architecture is exciting at the city-scale but it rarely addresses the human scale. So Sensing Spaces is a discussion about scale. What is it be alive, to be present, in a space? How does architecture direct that experience?

If you want to move the experience of architecture away from the image, why are you asking visitors to the show to tweet pictures of it?

We wrestled with Twitter. Should we? Shouldn’t we? But we think social media can still be worthwhile. Tweets have the power to be poetic, personal, and beautiful. Normally we can’t have photography in exhibitions, so this is a new way of experiencing the Royal Academy. We want people to tweet pictures - and thoughts - about what they feel here. But it’s not about image, it is about experience.

Interview by Rory Olcayto

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