The Simulacra Of Space

The Simulacra Of Space

Sim Jun Quan


The project’s aim is to visualise the simulacra of a space, through Thermal Comfort as a medium expressed as a simulacrum. The purpose is to create awareness for virtual spatial perception, apart from the physical or other reality that humans inhabit in. As interior specialists, the ability to create innovative designs not only originates from the output generated, but also from the understanding of an interior space. It is only when a space is fully perceived, that following creative solutions can be applied. To perceive is to become aware or conscious. To develop spatial perception then, opens the question of how does one perceives spatially? Often, human beings accept its ‘pure impression’ of an object and understand that as perception. That should be further developed, for conceiving a space as an object one should attend to the experience of perception and be aware of the imperceptible and inconceivable (Merleau-Ponty, 2015).

Ponty adopts the gaze as the knowledge machine, the thinking subject which can give to things their significance, penetrating and animating the gaze. Seeing merely create impressions, while a long gaze absorbs the view and mentally organises objects between objects. The organizing comes from knowledge, memories and intentions. It is upon the gaze (or point of view) that an object’s height and width are determined, followed by the horizon. The horizon works like a glue in the gaze – fitting all objects proportionately within the view. Yet it acts as a depth indicator, subsequently organising all objects accordingly to their depth against the horizon.

Deleuze’s breaks the physical reality down to points that reflect certain intensities or characteristics. The points correspond to relevant degrees of freedom, proving that the physical reality is only a tendency, a possibility. The other possibilities are spaces of the virtual under a given structure. On this model, spaces derive from how these points evolve and unfold into their current form. Thus, spatial perception is partially the ability to recognise the physical reality among its relevant degrees of freedom and understand its characteristics that led to the current state space (DeLanda, 2002). The possibilities of unfolding are defined as multiplicities, or manifolds. Thus the whole structure that the physical and the possible reality exists is the Phase Space, otherwise known as the virtual – the structure of possibilities.

Thermal Comfort (TC)’s data abstracted from a space reflects its specific conditions at that point of time. As raw data with no interpretations, they become a direct indicator of the space’s performance, representing the space. Similar to Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of the society that classifies individuals by their performance under certain categories, the identity of the individual is reduced to its performativity value (Bourdieu, 1984). In Jean Baudrillard’s 4 Stages of Sign Order of Simulacra (4SSOS) the Sacramental Order refers to a faithful image/copy that is a “reflection of a profound reality”, where the society believes that it is correct and in good order. The relationship between Data Abstraction and Sacramental Order is directly similar in that both refer to a ‘copy’ as an authentic identity of the original.

The topological mapping of the space as points against the phase spaces designated axis or degrees of freedom give context to which the points are position. Visually, the space goes through another transformation – from numeric figures to visualisations to positioned points in the phase space. Baudrillard refers the third stage as masking the absence of a profound reality, “where the sign pretends to be a faithful copy, but it is a copy with no original” suggesting that the signs which were used to represent something real hides that fact that the signs are representing nothing at all (Baudrillard, 2015). Put into use of the project, topological mapping representation transcends from a concrete reality to the state of phase space. This allows the equilibrium of the current, physical state to be realized, as well as revealing the other possibilities that the space can unfold to. Instead of representing nothing, the representation transcends the project to another reality, permitting also the mapping of other possibilities.

Scenarios are hypothetically applied to the equilibrium to see what are the possibilities of Haldane studio and what solutions must be introduced to salvaged these possibilities to comply to the suitable PMV range again. Each example are selected based on their extreme scenarios under each TC factors and the solutions are based on case studies. The possibilities can be endless, but because of the limitations of the project and the human mind, they are selected based on subjective judgement of their compatibility.




Through this illustration, elements of the real space can be seen. However, because of the layout created by the dynamic cubes, it makes the physical space unrecognisable. This reflects that our perception cannot stay in the Phase Space. Abstract possibilities and possibilities can be realised and identified within the mind, but to engage them requires to bring them into the physical space. The last illustration demonstrate the virtual perceptions of a space. Because Thermal Comfort (TC) cannot be seen within the concrete reality or the naked eye, an x-ray visual perception allows to see the hidden aspects of the space. The project establishes a process which reaches this transcendental perceptive virtual vision using the fundamental laws of maths, geometry and physics.




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