Abstraction and resilience: symbolics and space

Michael Johansson, Ulrich Gehmann, Andreas Siess

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


In our recent work on the topic ‘resilient communities’ for a workshop at the Venice Biennale 2021, Ideal Spaces Working Group investigates different aspects of spatial creation: the history of ideas, formats of representing space and tools of construction in historical, contemporary and built environments of the future. We address how abstract conceptions underlying assumptions, imagination and concrete views shape spatial construction and its representations, and how spatial creation tries to organize meaning and influence perception and understanding, shaping both the city and its inhabitants. With regard to the built environment, resilience depends on how a space is perceived by its inhabitants and how spaces designed for communities reflect this, especially their symbolic properties as ideal spaces for communal living. These properties are connected to the ways in which space is expressed via its overall shape as gestalt. In this respect, it is about how imagination operates via abstracting and symbolizing perception. In our work, we address why it is reasonable to depict representations of ideal places as symbolic spaces in a degree of abstraction that is far from photorealism, and to instead find other forms of representation. Furthermore, we explore how to avoid the uncanny valley that inevitably arises in virtual aesthetics when something is not quite right, and finally, how a readable yet intuitive formal language can be implemented. 

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventDe-Sign environment Landscape city: RESILIENT COMMUNITIES, Venice, May 30, 2021 -
Duration: 2021-May-302021-May-30


ConferenceDe-Sign environment Landscape city: RESILIENT COMMUNITIES, Venice, May 30, 2021

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Architecture (60405)
  • Design (60406)
  • Visual Arts (60401)


  • architecture
  • cityplanning
  • design
  • digital images


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