Materias Investigacion::Arquitectura Architecture Theory Critical Aesthetics Image Ambiguity Political
Servicio de Publicaciones Universidad de Navarra
Hogenboom, K., (2016) ""Modulating Contradiction - The Central China Television Headquarters"". En: Alcolea, R.A, Tárrago-Mingo, J., (eds.) en Congreso internacional: Inter photo arch ""Interacciones"", celebrado en Pamplona, los días 2 al 4 de Noviembre de 2016, (pp.116-125)
According to Jacques Rancière, images are operations between meaning and affect,
between what you see and what you expect. The way the image operates between meaning
and affect; I call ‘modulating contradictions’. Contradictions meant not in the sense of in
opposition, but in a permanent intended interplay, allowing for other possible readings.
As Rancière explains, the images of art (and arguably architecture) are operations that
produce a discrepancy, an alteration of resemblance, and that’s where there is an opening
for another reading. Serge Daney’s distinction between the visual and the image is similar.
According to him the image, in contrast to the visual, presents one way of seeing and
challenges us to think differently, to open for possible other worlds. How the image operates
and modulates contradictions is also highly relevant in the architectural example to be
discussed in this article: The Central China Television Headquarters (CCTV) by Rem Koolhaas
(OMA). From the conspiracy theories surrounding the design to the experience of the building
in its urban context, I will argue that this building shows how the power of signification
and affect associated with the image production around the building operates with the
expectations of certain architecture and certain architects. By modulating contradictions
and by taking apart the iconic readings of this building in the urban context, I will argue, the
CCTV building not only makes power visible, but also “generates a profound insecurity that
allows us to enter into a “beyond-good-and-evil” experience”.1. Taking part in the partition
of the perceptible (Rancière 2007) through its formal and programmatic organization,
questioning the status quo and also attempting possible reframing.