Pause: A Device for Troubling Routines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Pause is a technique for troubling routines, a tactical device for change capable of disturbing established flows. Where urban public spaces are concerned, a pause is a device, an act however tiny that unsettles the balance or order of those spaces, bringing about a moment of dysfunction in which an individual is liberated for an unspecified duration. While the dominant power is busy ‘fixing’ this pause, alternatives can emerge. In this paper taking on the voice of a fictional character, I investigate the ins and outs of pause through the case of the Standing Man of the Occupy Gezi movement in Turkey (2013). The pause of Standing Man is used as a concept to rethink the architectural profession. Drawing on Lefebvre theory of ‘moment’, pause is discussed as an event destined to fail. This inevitable failure of the pause makes the moment of failure intense and tragic. In this way duration matters, and one of the contributions that architectural practice could make in working with pause would be to work with this duration – and to expand it.

To study further how architecture can contribute to the idea of pause, a case of the unfinished building in Tehran during the 1979 revolution is discussed in relation to the Standing Man. The discussion is built up around the infrastructural nature of pauses, the importance of body politics to the idea of pause as a device and the post-production of space by means of occupation. In this regard, reflecting on the work of architecture, there might be a need for pause in the architectural profession itself, in its attitude to ‘completing’ the world.

The narrator in this paper, an architect who participated in the 1979 revolution, examines the pause of the Standing Man through an architectural lens while watching a video of the event on YouTube. The argument is built up through a lecture on the subject, a discussion with a group of architecture students, and through snippets of nostalgic daydreaming and introverted contemplation. The flashbacks, the lecture, the movie and the train of thoughts interrupt one another, creating moments of pause in the narration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-84
JournalDrawing On: Journal of Architecture Research by Design
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Pause, Interruption, Standing Man, event, infrastructure architecture, Tehran


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