Under the title “Between Stability and Flux: The everyday work with a building under heritage" Sabine Hansmann explores how actor-network-theory (ANT) can provide a detailed and nuanced view on a building under preservation, which often is interpreted in terms of static solid artefact. Based on a qualitative case study that focuses on the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (1978) by Foster Associates, her presentation investigates the everyday life of the building in use. The Sainsbury Centre is a museum and educational building that since 2012 has been listed as a heritage site.
While it is common to deal with the physical world and its temporal layers in a linear and abstract manner, ANT, a methodology rooted in science and technology studies, makes it possible to explore buildings from a complex experiential perspective. Here we can unravel the entanglements of humans and nonhumans and take both, actors being present and actors being absent, into account. Entering the world of the Sainsbury Centre and following the people who work with the building, it becomes apparent that a building is not a singular, static object, but a network of countless actors—each having their timings and spacings. By tracing the full complexity of the doing together of people and the material world the talk shows how we can follow the countless negotiations as much as the constant work that is necessary to maintain the stability of what is actually on the move.
You can find the schedule for the 15th ESA conference in Barcelona (online) here.