PHILOSOPHY

French Marxist philosopher Henri Lefebvre wrote of the necessity of pleasure in everyday life, ‘without pleasure, the body and its organs, its needs, with atrophy and degenerate, will deviate from their course.’[1]  He analyses the Roman influence on modern society and observes, ‘the most important pleasures were experienced within a social framework’[2], going further to analyse the Baths of Diocletain in Rome; ‘The baths were a space of enjoyment, yes […] they were, in a sense, the place where the body as well as the mind prepared itself for sensuality.’[3]

 

In more recent writings, sociologist Silvia Rief appropriates the term ‘otherness’[4] to refer to what sociologist Sarah Thornton, 14 years prior, considers ‘other-worldly environments’[5]. Both Rief and Thornton consider the use of sensory overload, deprivation, distraction or illusion in night clubs and the importance of deceiving the senses in creating environments that remove one from the normalities of everyday life. I am sure sensuality in this way is not what Lefebvre had in mind when he analysed the Baths of Diocletain, however both the Roman Baths and British nightclubs of today can be considered crucial 'social condensing' (Koolhaus, 2004) spaces of the times and thus hold strong cultural and social importance. These spaces each address an ‘architecture of enjoyment’, so to speak, one that touches on sensuality and the ever-important pursuit of pleasure for everyday people from any and all denominations of class, gender identity, sexuality, race etc to free themselves of the pressures of society.

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[1] Lefebvre, H., Stanek, Ł. and Bononno, R. (2014). Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment. Minneapolis (Minn.): University of Minnesota Press, p.67.

[2] Lefebvre, H., Stanek, Ł. and Bononno, R. (2014). Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment. Minneapolis (Minn.): University of Minnesota Press, p.136.

[3] Lefebvre, H., Stanek, Ł. and Bononno, R. (2014). Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment. Minneapolis (Minn.): University of Minnesota Press, p.137.

[4] Rief, S. (2009). Club Cultures: Boundaries, Identities and Otherness. London: Routledge, p.79.

[5] Thornton, S. (1995). Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital. New York, NY: Blackwell Publishers Ltd, p.21.

[6] ​Koolhaus, R., (2004). Content. London: Taschen. As described by Rem Koolhaus as he discusses spaces that encourage co-existence of people from all backgrounds, disciplines and class to generate unprecedented events through the merging of activities.