Cities as affective and emotional spaces. Erotics and love in Rome and Pompeii

The aim of this project is to contrast urban atmospheres with the emotional appropriation of the urban space. Both approaches will focus on public spaces and chose two very different cities for which a dense record is at hand Rome and Pompei.
The description of urban atmospheres will focus on the well-preserved city to describe different visual settings and action contexts. They will allow for a differentiation of urban atmospheres along different spatial settings, their design and use. Rome is only used in part for comparison in order to illuminate the specific atmospheric quality of a large city in contrast to Pompeii.
The analysis of emotional spaces will focus on one specific emotional bundle – the correlate of sexuality, lust, and love. In Pompeii, graffiti attest for the more or less spontaneous emotional appropriation of the city space (at least of its medialisation). For Rome, we have a large number of written sources at hand (Ovid, Properz, Martial, etc.) that correlate specific imaginations of ‘love affairs’ with specific places within the city. This allows for the reconstruction of an emotional topography of the city.
Contrasting these two approaches allows us to understand the extent to which specific design strategies of public space correlate - or not - with actual forms of emotional appropriation.

Brothel Pompeii

Project by Prof. Dr. Annette Haug




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