In Juhani Pallasmaa’s essay, “The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses,” he brings to our attention how western culture suffers from ocularcentrism; when vision is privileged over the other four senses. This is characterized by a “vision-generated, vision centered interpretation of knowledge, truth, and reality.” He along with this brings us to a realization that some of our finest thinking is done when our vision is suppressed. Our vision serves as a limitation and distraction to our minds full capability according to the text.
Furthermore, it also goes into great detail about how the other four senses are equally as important in shaping our experience of being.” Everything Pallasmaa pointed out within his essay really opened my eyes (no pun intended), to how we as humans perceive and experience everyday life, and how we properly should be doing so. This faulty way of living life was brought to my attention progressively over the course of the reading and opened up a perspective of life I never thought of before.
In the first place, Pallasmaa explains to us that we prioritize vision over the other senses, smell, touch, taste, and hearing when it comes to meaningless everyday activities in today’s society. But to really understand how much we value vision over the four, we need to look at each sense as an added dimension used to enhance and cultivate every experience and encounter we take part in. For example, let’s use contemporary architecture. Architecture today is created for the sole purpose of pleasing the eye.
This is why you see buildings like the freedom tower, sears tower, etc. look every aesthetically pleasing, but lack depth to it according to Pallasmaa. Current architecture like this may look good with all the fancy windows, future style, etc, but all it really does according to Pallasmaa is, “isolate it in the cool and distant realm of vision.” (31) The visual culture as it relates to current day …