Haptic reality

Dioramas @ American Museum of Natural History

"journey poems, view paintings, and garden views were among the new forms of shared spatiovisual pleasure [during the eighteenth century]. they combined a sensualist theory of the imagination with the touch of physicality. a haptic consciousness was being produced. the broadening of visuality inaugurated at this time was essentially about changing the way desire was positioned: it effectively 'located' desire in space and articulated it as a spatial practice."

"working closely with topographical representation, this genre of view painting emphasized the drama of location; the portrait of the city in italian vedutismo, that is, tended toward a narrative dramatization of sites, characterized by a heightened and tactile texture of place."

- G. Bruno, Atlas of emotion: journeys in art, architecture, and film

diorama is a simulacrum of haptic reality, a design tool in which a narrative and material texture can be imagined and tested as an extension of site context. it is not necessarily a historical reconstruction, as stephen parcell argues; it retains a potential for fiction without an authorized narrator to explain what it means. it's a metaphor free from didactic feeds.

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