Alien architecture (pre-20th Century)
Alien Architecture: The Building/s of Extra-terrestrial Species - Pre-twentieth Century is a Georgia Leigh McGregor's Honours Thesis from UTS. It deals with what kind of architecture is portrayed by pre-20th century "extra-terrestrial literature". It's basically a study of architectural imagination based on textual research (". It includes both fiction and non-fiction and draws on a range of narrative and scientific works, including utopian, satirical, comedic, philosophical and adventure texts.") that takes architecture as a "tool for understanding" the relationship between ourselves and an alien species, "proposing that architecture is one of the means by which the character of an alien species is read." Few curious insights from the conclusion:
"Consistently the architecture of alien beings has been the architecture of humanity with the wholesale transfer of architectural assumptions. The application of anthropometrics to alien forms, assuming a relationship between dimensions of an extra-terrestrial and their buildings, was made evident (...) In one way the architecture of extra-terrestrial civilisation has remained the same but different, to refer to Ben Jonson’s concept. The conventions of earthly architecture are repeated in space though changing and transforming over time. The twentieth century would see an explosion in the quantity of other worldly literature and new media, with the advent of film and television, through which extra-terrestrial cultures would be portrayed. In the process many of these conventions would be reused and reinvented. Yet some of the most significant conventions arose prior to the twentieth century. (...) Extra-terrestrial architecture moved from representation at an individual level to a portrayal of society, as a whole, integrated with its urban fabric in this period. Architecture was used to create difference and to link to the familiar. Architecture and technology were confirmed as definitive evidence of an intelligent civilisation"
("A View of the Inhabitants of the Moon" - Illustration from an 1836 English pamphlet, publisher unknown - "Note the biped beavers on the right") Why do I blog this? my interest about space, technological implications in space and sci-fi led me to this paper. Lots of interesting stuff here (although it's more food for thoughts than material for my research). I quite like the analysis of the implications as well as the description of the connections between the pieces of text and their context of production (in terms of scientific discovery, etc).