Smart Homes and Dwelling Machines: On Function, Ornament, and Cognition

  • Teemu Paavolainen
Part of the Performance Philosophy book series (PPH)


Thread 5 addresses domestic design and technology, from the dwelling machines of modernist functionalism to the smart homes of the present, as exemplified by Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye (1931) and Apple’s Home application (2016). In this technological and architectonic domain, the performative staples of efficiency, efficacy, and effectiveness are traced in projects of functional transparency, from the Corbusian ‘machine for living in’ to the ‘ubiquitous’ but more invisible technologies of late. Conversely, the theatrical resides in the dramatic, the aesthetic, the sensuous: in synoptic networks that help control and understand the technological meshwork, but also enable a distinctly antitechnological variant of the good old antitheatrical prejudice—beginning from the modernist distrust of ‘ornament’ in Le Corbusier’s time. The chapter concludes on ‘ecological’ notions of extended and enactive cognition that not only bear some affinity with theatricality and performativity, but also neatly define ‘textures of thought’ in which dwellings and inhabitants are equally interwoven.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teemu Paavolainen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TampereTampereFinland

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