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Title: Producing place atmospheres digitally: Architecture, digital visualisations practices and the experience economy
Authors: Degen, M
Melhuish, C
Rose, G
Keywords: Architecture;Experience economy;Computer generated image;Senses;Atmosphere;Digital visualisation;Doha;Qatar
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Citation: Journal of Consumer Culture, 2015
Abstract: Computer generated images have become the common means for architects and developers to visualise and market future urban developments. This article examines within the context of the experience economy how these digital images aim to evoke and manipulate specific place atmospheres to emphasize the experiential qualities of new buildings and urban environments. In particular, we argue that CGIs are far from ‘just’ glossy representations but are a new form of visualising the urban that captures and markets particular embodied sensations. Drawing on a two year qualitative study of architects’ practices that worked on the Msheireb project, a large scale redevelopment project in Doha (Qatar), we examine how digital visualisation technology enables the virtual engineering of sensory experiences using a wide range of graphic effects. We show how these CGIs are laboriously materialised in order to depict and present specific sensory, embodied regimes and affective experiences to appeal to clients and consumers. Such development has two key implications. Firstly, we demonstrate the importance of digital technologies in framing the ‘expressive infrastructure’ (Thrift 2012) of the experience economy. Secondly, we argue that although the Msheireb CGIs open up a field of negotiation between producers and the Qatari client, and work quite hard at being culturally specific, they ultimately draw “on a Westnocentric literary and sensory palette” (Tolia-Kelly 2006) that highlights the continuing influence of colonial sensibilities in supposedly postcolonial urban processes.
ISSN: 1741-2900
Appears in Collections:Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Research Papers

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