[London, United Kingdom]
LIONarchitecture Principal Matthew Teismann was recently published in Fabrications Journal by Taylor & Francis Routledge. This article is titled 'An Emerging International: The Imperial Gaze of the Monster Globe in 1851,' and is the most comprehensive publication to date of Teismann's research into purpose-built viewing apparatus he calls optica. In this featured cover article, Teismann contends that architecture can instantiate being-in-the-world through a hidden architectural allegory that redefines our perception of the built environment. This paper contends that humans' modern conception of the world can be derived and displayed through certain types of architecture - where people come face to face with the world. During the mid-nineteenth century there was an inherent desire to visit these spectacles, a global project embedded within what Peter Sloterdijk calls an ‘architecture of immersion.’
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One month after the opening of the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, one of the most compelling purpose-built panoramas was erected by cartographer James Wyld in Leicester Square. The largest model of the earth ever constructed, the Monster Globe is a gigantic hollow sphere depicting land formations in color relief on its surface: a georama. The globe is inverted, however, so that the exterior surface of the earth is conveyed on the interior surface of the hollow sphere. Transcending traditional cartographic means, the Monster Globe represented emerging spatial conceptions, evident in the all-seeing allegorical gaze of the map. James Wyld’s ambitious scheme to respatialize human perception originates in an equally ambitious Great Exhibition of 1851. Wyld’s Monster Globe, however, has largely been forgotten. Relatively unknown and understudied, this paper will show that its importance lies as a symptom of an emerging imperial construct. Is it possible, however, the Monster Globe is both symptomatic of modern imperialism while also emblematic of a not-yet fully realized global space? Beyond mere historical document, this paper contends that the cartographic space of the Monster Globe stems from and prefigures specific historical conjunctures of imperial capitalism and global power.