You are now free to move about the cabin

People become restless when restrained by regulation or command. In my search for the relationships between mood and mobility I’m led inevitably to how people’s moods change when they are corralled, constrained, and set free (if they are) — and how moods linger in the traces, memories and stories of such experiences. Restrictions on movement are among the first…More

Moods and movies

Many scholars are interest in films and cities. Cities feature in films, people make films to explore city spaces, and tourists visit film locations. Artists create multimedia interactives about cities that also have a filmic aspect to them. Take a look at Night Walk in Marseilles. It’s a slick art piece featuring the sounds, music, atmospheres and graffiti of Marseilles…More

A step up

My office looks out to the original front entrance of the National Museum of Scotland. The restoration of the entry steps is now complete. The architects for the renovation of the museum provided an access-friendly entrance at street level. Once protected inside the basement of the building you ascend by elevator or escalator to the impressive gallery levels above.…More

Zeitgeist busters

“Turn on, tune in, drop out” — that was the spirit of the late 1960s, the mood of those times, their Zeitgeist. What about the current age? Everything is a copy, so turnitin replaces “turn on,” itunes is the new “tune in” and dropbox replaces “drop out.” At a time where everyone would rather be elsewhere, turn off, drop everything, and turn up late, also serves as a mood…More

Mood and movement (and trams)

The trams are running in Edinburgh, after 6 years of construction, stalls and turmoil. It’s a nice ride, described well in a recent post by blogger Gillean Somerville-Arjat: “It doesn’t shoogle or wobble and hurtle you about with sudden braking as the buses do.” I think of gliding down Princes Street on a tram as something like being in a…More

How bored is your dog?

People have tried EEG on pumpkins, melons and dead fish. There’s no real evidence that it works on dogs, but it was worth a try. The dominant reading for Jasmine was excitement. This blog post is co-written with PhD student Dorothea Kalogianni. Electroencephalography (EEG) is a fascinating technology that measures the intensities of the key frequencies at which the human…More

Unlocking nature’s secrets

Smartphones and other digital devices are fine for the workplace, but promote stress, especially when you’re tying to socialise, relax, and recuperate ready for the next challenge. So leave your smartphone at home (or in the office) when you go for a relaxing stroll. The only academic study I’ve found to date that supports this warning is a circumspective 2012 press…More

Moody atmospheres and electric auras

How do buildings affect people emotionally? Most architects prefer to talk of atmosphere rather than emotion. For architectural theorist Mark Wigley, atmosphere: “surrounds a building, clinging to the material object.” He says it even emanates from the building: “It is some kind of sensuous emission of sound, light, heat, smell, and moisture; a swirling climate of intangible effects…More

Wet and wild

In a recent experiment into green landscapes and their salutogenic (health giving) potential (led by colleague Jenny Roe), we presented people with a range of images of urban and green space — dry images deliberately selected without “blue space” (i.e. water). Such is homo sapiens‘ powerful affinity with life-giving water, we thought its presence would…More

Betwixt and between

Architecture is not a polite discipline. According to architectural theorist Bernard Tschumi, “the ultimate pleasure of architecture lies in the most forbidden parts of the architectural act; where limits are perverted, and prohibitions are transgressed. The starting point of architecture is distortion” (91). Rem Koolhaas asserts something similar. Design is not “meticulous definition, the imposition…More