Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
For a Special Issue on
05 January 2022
16 May 2022
“’Openness’ . . . is the guarantee of a particularly rich kind of pleasure that our civilization pursues as one of its most precious values, since every aspect of our culture invites us to conceive, feel, and thus see the world as possibility.” Umberto Eco, The Open Work
The design of interiors, not unlike the works of art central to Umberto Eco’s exploration of the concept of openness, is completed by how end-users engage with it. Defined as open by Eco, such works foreground subjectivity, chance, multiplicity, and interactivity – factors that are always already situated within interiors.
To consider the openness of interiors, however, one immediately has to acknowledge that this space is profoundly defined by enclosures. Indeed in both theory and practice, interiors deal with boundaries whether it is in order to maintain or dissolve them. Such boundaries are spatial, temporal, physical, psychological, professional, disciplinary, accepted, contested, real, and imagined. Like light or liquid, the shape of an interior often reveals itself only upon encountering that which contains it. Meanwhile, the question of where interiors begin and where they end spatially or intellectually remains elusive in its own right.
The relative porosity of such boundaries shifts as the terms of the journal’s subtitle – design, architecture, culture – filter one’s view of interiors: an independent design discipline, a specialized area of architecture, as well as a broad cultural field. This inherited triangulation of terms captures a contradictory desire to be simultaneously closed and open, selective and inclusive, defined and nebulous. For this special issue, the journal seeks to challenge its own limits – as well as that of interiors – by proposing the theme of OPENNESS.
Following Eco’s concept of openness, the term stands for the psychological disposition toward new experiences. In science, an open problem or question that is assumed to have a solution, but one that has not yet been solved. Socially and politically openness suggests access and inclusivity, while the notion of an open education can be traced back to the Enlightenment. Since the 1980s, open-source technologies have had a profound impact on innovation, communication, and peer-to-peer collaboration at a time that has simultaneously been characterized by technological monopolies and the emergence of big data that has impacted nearly every fiber of human experience. The recent convergence of ecological crises, social upheaval, and the global pandemic has brought to light the complexity and contradiction of the relationship between the open and the closed, bringing into question the very foundations of contemporary societies.
In this context, how can interiors be a productive space of openness? Where, how, and what may open up more? Which boundaries must be reconsidered? Which forms of participation, inclusion, and dialog must be especially encouraged and supported? In what ways does openness as a model not only enable interiors to absorb that which is relatively external to it, but also serves as an opportunity for interiors – and those are associated with it – to be emancipated from their own limits by moving outward?
The theme issue OPENNESS welcomes submissions based on theoretical and historical investigations, creative scholarship, research, and pedagogical explorations in the form of full-length articles or shorter written essays that prioritize graphic content.
Eco, Umberto. The Open Work (Harvard University Press, 1989), 104.
For consideration, please provide a note of interest on the topic of Openness. This can take the form of approximately 3-5 images and accompanying text (300-500 words), or a proposal of 500 words. Please include your contact information. The editorial team will contact selected authors in January 2022 to develop proposals into full manuscripts due May 16, 2022. Selected notice of interest does not guarantee publication, this will be determined through the anonymous peer-review process of developed manuscripts. Please see the journal website for additional information on submissions.
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