Territories of Equivalence

Objects of the Logistical Apparatus


  • Clare Louise Lyster University of Illinois, Chicago




The production regimes of every era do not remain in the factory but permeate every aspect of a society including its architecture and design culture. Mechanisation transformed space, in particular the household into an efficient machine, with industrial components and standardised dimensions (from the bathtub to the streamlined kitchen), while military manufacturing efficiencies and emerging technologies allowed consumer goods (from TV sets to Tupperware) to fill the middle class suburban home in the post-war era.

This essay contemplates how logisticalisation, the latest incarnation of capitalist production, is permeating the design and conception of contemporary space through an exploration of the gadgets and objects that are increasingly used by the public as portals to the larger world of logistical flow. I refer to previous object-based theories of space in architecture as well as to Object-Orientated Ontology, a philosophical movement that elevates the meaning of objects as independent conscious entities beyond human agency. These serve to contextualise my own reading of logistical objects as manifestations that not only allow us intimacy with the larger and complex world of logistics, but more significantly, as dynamic shapers of new types of architectural and urban space, here characterised as territories of equivalence.

Author Biography

Clare Louise Lyster, University of Illinois, Chicago

Clare Lyster is an architect, writer and Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is author of Learning From Logistics: How Networks Change Cities (Birkhäuser, 2016) that explores the implications of logistics for architecture and urbanism. Her research on the topic has been exhibited at the Lisbon Architecture Triennale (2016) and The Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (2017).


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