Volume 9
, No.
November 2004

Built Spaces.
The Cultural Shaping of Architectural and Urban Spaces

Conceptional design and editing:   Cornelia Jöchner, Kirsten Wagner
Organisation and layout:
  Heidrun Bastian, Ehrengard Heinzig

Cornelia Jöchner
& Kirsten Wagner


(in German)

Hartmut Böhme   Speech at the Conference
(in German)

Body Spaces - Spaces of Living
Rebekka Ladewig   Directions Getting Moving -
Considerations Concerning an Unattended Term
Kirsten Wagner   From Body to Space. Aspects of the Discussion of Space in Architecture from the Perspective of Cultural Studies
Eduard H. Führ   But, can Spaces be Built, then?
Jasper Cepl   From "Palace Style" to the "machine a habiter" The Transformation of Urban Spatial Structure in the Early 20th Century,
or: Preliminary Remarks Regarding a Forgotten Problem of Form
Alexandra Staub   Public Face and Private Space:
The West German Single Family House in the Twentieth Century
Evening Lecture:
Karsten Harries
Aus- und einräumendes Bauen:
Our Discordant Longing for Freedom and Shelter
Progress as Condition of Spaciality
Cornelia Jöchner   How does 'Movement' Get into the Theory of Architecture?
On the
Space Debate at the B
eginning of the Modern Age
Christoph Asendorf   Space and Movement in the Modern Age
Turit Fröbe   Ways and Movement in the Architecture of Le Corbusier
Media Spaces
Jörg Seifert   Phenomenology of Spatial Orientation: About the Relationship of 'Mental Maps' and Three-Dimensional Perspective Mental Picture Impressions of Movement Spaces
Riklef Rambow
& Honke Rambow
  Limits of Expansion:
Architecture, Music, Drugs
Jörg H. Gleiter   Reconceptualizing Architectural Space in the Virtual Age
Evening Lecture:
 Bruno Flierl
Regaining Lost Places in Cities by Built Symbols
Opening / Closing Spaces
Gert Selle   Opening and Closing -
On Old and New References to Space
Action Spaces
Ludger Schwarte   The Architecture of the Public Space:
n Action-Theoretical Approach
Walter Siebel   The Change of Public Space
Karsten Feucht   "Building Conversations" – Innovative Tourism Concept Shapes Landscape
Intercultural Spaces
Ivan V. Nevzgodin   Post-Soviet Phenomena: Transformation of Urban Spaces and Functions of Karl Marx Square in Novosibirsk
Gül Kaçmaz-Erk   Architecture as Symbol: Space in Wim Wenders' Cinema
Lu, Yi
& Ruzica Bozovic-Stamenovic
  The Spatial Concept of Chinese Architecture
Poster Presentations
Diane Fellows   Remembrances and Passages:
An American Grid as Memory Personified
Gesa Mueller von der Haegen   Scenography in Architectural Contexts

Body Spaces - Spaces of Living
___Rebekka Ladewig
Directions Getting Moving.
Considerations Concerning an Unattended Term

Despite the spatial, topographical or cartographic turns exclaimed in the last years, a theoretical exploration of the term ‘direction’ is still expected from the perspective of cultural studies for the time being. That is all the more astonishing as the organization of spa
tiality, that is the construction and arrangement of spaces, has always been based on directions. At the beginning of the last century Rudolf Goldscheid commented that "the direction is the more original and particularly the more concrete (than space and time), and that space is nothing else than the sum of all imaginable directions" (cf. Rudolf Goldscheid: Der Richtungsbegriff und seine Bedeutung für die Philosophie. In: Annalen der Naturphilosophie VI, ed. by Wilhelm Ostwald, Leipzig 1907, p. 69).
In my contribution, I would like to examine directions as elements of the spatial that are equally constitutive for the construction of material, mental and symbolic spaces. It is necessary to underline that directions themselves represent culturally encoded constructs that are woven into a network of mythical pictures, habitualised methods and cultural techniques. On the one hand, the horizontal and the vertical form the elementary reference axes of any spatial movement; however, they can also be made visible  as 'culture types', if for instance Odysseus' wandering is drafted as a paradigmatic movement in the horizontal and Phaeton's hybrid desire as an exemplary expression of the verticality of human space-wanting. In addition these mythological figures show that spaces of movement, experience, game and action of human beings as well as the architectures connected with these spaces are opened up or become accessible only by the movements of the body and that they cannot be separated from these.
On the
background of a bodily-philosophic approach the bodily-geometrical directions (Schmitz), originating in the space axes (above – below, in front – behind, left – right), shall be concerned as basis of spatiality and spatialisation. Only the intact localization of the own body, its 'grounding' in a ‘here’ and ‘now’ allows the subject to get a point of view from which it can plan its physical and mental movements, it can think a ‘where to’ and develop intentionality. From this perspective it can be shown that relational space concepts, like inside – outside, centre – periphery, core – edges, as well as the spatialisation of the worlds human beings live in are enlargements and expansions of bodily directional spaces.

(Paper in German)

___Kirsten Wagner
From Body to Space. Aspects of the Discussion of Space in Architecture from the Perspective of Cultural Studies

Architectural space is a comparative recent subject of theoretical reflection. It was not before the end of the 19th century that the concept of space has been introduced in the theory of art and architecture. The epistemological function of the concept of space was twofold. On the one hand it allowed a formal analysis of the pictorial, plastic, and built artefacts, on the other hand it was used for their historical and stylistic classification. Thus a particular ‘spatial style’ shared by diverse artefacts was read as a characteristic expression of an epoch and its idiosyncratic feeling of space. Whereas this formal and style-historical concept of space dominated the theory of art, it was in the context of architecture that a more anthropological concept of space was developed. For in the context of architecture the human body became the basis of the experience and reception of built spaces. This new approach to architectural space and architecture in general was influenced by perceptual psychology as well as the theory of empathy. Both had emphasised the role of the body and its multi-sensorial and kinaesthetic disposition for the processes of perception and cognition. On this background space also in architectural theory could be defined as something that depends on the movements, actions, perceptions, and feelings of the human body. With such an approach architectural theory has anticipated not only phenomenology but also the recent performative approaches to cultural spaces and their bodily conditions of production. Accordingly, a revision of the early space discussion in architectural and art theory proves to be very constructive even for the contemporary reflection of space in cultural studies. On a more global level this revision can also document the close connections that have existed and still exist between architecture and cultural theory.


(Paper in German)

___Eduard H. Führ
But, can Spaces be Built, then?

The author pursues the question how space can be designed, therefore how subjective statements can be made in a medium with objective value.

(Paper in German)

___Jasper Cepl
From "Palace Style" to the "machine a habiter"
The Transformation of Urban Spatial Structure in the Early 20th Century,
or: Preliminary Remarks Regarding a Forgotten Problem of Form

The Critique of historicist architecture around 1900 resulted in an increased awareness of the role of space in architecture. Architects like Muthesius or Gessner, who abandoned the 'styles', hence were freed to design different spaces as well.
New concepts of space emerged. The theory of Herman Maertens was one milestone, another one was Muthesius’s argument that the interior space ought to be governed by the context: he distinguished country house and town house, both of which required a different spatiality, depending on their surroundings.
This concept was later forgotten. The quest to find the minimal dwelling made considerations about the three dimensions of the interior superfluous. After World War I radical ways of restructuring the city were conceived, by men like Heinrich de Fries and most importantly by Le Corbusier, who, in accordance with the work by his precursors, developed his own theory of adequate spatiality in the
'ville vert'.
Reconsidering the aforementioned authors I suggest that we have to revise the critique of the modern movements concepts of the city, as authors like Colin Rowe produced it. Rather than lamenting the loss of well-defined public space in the modern city we should turn towards the still neglected aspects of proportionality of interior and cityscape in these concepts. Last but not least this re-thinking might improve the practice of building in the city today.


(Paper in German)

___Alexandra Staub
Public Face and Private Space:
The West German Single Family House in the Twentieth Century

From the nineteenth century on, the house has been seen as a private refuge, and a place (for the husband) to relax after a hard day’s work. In Germany, this view went hand in hand with reformist efforts to allow all social classes to limit their households to members of the immediate family.
This article analyzes the physical manifestation of these efforts, by using both photos and plans of representative houses, and film images in which use of the spaces is shown. The analysis concentrates on the boundaries between the private house and the public street, looking at this space both historically up to 1945, and in its evolution during the postwar era.
The privatization of individual family space takes on new meaning, as “openness” of the house is limited only to the house’s interior, while the boundary between inside and out remains impermeable. A new spatial freedom thus seems only possible in spaces that can be privately controlled.

While the house turns more and more away from any interaction with the public street, the inside of the house expresses a new parity and democracy within the family. Both an increased accessibility and larger allotment of spaces to the children are indicative of a new family atmosphere. This condition helps to soften the impermeability of the house itself, even as its built appearance retains its defensive stance.

(Paper also in German)

___Karsten Harries
New Haven
Aus- und einräumendes Bauen:
Our Discordant Longing for Freedom and Shelter

The German title resists translation: ‘ausräumen’ means to clear a space, ‘einräumen’ to make it habitable, as we do when we furnish a room. But does it make sense to speak of architecture as emptying out or clearing space? Architectural fantasies help us to understand not only what such architecture might look like, but also what gives it a perennial appeal. What calls us in such fantasies is freedom. From the very beginning building has thus been accompanied by a protest against all architecture that would assign to persons and things their proper places. Freedom, however, must bind itself if it is not to degenerate into arbitrary willfulness. But where is freedom to find what would bind it? Those who have experienced the weight of this question, will perhaps discover some comfort in the recent turn in art to what is dark, heavy, and abject: a first recognition that all genuine self-affirmation demands a return from that wilderness into which freedom and reason have led us to a recognition of ourselves as mortals, belonging to the earth.

(Paper in German)

Progress as Condition of Spaciality
___Cornelia Jöchner
How does 'Movement' Get into the Theory of Architecture?
On the Space Debate at the Beginning of the Modern Age

It is a relatively young realization that architectural spaces are constituted in the movement of the body. If aspects of perception found their way into the architectural theory of the Renaissance for the first time (Alberti: street space), an erosion of previous concepts of architecture occured under the impression of the emerging scientific psychology in the late 19th century. Whereas Gottfried Semper still conceptualized the building as a closed form – a form, also existing in nature, but being equipped with the human ability to form a horizontal axis the art historian August Schmarsow placed a turning point for the reflection of architecture with his Leipzig inaugural lecture (1893): the ´innermost nature´ of architecture would be space – an explanation that found its way into the different theories of architecture immediately.
My contribution explores which role
'movement' played as a constitutive element of space in papers on the theory of art and architecture at the beginning Modern age. In the early theories of Hildebrand and Schmarsow the observer is a prerequisite of space, 'movement' is understood as the characteristic reception form of architecture. In the twenties the theory split up the process of the space-making, actively shaped by an observer, either into different perception levels, or it looked at the observer just as a passive performer of architecture. This point of view culminated in the design teaching of Moholy-Nagy at the Bauhaus that wanted to ´educate´ a space experience of the modern human being: space-making turned into the matter of the architect. And so in the development of the Modern age there appeared not only a new understanding of space, but also a position to the observer / user of architecture becomes generally accepted, that must be brought in consideration today, when in the field of architecture space- and place-making qualities are looked for again increasingly (keyword 'identity_).

(Paper in German)

___Christoph Asendorf
Frankfurt an der Oder
Space and Movement in the Modern Age

Movement has always influence on the perception of spaces. Often designers even evoke specific movement experiences what is particularly obvious in the architecture of the baroque. However, the acceleration of all life processes and the general dynamics of changes in the modern age put this problem on the agenda in a quite new manner. In the years around 1910, the effects of the speed of automobiles and of the view from above made possible from an aeroplane were discussed. Seemingly stable coordinates began to totter; people saw that the prerequisites of creative work began to change against the background of omni-dimensional circulation. World War I brought quite a new experience of the modern space of movement; it presumably causes also the diverse reflections on the phenomenon of spatial penetrations in the twenties. After World War II Alexander Dorner realized a "hyper-spatial reality" of global interaction, however, not asking more exactly about possible architectural representations. The last quarter of the 20th century then sees the slow end of the transportation revolution and the ascent of information technologies.
After the physical movement, also the informational movement as a shaping phenomenon of the surrounding culture turned into a challenge for architecture. Does "liquid spatiality"
correspond "liquid modernity" now?

(Paper in German)

___Turit Fröbe
Weimar / Amsterdam
Ways and Movement in the Architecture of Le Corbusier

"Equipped with his two eyes, looking in front of himself, our man goes, he moves forwards, acts, practises his occupation, and at the same time notes any architectural demonstrations and their details as they appear one after another. He has inner emotions, the result of following shocks. That is going so far that the architectures can be organized into dead and alive ones, depending on whether the law of walking-through was not observed or whether it was followed brilliantly quite the reverse. […] Good architecture is walked through, stridden through, indoors as well as outside." (Le Corbusier, 1942)
Similar observations and emphasized polemics against the "graphic" planning practices of the so called academic tradition are already found in "Verse of une Architecture", th
at essay collection with which Le Corbusier entered the international architecture stage in 1923. Even two chapters of the publication contain his programmatic demands for "dynamic" architectures that can only be grasped completely by movement. The Acropolis of Athens served as an exemplary reference of "vivid" architecture for Le Corbusier that must be walked through accordingly its plan disposition and that includes the observer as well as the nearer surroundings into the composition. In this context the famous Acropolis interpretation by August Choisy from the year 1899 has a key role; later it was reflected directly in Le Corbusier's own architectural and town-planning projects.

(Paper in German)

Media Spaces
___Jörg Seifert
Phenomenology of Spatial Orientation - About the Relationship of 'mental maps' and Three-Dimensional Perspektive Mental Picture Impressions of Movement Spaces

How does human spatial orientation work? How are spaces and space systems represented mentally? Which role do two-dimensional pictures play that result from maps and city plans, and three-dimensional-perspective picture impressions that are generated when going or driving through a space or that are conveyed by photographs and films? These questions are discussed on the basis of some selected approaches and positions that deal with aspects of space perception and different forms of two- and three-dimensional cognitive space representations. As a starting point, serves the classic of the literature on urban development "The Image of the City" by Kevin Lynch (M.I.T. Press, 1960). Lynch understands the "image of the city" as an imaginary plan – a so-called mental map. However, Lynch’s merit is not to have coined this term, but rather to negotiate this subject within the discourse on architecture and urban development. The research about cognitive maps is done in different sub-disciplines of psychology (environmental and architectural psychology, cognitive development psychology), as well as by geographers, city planners, and others, but also by computer scientists. The different approaches are introduced by the examples of a united publication of the geographer Roger M. Downs and the psychologist David Stea, of contributions of the psychologists Mark May, Johannes Engelkamp and Ruth Schumann-Hengsteler and a work of the computer scientist Jochen Schneider. In psychology which has obviously dealt most intensively with this subject by now, the discussion about mental space representations already goes back to the late nineteenth century. Since the methods of psychology obviously are little suitable to treat typical problems of architects and urban planners that can be summarized as questions about the consequences of the reception and mental representation of space for the production of space, I try to take the position of a phenomenological approach between psychology and architectural theory. In view of a media-based change of perception paradigms (higher information density, increase of abstract references instead of physical-authentic marks), the relationship of two-dimensional mental maps, three-dimensional mental models, three-dimensional perspective single images and their sequences are to be discovered again. Is the phenomenon ‘city’ in accordance with Lyotard’s "End of the Big Stories" no more planable in principle? Or is it possible to develop new strategies for urban planning, according to Lynch, including more current perception and media theories? The search of answers to this question is the essential motivation of my research – a doctorate project at the university of Konstanz.

(Paper in German)


___Riklef Rambow
& ___Honke Rambow
Limits of Expansion: Architecture, Music, Drugs

The overcoming or dissolution of spatial boundaries is a topic for architecture at least since the beginning of the modernist period. In contemporary architectural discourse it appears in diverse contexts and with a variety of conceptual meanings. But in spite of the ostensible self-evidence with which many designing architects articulate claims at overcoming spatial boundaries most often it remains totally unclear which experiential effects they strive for and why these should be worthwile striving for at all. But without clarity concerning these questions the discourse on spatial expansion is just an empty cliché.
In this paper we first discuss what types of sensual experience can be aimed at by means of spatial expansion strategies. This leads to the question which motives lie behind the search for such experiences. Motives may fall in the physical realm, for example the expansion of possibilities brought about by the temporary overcoming of gravity. Or they fall into the psychological realm, like all sorts of mind-expansion or heightened awareness. Strategies to satisfy such motives can be found in classical as well as in popular music, in the use of hallucinogenic drugs, in cinema, but also in the fields of extreme sports or computer games. They can be found not only in western industrial societies, but in many other, possibly even in all cultures. Seen from this perspective, the reasons behind the desire to produce spatial expansion experiences by architectural means might be rather found in the psychology of the designer than in the psychology of the user of architecture.


(Paper in German)


___Jörg H. Gleiter
Tokio / Berlin
Reconceptualizing Architectural Space in the Virtual Age

Towards the end of the 19th century architecture theorists engaged in a vivid discussion about how to define the very nature of architecture. This was triggered by the then frenzied development in science and technology and the ever more evident loss of traditions in architecture culture. Prominently discussed in art theory at the time empathy theory served as a prime source in the effort to reontologize architecture. By defining architecture as a spatial art architecture was believed to have finally reached the clearest articulation of its true nature. In reference to Hegel‘s Phenomenology of Mind this cleared the way for the conviction that the century old evolution of architecture had come to a final halt. Despite the fact that they were born out of a deep suspicion of the new technologies of the machine age, these ideas seem to have survived all conceptual changes in architecture culture so far. Even today they serve as the undebated basis for a large part of the actual theoretical discourse, while on the other hand the empathy theories themselves have long lost their formerly dominant position in the scientific and artistic field. Doubtlessly this widely unquestioned legacy of the 19th century has to be held responsible for the reluctance of contemporary architecture to cope with the actual digital paradigm shift by tackling the most
remarkable question in architecture culture today: the reconceptualization of architectural space in the age of its digital doubling by the new media technologies.

(Paper in German)


___Bruno Flierl
Regaining Lost Places in Cities by Built Symbols

The most topical and at the same time the most spectacular example of regaining lost places in cities undoubtedly is the “Ground Zero” called area in New York Manhattan, where until their destruction by islamistic terrorists on 11 September 2001 the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center stood. Another example is the central area of the Spree Island in Berlin, once the place of the old Prussian Palace, which was seriously damaged by bombs in 1945, and in 1950 eventually was pulled down. Later on, in 1976, the  Palace of Republic was erected  at this place. It still exists, even though it has been ruined by radical sanitation of asbestos (in the meantime) and is determined to be demolished. With regard to the political grounds of their destruction as well as to their planned architectural renaissance as built symbols both places are comparable.

(Paper in German)


Opening / Closing Spaces
___Gert Selle
Opening and Closing -
On Old and New References to Space

In essayistic form and from a historico-cultural and phenomenological point of view, the author of the paper tries to define the basic gestures of opening and closing real and virtual spaces as constants of acting in the process of space learning, running crosswise through changed space structures and new requests for relations with space.

(Paper in German)


Action Spaces
___Ludger Schwarte
The Architecture of the Public Space:
n Action-Theoretical Approach

Because of the privileging of the methodically intervening subject, the classical action theories neglect not only the material bases, which cause respectively enable actions, but also reduce actions to an outwardly directed penetrative activity.
The search of the bases of actions should turn towards performativity as a reality-making and culture-shaping potential of a (performance) process. Such a process results from a situation in which performativity develops and in which an action unity
at first independent from any discernible desire becomes apparent in an allocation of movement and perception, of activity and passiveness etc.
The material bases which shape such a situation, appear particularly in the architecture of the public space, because on the one hand this architecture must be orientated to eliciting at first unknown, but then observable reactions from forces, things, or creatures. It must make openness understandable so that people, things or forces appear publicly in an unpredictable manner. In the centre of the public space, there is an action in the sense that things, forces, or creatures are allowed to get scope at first by that architecture to behave in another way or not at all. On the other hand, however, that architecture is not a rigid prerequisite, but it is modified by every action. Designing, building, using and changing of the public space are kinds of action likewise. The architecture of that scope makes an event from what is created in such a performative situation.
Starting out from these considerations I try to outline
an architecture of the public area in my lecture. One goal is to propose a concept of the public space that neither assumes the contrast to the private, nor a space conception that can explain merely the representation, but not the subversion of power. Above that I would like to test the workability of architecture-philosophical reflections for action theory.

(Paper in German)


___Walter Siebel
The Change of Public Space
  1. In the polarity of public and private urban spaces the structure of civil society has gained spatial shape.

  2. This polarity is distinct in four dimensions: legally, functionally, social-psychologically and spatially.

  3. In all four dimensions, tendencies of privatization and undermining the polarity of the public and the private can be observed.

  4. But there are also opposite tendencies of a publication of private spaces.

  5. New types of urbane spaces are discussed in conclusion.

(Paper in German)


___Karsten Feucht
"Building Conversations" –
Tourism Concept Shapes Landscape

The experience of provisional landscapes as bizarre, exceptional landscapes gives them a new valence. The appearance of open-cast mining only apparently was not transformed by that. Actually, it is changed as a result of that because its changed public perception and the changed communication on it "renovated" the open cast. In this respect we understand our tour concepts as architectural designs and our tourism as means of landscape formation.

(Paper in German)


Intercultural Spaces
___Ivan V. Nevzgodin
Delft / Novosibirsk
Post-Soviet Phenomena: Transformation of Urban Spaces and Functions of Karl Marx Square in Novosibirsk

Already in 1930 Karl Marx Square was designed as the main square for the new socialist city Left-Bank Novosibirsk; but the construction of its buildings started as late as the 1970’s. About two decades later, in 1991, the opening of the underground station finally gave the impulse for a dynamic development. The square is now an important hub between the underground terminal and other means of public transport.
In the past decade the new capitalistic era transformed the square to the alternative city centre of Novosibirsk as a whole. The lack of attention of the central authorities gave a chance for spontaneous self-regulating transformations, determined by the upcoming capitalism. The two urbanistically most important buildings here are still unfinished, while in front of their construction site fences, as in a theatre before the curtain, capitalism performs new plays.
The square presents the plurality of new experiences of space and social actions in its spatial fragmentation. It not only mirrors the rapid economic developments and differentiation in the Russian society but also shows the effects of globalization. The contrasts are extreme. The wild Russian capitalism bore on this territory several worlds, which yet never meet each other. Transportation and trade are not only shaping open and covered spaces here, they also create new symbols, new myths and new social scenarios.
The constructions of the Palace of Culture and the hotel in the centre of the square were reactivated in 2003-2004, and it seems that these buildings will be finished in a very short time from now. What is going to happen with this entire kaleidoscope, when the construction fences have disappeared? Will it be the start of a new urban play?


(Paper in English)


___Gül Kaçmaz-Erk
Amsterdam / Istanbul
Architecture as Symbol:
Space in Wim Wenders' Cinema

Architects may learn a lot about architecture through cinema. What is represented in a film is an interpretation of architecture. Film space is a representation of architectural space. As in well-known German director Wim Wenders’ cinema, films in which space is in the foreground suggest different ways to perceive, experience and interpret represented space. Wenders’ techniques and elements of space not only turn space into an actor but also make space a symbol of contemporary society. This study aims to uncover the relation of representation between architecture and cinema through Wenders’ films, focusing on the conception and shifting meanings of space in his thirteenth feature film Der Himmel über Berlin (1987).

(Paper in English)


___Lu, Yi
& Ruzica Bozovic-Stamenovic
The Spatial Concept of Chinese Architecture

The shape and pattern of architectural and urban spaces certainly play an important role in our everyday life, affecting our perception and emotions. Conversely, it could be argued that cultural parameters are also highly relevant to the spatial concept and patterns of built space.
This paper attempts to point out some important traditional concepts that might have influenced the understanding of space in the mind of Chinese people from the cultural point of view, as well as indicate how these concepts actually influence and reflect the form and pattern of Chinese architecture.
The theories underpinning the architectural form are introduced in the beginning. These theories and philosophy include Dao, Yin-Yang, Feng-Shui, and Confucianism.
In order to grasp the main idea of spatial concepts relevant for the ancient Chinese, the characteristics and meaning of Chinese architecture are described in general. These significant patterns of Chinese buildings are noted as: walled closure, axiality and cardinal orientation, and courtyard spaces.
Further elaboration positions the architectural space and form as the expression and reproduction of a reduced version of the great cosmos that is close and important to human life.
Spatial concepts developed in this study could shed lights to the inherent meaning and functions of the traditional Chinese buildings, as well as the architectural design in modern Chinese society.

(Paper in English)


Poster Presentations
___Diane Fellows
Oxford (Ohio)
Remembrances and Passages:
An American Grid as Memory Personified.

The inter-disciplinary work, “Remembrances and Passages”, a performance narrative, deals with architectural place-making using painting, video, and a performance reading. In the video montage, paintings of characters in self-portrait and abstractions of urban alleys are in concert with live action video to inform the understanding of human activity in a given place, and the creation, through aesthetic attributes, of that place. Fundamentally, my work addresses how private aspects of migration and refuge become visible through the creation of public spaces and constructions. By private, I suggest gender, sexuality, and ethnicity.
“Remembrances and Passages” takes place in Denver, Colorado, USA, in the city’s alleyways. Eight city blocks historically identified as the ‘Chinese community’, or ‘Hop Alley’, existed within the urban grid of
Denver’s commercial district. The performance text, based on historical accounts of this early Chinese community (1870-1947), is a contemporary story of two people who know each other by name only and agree to meet on a July afternoon in lower downtown Denver. As each travels along an inner city alleyway, events unfold making it impossible for them to meet.
Accounts of immigration, refuge, and ethnicity are shared in the video by Chinese currently living in Denver. These accounts are the pulse that drives the total video montage and the performance narrative, and informs architectural place making through layers of narrative storytelling.


(Presentation in English)


__Gesa Mueller von der Haegen
Scenography in Architectural Contexts

What is scenography? How can artistic scenography and architecture interplay? The subject of  ‘stage-managing in architecture is as old as architecture itself. The short lecture investigates spatially extensive artistic works situated in the urban and shows how temporary spatial artistic interventions can influence the perception of space and architecture sustainably and how, in addition, they can be understood as instruments for the improvement of the urban-spatial quality of life. This improvement is not intended here as a repair measure for building sins, but as a complementary interpretation of the built environment (and its structural interrelations) which could have effects on future planning processes.
In this context, the course of studies “Exhibition design and scenography” at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe is introduced as well. With its reorganisation the fields of scenography, exhibition design and architecture have been put in a new context.

(Paper in German)



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