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40 668 Animism in Architecture: Ecopoetics

Full course name in English: 
Animism in Architecture: Ecopoetics
40 668
Syklus 2
2024 Vår
2024 Vår
Maksimum antall studenter: 
Rolf Gerstlauer

Admission to AHO and successful completion of three years bachelor level studies (180 ECTS).

Om emnet

Body and Space Morphologies (B&SM) is a research-based teaching program in the Building Art department. Dedicated to Phenomenology in Architecture, the program offers Trans-Disciplinary master studios in explorative – architectural, pre-architectural and post-architectural - making, sensing and thinking.

We aim at preparing and enabling students to conduct their own interest driven investigation into Architectural Phenomenology - understood as Research Creation; a working mode creating an inspired, process focused and reflective Material Practice. We consider this to be the Artistic Parallel to both Traditional Scholarly Research and Common Architectural Design Practice.

Based on performativity and affordance theories, performance and performance studies, disability and neurodiversity studies as well as phenomenology and perception theories, the B&SM Studio Works investigate primal and/or pre-architectural material/processes/phenomena/conditions and develop or perform a series of experienced distinct objects that behave relational, that inspire imagination, that provide new knowledge, strong architectural interests and/or architectural narratives.

2023 marked the start of the second cycle of the B&SM course series on Acting and The Acted in a More-Than-Human World - structured into spring and autumn modules:  

  • Spring semesters are dedicated to the topic on Animism in Architecture - studied and worked through a discourse on the various ideas, movements and awareness created in current ecoperformance, ecopoetic, ethnopoetic and ethnofiction works. 
  • Autumn semesters investigate actual Ecoperformance in Architecture – studied and worked through a discursive design practice that seeks to establish porous architectural infrastructures which understand environment and body as inseparable dimensions of performative creation.

The semester task spring 2024 - Animism in Architecture: Ecopoetics

As a discipline, ecopoetics investigates how the human is situated within its habitat; how “home” is defined and built; where (or whether) borders exist between body and world, human and other, space and place; and how sense activities, physical presences, memory, and moments of thinking locate and assist the human desire to navigate the self in the world.

Ecopoetics, thus, contributes to the dissident project of resistance to dominant cultural modes of thinking. What is often written as the legacy of the Enlightenment—science, rationalism, the dominion of man over nature—is critiqued for its pernicious cultural legacy: a body of encyclopaedic “knowledge” deeply rooted in formulations of the world in terms of “classes” and “species.”

Bristow, Tom. “Ecopoetics” in Facts on File Companion to World Poetry: 1900 to Present Ed. R. Victoria Arana. New York: Facts on File, 2008. PP156-159.


Knowledge of:

  • Ecopeoetics introduced as a multidisciplinary approach to making, sensing and writing.
  • the basics in phenomenology of architecture and the various practices that exist within (and that can become part of) architectural phenomenology.
  • the basics in affordance theory and the theories concerning objecthood and/or object relations as means to fuel and reflect upon a material practice and/or artistic research in the field of architecture.
  • the basics in performance and performance studies that make body & space morphologies: ways of making, looking at, discussing and seeing/understanding qualia and perception in the working of architecture.
  • the basics in disability studies and neurodiversity studies as the necessary activist movements working and re-defining the human condition from “all the world’s a stage” (Shakespeare) towards for all the human spectrum with its diverse behavior dwelling in a more-than-human world.
  • the basics of performativity, language and speech acts as the tools that can add value to the making and a work – but that not necessarily must seek to replace the issues at stake in a work or a thing.
  • the foundational preparations for an advanced haptic visual and experimental artistic research leading to a material practice and/or architectural phenomenology

Skills in:

  • finding, developing and/or embracing initiatives for the making of an inspired, explorative, and imaginative artistic research
  • manufacturing physical and/or visual (or otherwise sensible/perceptible) works and gaining a unique expertise in the craft(s) deployed in the making of these artifacts.
  • conducting this artistic research with the desire to make or pursue a material practice containing, or inviting for, reflections in phenomenology of architecture / architectural phenomenology.
  • deploying complementary ways of working and means of creative investigations that make, demonstrate, or narrate a dialogue between the works inherent qualities and how this connects to (or can become) issues, phenomena and/or subjects in the world.
  • maintaining a personal diary of the making that can be worked into documents of the making aiming at a third-party readability.

approaching environments, situations, and discussions phenomenological and applying and recognizing performativity in speech and action as productive means from which to provoke and receive social employed knowing in trans-disciplinary teams

General competence in:

  • developing distinct initiatives and choosing the craft in which to act or work them to partake in the discourse on the phenomenology of architecture.
  • approaching and acting on impulse with all sorts of material, objects, environments and/or events and gaining valuable experience, artefacts and/or documents from this.
  • conceiving of and presenting/communicating unique architectural content/research through a haptic visual material and the phenomena or conditions contained and experienced in it.
  • understanding the mechanisms and rhetoric of systems of oppression, learned behavior, eugenics and stigma that are un-productive and unsustainable (in the field of architecture as well as in the systems we call architecture).
  • developing and/or pursuing life-long initiatives for a material practice in architectural phenomenology that is independent of, and/or adaptable to, any kind of professional commission.

not knowing a thing, but having the passion, dedication, endurance, and imagination to wanting to get to know it.

Praktisk organisering og arbeidsmåter

The studio meets for every Wednesday and Thursday from 9:30 to 17.00 for lectures, screenings, reviews, and worktable talks. Fridays from 13:30 – 15:30 are reserved for Studio Commons (student driven events or discussions etc.). 

We have five public mid-term reviews and prepare at the end of the semester a work display. The exhibition allows for the students to display their complete works (all objects and artefacts – found or made) together with a book and/or film or video containing a written and/or otherwise illustrated experience of their making and that what the making had connected to. An external sensor team will study the exhibition and books and/or video/films and then give feedback and critique on the individual work but also on the studio as a whole. 

The Body & Space Morphologies diploma thesis candidates are integrated in the studio and work in the same space. We recommend the master course students to attend the diploma mid-term reviews (between four or five during the semester). 

Sustainability commons & goals of the B&SM studios: 

  • The studio shares the responsibility to create an inclusive learning and working environment in which all of us seek to accommodate another, and in which we strive to reduce waste by ways of working circular processes. 
  • Ecoperformance in Architecture is a topic that requires a creative discursive approach and/or advanced experimental architectural design practice that potentially can contribute to all the 17 sustainable development goals. 
  • The students are aware that they take an active stance regarding the above stated two B&SM sustainability commons, thus they focus their design initiative & process accordingly.

We plan two trips to the Lista-peninsula in Southern Norway:

  • a 3-days-long workshop and fieldtrip in the first week of February
  • and a Lista-Event-Week during the regular excursion week (week 9).

Course literature is available in Leganto

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