40 512 Body and Space Morphologies : Catharsis II


Passed foundation level (bachelor in architecture) and a desire to conduct your own experimental artistic research on architectural phenomena and conditions

Recommended prerequisite knowledge

Attendance of one of the elective courses (autumn 2014, 2015 or 2016) on Body & Space Morphologies : Architecture & Film

Course content

Introduction: Body and Space Morphologies

Body and Space Morphologies is a research based teaching program that offers a series of elective courses and master studios in explorative architectural design, sensing and thinking. The aim of the studio course series is to work and deeper investigate primal architectural phenomena and conditions, and to develop those into experienced distinct architectural sensations or interests. The studio courses are for students that wish to create their own architectural problem(s); students who either have an urge to seek deeper into particular architectural issues or who want to challenge their own creative process and to get to know themselves better in the making of an architecture. Beyond the success of a mere problemsolving and/or established architectural critique, Body and Space Morphologies studios prepare and try to enable students to conduct their own architectural artistic research (1).

Catharsis . Acting the Collective #II (Fall 2016):
Students are to develop their own personal architectural program in relation to a social construct, a built autonomous construct and a desired connection to nature/environment. The topic for the Body and Space Morphologies studio course series is CATHARSIS; an inspiration to “Act The Collective” or to “Act Because Of The Collective” either as the architectural “relief from strong or repressed emotions” or as the subversive antonym to it “causing repression and/or strong emotions”. How to free and architecturally act a desire driven emotive collective, or how to conceive architecture in response to such a collective, is the task for these semesters. The studio works on the subthemes of “expression, language and the inexpressible”.

The Task:
Spatially to release your necessity to make something because of something. To act, react or enact the collective (a chosen group of individuals; e.g. spectators, visitors, dwellers, workers, travellers, onlookers, mourners, guests, ill, suppressed, free, animals, people etc.) through a distinct architecture / architectural awareness. To experience, reflect upon and describe the necessity/necessities made.

(1) Artistic research as an artistic parallel to scholarly research in general is enshrined in the Act relating to Universities and University Colleges, cf. Section 1.1, as a joint goal for higher education institutions in Norway. The subject area of art encompasses the whole arts field as it is manifested in Norwegian institutions of higher education. (http://artistic-research.no/kunstnerisk-utviklingsarbeid/?lang=en)

Learning outcomes

The ability to prepare and conduct an advanced visual experimental architectural design research; including process preparation/adaption, development of own working method, critical verbal/written reflection on the basis of ones own visual material, and the conclusion of the research in a final presentation and exhibition at AHO Works. The studio reviews contemporary art and architecture theory, literature and philosophy, stressing architectural work that is intuitive in the making yet conscious in the further programming and development of a precise visual and written argumentation towards an architecture with a social content and a refined relationship with nature/culture. The students learn how to conceive and perceive architectural form, space and body within the autonomous and un-programmed architectural construct, and how to further discuss the occurring architectural phenomena as conditions within a body and space morphology discourse.

The course is concentrated on physical model-works supported by narrative drawings. Students will gain expertise in the making and exploring of independent and new visual material, and learn to trust their ability to both conceive and present/communicate unique architectural content/research through that visual material and the phenomena or conditions experienced through it. The students discover, retrieve and nourish architectural ideas from an immediate and impulsive reaction (model-works) to a self-employed awareness of social needs and wants, and to further their architectural discoveries into spatial constructions, drawings, film/photography and textual works towards a new architecture, nature, culture.

The course offers a tight studio environment with three weekly lectures and/or film screenings on relevant projects, ideas and theories in art and architecture, literature, philosophy and the sciences. It conducts four extensive public reviews before the final crit and exhibition. The students will get highly trained in presenting their own visual material together with verbal and written reflections on their process and feel confident/enabled to conduct an experimental discursive space in architecture, on the basis of their own work and research.

The goal of the studio is to skill students towards independent and self-sufficient artistic architectural research that produces new architectural content, awareness and ideas; preparing them both for their final experimental architectural thesis/diploma but also for an artistic parallel to scholarly research in general (e.g. the alternative PhD as offered by the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme). In general, students are enabled to trust their creative work and to develop strong and independent yet sufficient architectural content and ideas. They mature in their personal architectural awareness and should be able to make their artistic voice heard, no matter what context they operate in.

Working and learning activities

The main activity is the artistic research / architectural design on the individual project (studio-works as described above). We work with our hands to create and force immediate physical models and use narrative drawings and descriptive or creative writings in a search for sensory architectural qualities. We strive for a creative open and individual driven new architectural content with a clear focus on architectural space/body and the urge to experience how this architecture, understood as morphology, relates to nature, culture and society; creating awareness for how we as individuals, and as a group or collective of individuals, relate to these our creations and learning to explore and comprehend the meaningless meaningful closeness in that relationship.

The semester starts by reflecting the past and current times with their socio cultural changes as well as various artistic practices and tries to identify and discuss changes or ideas that had both determined and determent our reading of architectural space and body as instrument to influence our way of living. We will be critical to ideas, work on primary architectural properties, make discoveries and develop them into distinct architectural interests toward a new nature, culture, and architecture. The studio beliefs in a tight working environment that produces both concentration and inspiration as it allows undisturbed subjective and passionate views about ones own work. Collaborations are sought with long-term partners that can know and contribute to the studio energy and present challenging reflections or problems on each individual work.

Professor in charge

Rolf Gerstlauer

Additional information

⋅ Julie Dind, Tokyo and New York, (muse presenting the problem of body/language)
⋅ Tegneklubben / The Drawing Club, Oslo, (workshop on narrative drawings)
⋅ Stiv Kuling AS, Lister, (fieldtrip on sensing by making/working)
⋅ Anders Abraham, Copenhagen (sensor for the final review)

Mandatory work requirements

Work requirements Number Number of approved Mandatory presence Comment

An introduction to the task provides the start for your individual process. The first ten days you are meant to produce an immediate material from which you then develop distinct architectural interests. After the first presentation, the weekly schedule consists of talks/lectures (90 – 120 minutes each) on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Tuesdays are reserved for the elective course and Mondays are “silent studio work days”. Four reviews and a final crit with exhibition are all mandatory and essential working and learning activities.


Assessment Date Duration Grade scale Oral examination
Prosessvurdering underveis Pass / Fail

Individual artistic research work: 20 weeks fulltime study (except for the attendance in the elective course that runs parallel to the master studio). The work has to be conducted in the studio and the material is present at any time. Examination: 3 public mid-term reviews, 1 individual review and the final public review with external examiner Professor Anders Abraham (Karch Copenhagen). For each of the reviews, assignments are announced on the moodle platform and the students hand in visuals and textual works which is complementary to the actual physical work made available and
presented in the reviews.

Attendance and participation: During the studio work and the talks, lectures and studio discussions/reviews/workshop/fieldtrip/final exhibition and final crit.

Reading lists / teaching materials

Syllabus: Body and Space Morphology
Body and space morphology is about the relationship between body and space.
How it manifests itself to be human in a room; outdoors, indoor, outside and inside, and
within the manmade room. Alone or together, as one amongst the thousand, or as the
thousand above the one.
Body and space morphology is about your body and the room you have within.
How it manifests itself to be human in architecture; what it inspires us to, and what it inspires
as an architecture, towards an architecture. Seeing the offer that lies in architecture, the
perversion of it, the infrastructure, poesy, the container, the gate, darkness or light.
Body and space morphology is about meeting the wall.
How it manifests itself being human between the walls; knowing about oneself, loneliness,
longings and all that is imaginable. Seeing oneself changed, having insights and outlooks,
transparency and visibility, hideouts and the stage. Seeing the light come and go, seeing the
chair and the mirror shrink and grow, seeing how all things inhabit and capture the room.
Being between the walls, looking at how the walls swallow and devour the things, seeing
how the walls are becoming.
Body and space morphology is about the problem of body.
How it manifests itself to face the unknown; what presents itself as new or what just became
in front of you. That which yet not has a name, although it shows itself, can be touched,
heard, smelled and felt. That which stands sound and nevertheless can leave, that which can
or cannot be moved; moves us.
Body and space morphology is about the distance in space.
How it manifests itself to stand still; one moves just a little, approaches a thing, every thing,
jumps, penetrates, goes into it, turns around, looks up and down, takes on things, is looking
back and keeps moving on.
Body and space morphology is about what we do not know and approach anyway.
Without a map there are only lines and without a compass directions just get more, then the
word world is exploded and before recognition has become, and it is resemblance and
closeness that which implodes us astray. This you might endure and as you wish.
Body and space morphology is about “to act necessities”;
wanton and radically so, using your hands, using the other, using your head but not meaning
a thing, acting abstract, acting the figure, autonomous it is and dirty it will get, serious too
and ridiculous radically so.
Excursion, workshops and fieldtrips
The fall 2016 semester includes a study trip to New York while the spring 2017 semester
travels to Japan (approx. 10-12 days, not mandatory). Both semesters organize a mandatory
workshop with the Tegneklubben Oslo (at AHO) and a mandatory 3 days fieldtrip to the Lista
environment (south-west coast of Norway, the course finances the travel and stay).
Recommended Literature
Abraham, A. A new nature: 9 architectural conditions between liquid and solid
Allen, S. Points and Lines
Arendt, H. The Human Condition
Arendt, H. On Violence
Barthes, R. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography
Barthes, R. Empire of signs
Barthes, R, & Heath, S. Image, music, text
Benjamin, W. The work of art in the age of its technological reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media
Benjamin, W. Walter Benjamin’s archive: Images, texts and Signs
Benjamin, W. On Hashish Berger, John. About Looking
Berger, J. Why Look at Animals?
Berger, J; with Dibb, M., Blomberg, S., Fox, C. & Hollis, R. Ways of Seeing
Borges, J. L. Labyrinths
Calvino, I. Invisible cities
Deleuze, G. Francis Bacon: the logic of sensation
Deligny, F. The Arachnean and other texts
Descola ,P. Beyond Nature and Culture
Descola, P. The Ecology of Others
Derrida, J. The truth in painting
De Toledo, S. A. Cartes et lignes d’erre / Maps and wander lines: Traces du réseau de Fernand Deligny
Druot, F., Lacaton, A. & Vassal, J-P. Plus
Ellis, B. E. American Psycho: A novel
Fehn, S. The poetry of the straight line_Den rette linjes poesi
Fjeld, P. O.. Sverre Fehn. The pattern of thoughts
Flusser, V. Towards a Philosophy of Photography
Frampton, K. Labour, work and architecture: collected essays on architecture and design
Gissen, D. Territory: architecture beyond environment
Godard, J-L, & Ishaghpour, Y. How video made the history of cinema possible
Hays, M. K. Architecture theory since 1968
Hejduk, J. Architectures in Love. Sketchbook Notes
Hustvedt, S. The blazing world: A novel
Hustvedt, S. What I loved: A novel
Kittler, F. Optical Media
Kittler, F. & others. ReMembering the Body: Body and Movement in the 20th Century
Koestler, A. The Roots Of Coincidence. An Excursion Into Parapsychology
Koestler, A. The Act of Creation, a Study of the Conscious and Unconscious in Science and Art
Koestler, A. The Ghost In The Machine: The Urge To Self-Destruction
Kracauer, S. Theory of Film: the Redemption of Physical Reality
Krauss, R. & Bois, Y. A. Formless – A Users guide
Kwinter, S. Architectures of time: toward a theory of the event in modernist culture
Leatherbarrow, D. Uncommon ground: architecture, technology, and topography
Merleau-Ponty, M. Phenomenology of PerceptionM umford, Lewis. The transformations of man
Kolhaas, R. & Obrist, H. U. Project Japan: Metabolism Talks
Richter, G., & Friedel, H. Gerhard Richter: ATLAS
Scarry, E. The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World
Serres, M., Malfeance: appropriation through pollution
Skinner, B. F. Walden Two
Sontag, S. Regarding the Pain of Others
Sontag, S. On Photography
Stein, E. On the Problem of Empathy
Stein, E. Potency and Act, studies toward a philosophy of being
Stein, E. Finite and Eternal Being: an Attempt at an Ascent to the Meaning of Being
Thoreau, H. D. Walden, Or, Life in the Woods
Vesely, D. Architecture in the Age of Divided Representation. Question of Creativity ...
Viola, B. Reasons for knocking at an empty house: writings 1973- 1994
Woolf, V. Kew Gardens