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  • 401.
    Van Toorn, Roemer
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Situated knowledge: the laboratory of immediate architectural intervention2013In: Intravention, durations, effects: notes of expansive sites and relational architectures / [ed] Alberto Altés Arlandis, Oren Lieberman, Baunach: Spurbuch Verlag , 2013, p. 67-72Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 402. Van Toorn, Roemer
    Society of the And: The Bewildering Interdependence of Our Times2017Book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Society of the And

    With the traveloque of images in the photobook the Society of the And the viewer is challenged to carry out a montage. A dialogue full of ambiguities, contradictions and positions should set itself into presence. While the viewer is invited to look to the facts, I hope s/he start to see beyond the stereotypical, beyond the world of stupifying banality, routine and mechanical reproduction. The format of the images is chosen not only that you decode, that you decipher what you "read" (as in the television news), no, you are also invited to see the free play, the unfinished pieces, the juxtapositions, gaps and openings within the Society of the And. The challenge is to extract a genuine image from the Society of the And, free the visual from any prior program, or fixed gaze (theatricality), to release ourselves from the suffocation of the cliché.

    A new spectre is haunting the world – the spectre of And. It is the spectre of urbanity, the one of the multitude that haunts society. All the cultural, technological, economical and intellectual powers in the world – both on the left and the right – have embraced this spectre. Formerly the dominant forces were separation and specialisation, the struggle for clarity and the reduction of the world to calculable proportions; now we talk about One World based on simultaneity, mobility, migration, fluidity, multiplicity, reflexivity, individualism, risk, urban warfare, uncertainty, chaos theory, hybridization, diaspora, the state of exception, schizophrenia, privitization, heterotopia, immersion, the space of flows, the culture of sprawl, cyborgs and so on. The Either-Or world in which we lived and acted became increasingly an illusion. Our modernity no longer develops mainly in instrumental, rational and linear terms; instead it takes its direction from the rules of side-effects. In a certain sense Modernity might be considered more ideological while the Society of the And (2nd Modernity) is more pragmatic

    Currently Van Toorn has been photographing the current conditions in Dubai, Israel and Egypt and finalizing the introductionary article with the support of the Swedish Research Council Formas, Architecture in Effect.

     The photo book the "Society of The And. The bewildering interdepence of our times”, includes articles by Stefano Boeri, Bart Lootsma and more than160 pictures by Roemer van Toorn.

  • 403.
    Van Toorn, Roemer
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Staging the Message: Autumn Public Lecture series and newspaper curriculum 2013/20142013Collection (editor) (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [en]

    Staging the Message. The Architecture of Communication.

    With the autumn lecture series and the ResArc course "Staging the Message. The Architecture of Communication" the UMA School of architecture will especially investigate - besides a series of other relevant curriculum lectures - how mediated research can establish a pro-active relation with its audience. In reaction to the virtual realism of the spectacle dominating mainstream media - which prevents a substantive use of word and image, the lecture series and course deals with textual, visual and spatial practices that further more refined, complex and argumentative forms of communication and foreground the constructed nature of their messages in order to solicit the active interpretation of the viewer/reader. To paraphrase architect Stefano Boeri we are in need of interactive antennas that counter a geopolitics that destroys any chance of communicative action. It is for this reason that the lectures and course focuses on the practices of a narrative language use in text, image, spatial and electronic media with emphasis on the potentialities and richness of the 'reflexive' or 'dialogic approach'. It tries to recuperate the specificity of its progressive and participatory practice - due to its role in the socio-cultural context producing meaning and symbolic values - by concentrating on the editing and making process. Which is to say that the course will introduce a way of directing that structures the collection of information and its editing in such a way that the staging, the 'mise-en-page' of the message gets the complementary sensitivity its content deserves.

     The lectures are organized by Roemer van Toorn, Professor Architectural Theory, in collaboration with the Swedish research school ResArc, the Laboratory of Immediate Architectural Intervention (LiAi) run by Professors Oren Lieberman & Alberto Altes Arlandis, and the Laboratory of Sustainable Architectural Production (LSAP) run by Professors Walter Unterrainer and Jüri Soolep at UMA.

  • 404.
    Van Toorn, Roemer
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Staging the message: The architecture of communication2014In: Making Knowledge Conference: Keynote, 11, 12 december 2014, Stockholm / [ed] Fredrik Nilsson, Daniel Koch, Jüri Soolep, Stockholm: Architecture in the Making, Formas funded , 2014Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Fredrik Nilsson (Chalmers), Daniel Koch (KTH) and Jüri Soolep (UMA) of the Strong Research Environment "Architecture in the Making", invited me to speak about architecture publications, exhibitions, and what we initiated at UMA (with UMA Press). And besides several examples I like to spend a few words on what it means to Stage the message (See also PhD ResArc communicationcourse as developed at UMA), and why communication according to me is, and also has been in many instances an intrinsic aspect of the profession architect.

    In the ResArc Communication course Staging the Message. The Architecture of Communication we especially devoted our attention – with different specialist in the field of communication (such as AndreasRuby, Michael Rock, Nader Vossoughian, and Els Kuijpers), research and design – how the form(at) of a research – right from the start, and during the development of the research as a whole – can enable the researcher to (1) critically reflect and (2) develop its content through the interplay between content and form; while (3) the chosen and developed form of mediation also will enable the researcher to broadcast, (edit, communicate and mediate) her/his ideas (content) to an (4) audience (an idea of the public: society, peers, alliances, enemies or otherwise) within actuality and our information age at large.

    With its special emphasis on the interplay between content & form the course – overcoming the problem that dissertations almost never work as publication – clarified that every relation needs a mediator; and this mediation comes with a form; an aesthetic discourse that by itself already empowers, limits and produces a specific kind of value system that (co)-produces, reworks and mediates the content. 

    Form and content operate always interdependent of each other. Without mediation there can be no communication: Form is content, content is form, says Samuel Beckett, and only through a form(at) – and being aware of its consequences (dependencies) – you can start and are able to (a) reflect, (b) curate, (c) edit, (d) produce and (e) direct information in communication to (f) yourself, others and an audience.

    With Modernism architects started really to see how important the intimate relation between architecture and publication is. It is of no coincidence that Le Corbusier listed his profession as “homme de lettre”(man of letters) instead of having the name architect in his passpor

    Le Corbusier was meticulous how through page lay out, the form of type, the genre of writing, photographs, diagrams, sketch books, exhibitions and even promotional material, his ideas could be mediated[i], but also how these formats could help him to advance his ideas about architecture, urbanism and society in the new machine age.

    For contemporary architects, such as Rem Koolhaas, writing, making publications, editing journals and designing exhibitions has been inseparable from their practice too. Part of the work is to describe architecture’s evolving present, … to prepare ourselves to deal with issues, …to know what kind of architecture you want to do. “I try out different genres, different tones, clinical – Generic City, or hysterical – Junk Space.” says Rem Koolhaas.

     

    Through experimental forms of architecture communication (books, journals, exhibitions, genres, models, etc.) Koolhaas (with Harvard) discovers what the evolving present/past is about, and where moments of transformations can be enacted according to his research (as part of education at Harvard).

    Another essential element of the communication course was how its mediated research could establish a pro-active relation – other than the commercial and state media – with its future audience in today’s society. In reaction to the virtual realism of the spectacle dominating mainstream media – which prevents a substantive use of word and image, the communication course delt with the textual, visual (photography, video, internet) and spatial practices that further more refined, complex and argumentative forms of communication and foreground the constructed nature of their messages in order to solicit the active interpretation of the viewer/reader.

    To paraphrase architect Stefano Boeri we are in need of interactive antennas that counter a geopolitics that destroys any chance of communicative action. It is for this reason that the course focused on practices of a narrative language use in text, image, spatial and electronic media with emphasis on the potentialities and richness of the ‘reflexive’ or ‘dialogic approach’.

    I rest my case, talking about the more theoretical aspects, dimensions of communication, media production, and another kind of critical forms of communicating.

    Let’s look at some examples that hopefully inspire you I have been working on, in the past and which are in development with others (at for instance UMA); how in other words form and content are interlinked in publications and some exhibtions, including the one’s of some other inspiring authors/editors and its different formats.

  • 405.
    Van Toorn, Roemer
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    The Cruel Architecture of Apartheid, Israel. Text-Images essay: Society of the And2013Other (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Society of the And

    Text-Image research

    In the Society of the And life can be characterised by a complexity that tends to become ever more chaotic. In one way or another conflicts and liberating experiments emerge that cut a path beyond all Either-Or polarities. The near and the far intertweave; the local and global blend and impact each other. Everything is infused with, and dependent on everything else; what counts isn’t two or three or however many, it is the conjunction And. The global, diffuse and formless character of the And rocks not only all relations, it rocks all kinds of earlier identities based on the verb “to be”. The And is not simply a collection of elements but a sytem of complex relations in space ochestrated by different time rhythems. The relationships between the various elements may consist of discourses, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, cultural differences, philosophical, moral and economic propositions, and so on. With time of communication imploding and shrinking to the no-size of the instant, space and spatial markers cease to matter, at least for those whose actions can move with the speed of the electronic message. We live apparently in a fragmented world of collages of images, signs, imaginations, functions, and activities with myriad ways of connections and intensities that coexist with each other. While we complain about the loss of dominant form and the abundance of junkspace, we enjoy the advantages of being more and more mobile. Efficient and comfortable spaces of interconnection interweave paradoxically with the worlds of exclusions and disconnection within the same fabric. If there is coherence and integration within the Society of the And, it comes from the circulation of power within the technological infrastructure, of interlocking, interdependent agencies, practices and knowledge on a global scale. One thing is for sure the binaries oppositions that defined Modern conflict have been blurred. The dialectic logic, which helped Modernism to navigate in the world; of objectivity versus subjectivity, of the near versus the far, of fact versus value, of the city versus the countryside ensured that we could not understand reality as being both real And virtual, human And non-human, utopian And dystopian, local And global, heterogenious And homogenious. The new paradigm of power in the Society of the And rules through differential hierarchies of the hybrid and fragmentary subjectivies. The heterogeneous nature of the And, and its effects are not necessarily predictable, that means that a wide range of both positive and negative outcomes can be generated through development without attributing these to a metanarrative, or requiring that we solely see imposition at play. At the same time, though, such ensembles operate to achieve overall effects thereby serving a dominant strategic function within our corporate global world. The paradigm of difference, fluidity and hybridity within The Society of the And – so much celebrated by contemporary advocates of emancipation –, is today very much part of the colonization strategies of corporate globalism too. Although the urban, capitalist, and modern everyday is pushing towards increased homogeneity in daily life, the irreconcilable disjunctions born in the And full of anachronistic interstices still make it impossible to think of modernization as only negative. Nothing is never fully coherent in the Society of the And: its cultures are always already partial and full of hybrid formations. Michel de Certeau’s work confirmed the impossibility of a full colonization of everyday life by late capitalism and stressed that potential alternatives are always available, since individuals and institutions arrange resources and choose methods through particular creative arrangements. Instead of searching for a position outside the Society of the And it is better to enter the terrain of the And and confront its homegenizing and heterogenizing flows in all its global complexity.

    The above mentioned fieldwork of text-images in israel, photographing the current conditions of globalization, is undertaking parallel to an introductionary article on The Society of the And, funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas, Architecture in Effect.

  • 406.
    Van Toorn, Roemer
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    The society of the And: the bewildering interdependence of our times2013In: Rethinking the social in architecture: The Reader / [ed] Staffan Lundgren, Stockholm: Umeå School of Architecture , 2013, p. 163-165Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 407.
    Van Toorn, Roemer
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    The voyage is over, the travel begins: Fundamentals, Architecture Biennale Venice, 2014 Curated by Rem Koolhaas2014In: The (Extra) Ordinary Life of Elements: Review Exhibition of the Venice Architecture Biennale, 2014 / [ed] Roemer van Toorn, Jüri Soolep. Janek Ozmin, Sepideh Karami, Hannes Frykholm, Katja Hogenboom, Umeå: UMA Press , 2014Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The Venice Architecture Biennale remains one of the most anticipated, controversial and ambitious international architecture exhibitions in the world. Probably in terms of floor-area coverage, and Euros spend; it is the largest architecture show on earth. Indeed, maybe the greatest too.

    Under the title Fundamentals, curator Rem Koolhaas and his team promise a radical departure from the usual survey of the current architectural scene, focusing instead on the Elements of Architecture, Absorbing Modernity 1914 – 2014, and Monditalia, conceiving the project "more as a vehicle for research than an exhibition".

    Besides the special focus on architectural research in this years Fundamentals exhibition, every architecture Biennale challenges and can help each architect, educator, student and researcher to position, innovate and elaborate his/her work against the larger discourse architecture is made of, and how his/her projects sits (critically) among its peers, actuality and possible contemporary futures.

    The UMA research school asked its PhD researchers: Hannes Frykholm, Katja Hogenboom, Sepideh Karami, Janek Ozmin and scientific committee members Jüri Soolep and Roemer van Toorn besides joining presentations, forum debates, talks and interviews with the curators and researchers present at the Architecture Biennale opening days, to especially, review, and position and update their own research from a critical perspective while documenting what the Biennale presents and questions. The result of this body of work you find in this exhibition.

    The UMA Review Exhibition consists of: 1) one roundtable with material such as catalogues, and publications from the Architecture Biennale which can be further discussed at the roundtable, 2) a series of panels that document what the Biennale’s essence is about, 3) six review panels and video screens of each researcher, and 4) a wall of citations of other critical writers/thinkers reviewing the Biennale as backdrop of the ones by the UMA research school.

    With our Review Exhibition of the Architecture Biennale we hope to stimulate debate, reveal, to some extend, what the UMA PhD School is about, what architecture is considered to be about in one of the current debates on contemporary discourse and its practice, and last but not least wish that you as visitor love to join the debate, and last but not least we strongly encourage you to go to the Architecture Biennale in Venice yourself, which is open until the 23rd of November 2014.

    An ebook publication of the different review contributions is in planned for 2015.

    Roemer van Toorn

    Director UMA Research School

    September 2014

     

    Colophon

    Design & production

    Hannes Frykholm, Katja Hogenboom, Sepideh Karami, Janek Ozmin, Jüri Soolep, Roemer van Toorn.

    Production

    Kent Brodin, Håkan Hannson, Sven-Erik Hilberer

  • 408.
    Van Toorn, Roemer
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Theory Now2015In: “This Thing Called Theory T: Theory as a Form of Architectural Practice 19th – 21th of November 2015, Leeds Beckett University / [ed] Teresa Stoppani, Doreen Berth, Braden Engel, Giorgio Ponzo, George Themistokleous, Leeds, 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Theory Now

    What is critical consciousness at bottom if not an unstoppable predilection for alternatives?

    Edward Said

    Theory is no longer theoretical, when it loses sight of its conditional nature, takes no risk in speculation, and circulates as a form of administrative inquisition over the world paralyzing all of us practitioners’.

    Trinth Minh-ha

    Today critique has become the primary mode of practicing theory. A growing dissatisfaction with the political capacities of critique is emerging facing the many crises in our world today. The persistence of melancholy as a primary affect of much contemporary theory derives from the recognition of this inability of critique to fulfill its transformative promises. And yet such expressions of dissatisfaction with critique generally are not accompanied by propositions of a different practice of theory as political intervention. What I am looking for is a new model for theory (ideas, concepts and material practices) in search of a social project aimed at both autonomy (independence) and democracy in the spirit of Kant’s “What is Enlightenment?” given the post-political condition of Neo-liberalism with its managerial spirit focusing on sustainability, comfort and security.

    What I look for are new social, ethical and political theories – which are both present in our material practice and the body of ideas (its past, present and future) – that potentially confront the urgent questions of the future; theories that develop speculative spatial, performative and aesthetic models, and ask: “What it could mean to be Modern today“ within the very domain of praxis.

    I see theory not only as a system of ideas intended to reflect, but – as in the Greek meaning of theoria – also as a system to speculate and contemplate – to develop a view (positions) and practice of actions that reach outside the limits and boundaries of accepted fields and methods, hybridizing them, inventing new categories and new modes of experimentation that includes the rewriting of history from novel, urgent and actual perspectives. Besides a short theoretical retrospective – critically interrogating the current situation in theory – the paper is after marking a new beginning, or in other words outlines what a possible other approach practicing theory could consist off. With the help of what has been happening in other fields such as film, art, literature studies and what has been happening under influence of the material turn (speculative realism) a new framework of Theory Now will be outlined including references to contemporary architectural practices and innovative examples of research happening at different architecture faculties.

  • 409. Van Toorn, Roemer
    Towards a Relational Architecture: Research at the Faculty of Architecture, Umeå University2011Other (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Towards a Relational Architecture

    Research at the Faculty of Architecture, Umeå University

     

    The theme Relational Architecture relates to the ambition at the architecture faculty to critically think through Modernity and its political, economical and social consequences in order to show that the works and methods we develop and discuss will have different cultural implications than the ones handed down by the prevailing order. The programme and its lecture series, therefore is emancipatory, striving for opening up space for original participation and dialogue rather than closing it off through functionalism and its descendant The International Style of Architecture.

    Introduction

    Paradigm Shift

    It follows from this that the global is not used here to describe the movement of discrete units in fixed time and space - it is not that objects are made and then distributed, as either commodities or gifts- , rather the notion of global describes how it is that objects in movement make and mark time and space.

    Scott Lash, Celia Lury

    We live in a time where our relationship with things and the enviroment is undergoing a rapid and radical change. Globalization has given the culture industry of design, architecture and art a fundamentaly different mode of operation. After the 2nd world war till the 70ties culture was still fundamentally a superstructure. As a superstructure, both domination and resistance took place in and through superstructures – through ideology, through symbols, through representation. When culture was primarily superstructural, cultural entities were still exceptional. What was mostly encountered in everyday life were material objects from the economical infrastructure (form follows function). This was true in 1945 and still so in 1975. But in 2011, cultural objects are everywhere; as information, as communication, as branded products, as financial services, as media products, as transport and leisure services in our designed world. The spread of suburbanization, which began to take off at the end of the Second World War, allowed an extraordinairy increase in social exchanges, as well as greater indivdual mobility (thanks to the development of rail and road networks, telecommunications and the gradual opening up of isolated places, which went hand in hand with the opening up of minds. Culture today is so ubiquitous that it, as it were, seeps out of the superstructure and comes to infiltrate, and then take over, the infrastructure itself. It comes to dominate both the economy and experience in everyday life. Culture no longer works primarly as superstructure in regard to resistance or domination. In our emergent age of a global culture industry, where culture starts to dominate both the economy and the everyday, culture, which was previously a question of representation, becomes “thingified”. In the classical culture industry – both in terms of domination and resistance – mediation was primarly by means of representation. In the global culture industry instead it is about the mediation of things – through innovative, interactive and creative design.

    From the 50ties till the 70ties the cultural industry determined their audiences through a fixed set of identities, like the proper place of home for the nuclear family living in Modern housing blocks. The objects of the global culture industry are not determinated from above, but as social subjects we relate to them in an indeterminate mode. This does not mean that capitalism is not reproducing on a global scale, it only means that it is reproduced differently. Now the much less determinate objects of our global culture industry encounter the characteristically reflexive individuals of today’s informational society. Determinacy is a question of “identity”. Interderminancy is a question of “difference”. In the culture industry, production takes place in the Fordist and labour-intensive production of identity (through commodities). In global culture industry, it takes place in the post-fordist and design-intensive production of difference (through branding). While the commodity works through reproduction of identity, the brand becomes operational through the evermore production of difference. Hence goods become informational, work becomes affective, property becomes intellectual and the economy more generally cultural. Culture, once in the base of the superstructure, takes on a certain materiality itself.

     

    Relational Turn

    Relational aesthetics tries to decode or understand the type of relations to the viewer produced by the work of art. Minimalism addressed the question of the viewer’s participation in phenomenological terms. The art of the ‘90s addresses it in terms of use. Tiravanija once quoted this sentence from Wittgenstein: “Don’t look for the meaning of things, look for their use.” One is not in front of an object anymore but included in the process of its construction.

    Nicolas Bourriaud

    Against the background of the above mentioned transformations of our global cultural industry the art-curator and theorist Nicolas Bourriaud introduced the concept of relational aesthetics for the modern art museum Palais de Tokyo designed by the architects Lacaton Vassal in 2002. Art became an interactive process; where a set of practices take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the encounter with the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than the assertion of an autonomous and private symbolic space. Instead of clean white walls, discreetly installed lighting, and wooden floors, the interior of the new museum was left bare and unfinished in order to stress that a work should be open ended, interactive, and resistant to closure, and often appearing to be work-in-progress rather than a completed object. The museum became a laboratory, a site under construction, for action, participation and live experiences. While we will stress the importance of relational thinking, understand space and its (designed) object within the global cultural industry and as interactive relational network that mediates and needs to communicate with the world at large and its users, we will not argue for projects that are itself to be in perpetual flux. With our understanding of global cultural reality through the notion of the relational turn we like to formulate an appeal far more than a description of our global reality. It doesn’t prescribes nothing but wants to underline a consciousness that derives its coherence from another consciousness: one that is aesthetic, ethical and political.

    Towards a Relational Architecture

    If modernism was a return to the origin of art or of society, to their purification with the aim of rediscovering their essence, then our own century’s modernity will be invented, precisely, in opposition to all radicalism, dismissing both the bad solution of re-enrooting in identities as well as the standardization of imaginations decreed by economic globalization. To be radicant today: it means setting one’s roots in motion, staging them in heterogeneous contexts and formats, denying them any value as origins, translating ideas, transcoding images, transplanting behaviors, exchanging rather than imposing.

    Nicolas Bourriaud

    It is becoming clear to architects, designers and artist that space is more complex and dynamic than previous formal models allowed. Ideas about spatiality are moving away from physical objects and autonomous forms towards the variety of territorial, political and pychological social processes that flow through space. The interrelationships amongst things in space, as well as the effects that are produced through dynamic interaction, are becoming of greater significance to intervening in urban landscapes than soley compositional arrangement of objects and surfaces. Now that relationality, networking, connectivity and other dynamic experiences in our heterogenous time effect the nature of the architectural (art and design) project – its conception, procurement, construction and use but also its shape, materiality and aesthetics – we have to start to analyse (map), judge and create projects on the basis of the inter-human relations they represent, produce and enact in our global cultural industry.

    Although the urban, neoliberal, and modern everyday is pushing towards increased homogeneity in daily life, the irreconcilable disjunctions born in our generic city full of anachronistic interstices make it impossible to think of modernization as only negative. Michel de Certeau’s work confirmed the impossibility of a full colonization of everyday life by late capitalism and stressed that potential alternatives are always available, since individuals and institutions arrange resources and choose methods through particular creative arrangements from within their generic condition. It are precisely these unpredicatable situations of co-existence that should be of interest for the relational architect, designer and artist. It is here where modernity revolutionizes itself through the complex overlapping of co-existing realities. It are these realities the relational architect, designer and artist wishes to engage with, without ever wishing to finalize them. We, as space makers, should ask ourselves the essential question what “modern” could mean in this complex global culture. Or in other words, how we as architects, designers and artist could help create conditions of “situated freedom” for both the collective and the individual now that globalization is total, and neo-liberalism has no answers to confront the disasters it created on the level of the city, the landscape (ecology) and humanity as a whole.

     

    Don’t Excavate. Change Reality!

    As citizens of a free society, we have a duty to look critically at our world. But if we think we know what is wrong, we must act upon that knowledge.

    Tony Judt

    We were not looking for origins, even lost or deleted ones, but setting out to catch things where they were at work, in the middle: breaking things open, breaking works open. We weren’t looking for something timeless, not even the timelessness of time, but for new things being formed, the emergence of what Foucault calls “actuality”.

    Felix Guattari & Gilles Deleuze

    Many institutions of academia have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point of our research is to change reality. Within and through the framework of relational architecture we at the Art Campus not only intend to explain, and interpret the world but feel the urge – as international and public platform for local and global research – to develop new agenda’s for practice experiments operating on the scale of the city, architecture, design and art.

    Research Projects (see also enclosed project descriptions)

    The following projects will be researched within the framework of relational architecture

    Towards a Relational Architecture consist of:

    1) Resurrecting the Chora. Aesthetics and sustainability in architecture.

    2) Aesthetics as a Form of Politics. From Fresh Conservatism to Radical Democracy.

    3) Passion for Reality. Unpredictable emancipations renewing society from within.

     

    * For more details on the above mentioned projects see enclosed attachment with detailed descriptions.

     

    Expertise

    - The faculty of architecture, together with the art faculty supervises and initiates the project. (The project information included with this document mentions the persons involved).

    - The project not only mobilizes national and international expertise beyond its own domain but also invites them to participate through seminars, public lectures, conferences, publications, webpages, exhibitions, articles, videorecordings and livestreaming.

    - The research is interdisciplinairy of character and includes the expertise of art, philosophy, technology, sociology, cultural studies, politics, design any several other fields.

    - Besides the UMA PhD & Post-Doc research laboratory the following companies and their guest professors support the program: Benisch Architects, Tyrens Engineers Stockholm, Locus Foundation France, Transsolar Germany, Urban Think Tank architects, Zürich, NGO’s from Cairo and several other stakeholders and specialist who will particiapte at a later stage.

    - UMA architecture is a member of the Nordic Academy network of PhD institutes, and was granted – together with the KTH, Lund and Chalmers University – a new grant for international PhD research. The expertise and exchange within its members and institutes wil be mobilized through this project on relational architecture.

     

    Research Formats

    -  Workshops and seminars (4 a year)

    -  International conferences (3 in total)

    -  Publications (both in print (4 books, peer reviewed articles) and electronic articles (a special webpage).

    -  All programs are public and livestreamed when it concerns a lecture, forum debate or conference. Livestreams are recorded and can be looked at from a digital archive over the internet.

    - All research projects will be excecuted on PhD level, as postdoc and in publications by the professers involved.

    - All research, debates and its information (knowledge) are part of an international platform of exchange between local, national and international institutes (which is open to the public at large).

     

    General Aims

    -  We are in need of new ideas to create a better future. The project develops and brings together advanced ideas (theories) that not only reflect but alos speculate how relation architecture can indeed create a better future.

    -  Besides theoretical speculations (the development of ideas) the project will mobilize (bring together and produce) an Atlas of alternative practices of concrete (real) examples, and techniques, from both disciplinairy and interdiciplinary perspectives. This atlas of examples (both of the past and the future) will collect all relevant knowledge within the framework of relational architecture.

    - Knowledge on this topic is everywhere and nowhere. The many traces hidden in the different practices and institutes (and its discources) are in need of a common platform on relational space (architecture, design and art). The aim is that the art-campus profides this common platform of knowledge (database), expertise and exchange.

    -  With this project we initiate a higher seminar for researchers, doctorate students, master students, aesthetic students, philosophers, historians, architects, designers, artists, curators and various theoreticians in order to thoroughly discuss developments within the project. 

  • 410.
    Van Toorn, Roemer
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Verortetetes Wissen2016In: Reality bytes: Ausgewählte Schriften 1995-2015 / [ed] Bart Lootsma, Katharina Weinberger, Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag, 2016, p. 18-27Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article by Roemer van Toorn introduced and situates the work and many writings of acclaimed architecture researcher and professor Bart Lootsma of Innsbruck University, Austria. The book contains a selection of writings by Bart Lootsma from 1995 untill 2015.

  • 411.
    Van Toorn, Roemer
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    What ever happened to the Country?: Reflections on Inhabiting the Hinterland2015Other (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    What can be learned from the hinterland, waht are its problems and what future prospects can be disclosed and proposed: understanding the countrysides history and its many transfromations? As Raymond Williams has observed the relation between the country and the city is a complex and intruiging one. We have forgotten to look at the countryside with our focus upon teh city. The countryside has changed as much as anything else, but many have forgotten to look at., including the possible models it provides rethinking the relation between nature and the city, the individual and another sense of community.

  • 412.
    Van Toorn, Roemer
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Zabbaleen Community, Monqattam Village, Cairo, Egypt. text-Image essay: Society of the And2012Other (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [en]

    The Arabic Multitude

    A spectre is roaming the Middle East:

    the spectre of the multitude.

    The beauty of the historical moment - th epeople in Egypt and elsewhere revolutionzing against the status quo - is that it has no leadership. It might also prove its fatal weakness, but that does not contradict its beauty and importance. It was the people rising up against the tyranny and the authoritarian governments. Of course youngsters and schooled people – doctors, engineers, etc. took the lead, but from the beginning in Tunisia it was the multitude at work. It is a revolution that stands for a series of social demands about work and life, not only to end dependency and poverty but to give power and autonomy to an intelligent, highly capable population, and not religion; as neo-conservatism want us to believe.

    In this phase of late-capitalism the whole metropolis becomes the arena of production and resistance. It is a system that is bio-political, with the whole of life as politics. New practices have to be developed in this bio-political context of what I call the Society of the And.

    Our task is to investigate the organizational framework of antagonistic subjectivities that arise from below, based on the indignation expressed by subjects in the face of unfreedoms, exploitation and expropriation. And there exists a communality of work characterized by the immateriality, cognitive contents, networking and communication implicit in all areas of work under capitalism. This requires a radical shift in how we conceive the organization of social change (as already indicated in the opening quotes above). It is – as already stated - a horizontal network that has no single leader. The multitude is able to organize itself without a centre.

    The swarm intelligence, of this Arabic Revolution consists of at least two interrelated logics of the informal: one being the virtual reality our global media allows to occur through Twitter, Facebook, Skype, YouTube and other digital media. Another logic of the informal is at stake too, namely the real spatial one of the informal city: the routes, places and street where they collectively demonstrate through temporal actions and constructions, and the network of informal (and hidden of view) places where they work and live (including their global connections). These two interrelated networks of the virtual and the real make up for this new collective arising at the horizon through what we call the multitude.

    In the workshop and fieldresearch done in Zabbaleen we are not going to map how the multitude – through its virtual reality (both being virtual and real) of oppression and resistance – generated the Arabic revolution. That would have been a very intriguing studio, but time did not permit us to do so, but we didn't leave the multitude behind. We documented how the multitude - as rhizome, self-routing and auto-developing system operates and works on an everyday bases (every moment of the day, at home, at work, in the city, in the teahouse, the street, at its darkest -, and even at its beautiful moments, in and through its different spatial formation of domesticity, work and infrastructure. In short the question has been: What kind of human and spatial logic of the multitude makes this world of the Zabaleen society a success? What can we learn from them, and how can we help to improve their situation by creating and mobilizing new public infrastructures (parks, schools, social and spatial networks, etc.) through the studio with the students?

    We did not primarily document its failure. What did interest us (at most) is how the multitude at Zabaleen – through its hybrid logic of contradictions, gaps, holes, voids, limits, shadows, dirt, garbage, margins, openings, routes full of movement and interstitial spaces (including the interaction between digital (virtual) and real life) could give the architect a beginning to generate (parasitical) emancipatory interventions within the self-organizing rhizomatic fabric of Zabaleen society itself.

    The above mentioned fieldwork of text-images in Egypt (the city of "garbage", Zabbaleen, Cairo), photographing the current conditions of globalization, is undertaking parallel to an introductionary article on The Society of the And, funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas, Architecture in Effect.

  • 413.
    van Toorn, Roemer
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Bouman, Ole
    Granica (border)2016In: Rzut. Kwartalnik Architektoniiczny, ISSN 2353-4133, no 11, p. 2-5Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Architecture is about space, about aesthetics, about representation, performance, the longe duree, topology and much else. In this text Roemer van Toorn and Ole Bouman unfold how architecture and the idea and concept of border relate.

  • 414.
    Vendelson, Fanny
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Women's Co-housing: Solidarity for security2019Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 415.
    von Niman, Mark
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Reclaiming Culture2017Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Proposal for an architectural project, situated at Renmarkstorget, Umeå, Sweden, based on urban and cultural analysis.

    What? A place in Umeå city centre to act and interact. Cultural hub facilitating the following activities: >practising, recording and performing/observing music >growing, processing and selling/consuming vegan foods >activities to be defined by the users, for instance creating and exhibiting/observing art pieces. >leisure

    Who? Participants and observers of DIY-culture, mainly music and veganism (agriculture). Mainly young adults. 

    Why? Reclaiming culture. Since the 90’s, the alternative music scene, veganism and overall DIY-culture have had a substantial role in the cultural process of Umeå. Their presence in the city has constantly been shifting with attempts to gain legitimacy, and I argue that the current state requires urban intervention. From another perspective, the city centre has in the last decade undergone a gradual transition from cultural activities toward commercial activities. I believe that providing a place for participants of mentioned activities on Renmarkstorget can to an extent begin to revitalise the diversity and cultural activity within the city centre.

    How? Interaction is key. In order to gain legitimacy, I argue that these cultures must become accessible to a broader public, not by compromising themselves but by reaching out. Correspondingly, in order to revitalise Renmarkstorget and its surroundings, its everyday visitors should find incentive to observe or partake in these activities. Interaction in this case should not only be the means to an end, but an inherently valuable quality in the spirit of participatory DIY- culture, knowledge sharing, and the precondition for arts to be expressed and absorbed.

  • 416.
    Vonkavaara, Johan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Bridge: Mixed urban block as a bridge between the individual and the city2019Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 417.
    Vänstedt, Ida
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Living Lot;: Housing in Umeå2012Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 418.
    Wadman, Märta
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    House of music: Gathering around sound2019Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 419.
    Wallin, Rebecca
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Filter: Mokattam women's health and education center2013Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 420.
    Wallin, Rebecca
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Space for Farewell2016Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 421.
    Walter, Emma
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Creative Lab: Space for creativity in Holmsund2019Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    How do we shape the spaces in which we create? What qualifies as inspiring architecture? Is there an unexplored relationship between art, craft and the physical environment it’s being created within?

    The activities of creating and crafting, are analogue knowledges exercised by multiple individuals within the realm of Holmsund. Holmsund is a society, an archipelago, 13 kilometers outside of Umeå, where professional painters, hat makers and moviemakers as well as amateur creatives are living and creating on their own. The lack of efficient infrastructure to the cultural center of Umeå and economical fundings for creative activities locally makes it difficult for the people of Holmsund to experience craft and to take part in the creative identity of their society.

    By emphasizing on an intermingled relationship between art, architecture and creativity it could be a source for inspiration and imagination. This creates a connection among the local creative individuals and provides a place for all inhabitants of Holmsund to be able to experience and interact with the creative culture in a creative and exhibiting lab; Creative Lab.

  • 422.
    Weiber, Jonatan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    50 flickers per second: Approaching an architectural language for autistic individuals2019Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 423.
    Wendelstig, Emelie
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Local food market2018Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 424.
    Wennberg, Tove
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Integrating Migrants: Developing a Dharavi Housing project with focus on Flexibility and Integration2013Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

     The project is a residential area for migrant workers coming to Dharavi to

    seek work. They are the invisible people of Dharavi, living and working in the

    production sector, rarely mixing with other inhabitants.

    By building up an extrovert area incrementally for, and not least with, the

    migrant workers, they will gradually be integrated in the society of Dharavi.

    Working in parallel with establishing a strong community and identity of

    the area, and at the same time reaching out towards other areas to enable

    integration.

    The issue of flexibility and the temporary will be focused on without loosing

    the identity or communal spirit of the area.

  • 425.
    Westerlund, Tobias
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    UnCapitalized Culture: The Struggles for Common Spaces2014Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    On the basis of the on-going transformation of the city of Umeå that is not only happening in parallel with the Cultural Capital year, but is openly and explicitly presented and discussed in relationship with theories of culture-driven growth, this thesis investigates the complexities of these developments and their social, political and spatial impact on the life of Umeå’s inhabitants, as well the urban and architectural strategies involved in the production, staging and branding of ‘culture’. The thesis explores alternative ways of organizing cultures and communities in/of the city that cherishes the commons, collective work and everyone’s opportunities to express themselves creatively, and intervenes directly upon the making of culture in the city, establishing spaces and times to imagine together, and enabling cultural encounters and productions.

  • 426.
    Wikström, Maria
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Kumbhar Wada Potteries: A New Pottery District in Dharavi2013Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 427.
    Wilson, Josephina
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Contemplation and Congregation2013Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 428.
    Wilstrand, Karin
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    STILL HERE: RECLAIMING TRADITIONAL SAMI KNOWLEDGE THROUGH A COMPETENCE CENTRE2017Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    A couple of years ago, I received a Sami drinking vessel called “goksie” (in umesamiska) from my dad. The fact that it was my grandmother’s who had crafted it some time around the 70’s was news to me. The goksie has been closely investigated as a part of this thesis and a way for me to reconnect with the Sami culture. The more I learned during this investigation the more I considered to follow my grandmother’s footsteps exploring and crafting my own goksie and reclaiming knowledge through the process of making. Through this journey, questions about architecture and cultural identity evolved.Due to the degrading views of Sami culture that many generations have experienced in the history, a lot of Sami cut ties with their background. The colonization of Sápmi have contributed to the loss of Sami culture in different ways. Except from appropriating the land that the Sami used, the Swedish state split the Sami people by deciding who was the “real” and “authentic” Sami and who wasn’t. The Sami was considered racially inferior predestined only for reindeer herding. It becomes clear that the colonization affected generations like my grandmother when realizing that the consequences can be traced all the way to myself not having the knowledge to create my own goksie or the cultural heritage of speaking Sami. Being Sami today can therefore, from my perspective, relate to a feeling of loss and a fragmented identity. Except reconnecting with my own Sami heritage, the making of the goksie has become a method for collaborative work creating relationships with newly discovered relatives and people from the Sami community. Interviews with Sami and non-Sami operators working on different national levels and with different issues has also been an important method to gather information. The methodologies are based on the strategy of “digging were I stand” - a way to learn more about my own history and through that knowledge reveal stories and voices of others, adapt to the needs and aspiration of the community, break free from stereotypes and simplified images about the cultural community and to always be critical are some of the guidelines that have constituted the Preface7role of the architect within this project. It is difficult to find a wider discussion about Sami typology and architecture on the Swedish side of Sápmi, concerning both traditional and contemporary structures. The colonization has left marks even within contemporary architecture designed by non-Sami were the stereotype and romantic image of the culture becomes dominant. Is it enough to symbolize the Sami culture with simple forms and expressions or are there other values that enrich not only the Sami community but also the view of architecture? In order to give something back to the Sami community this thesis explores how to create a space were knowledge can be reclaimed and passed on, proposing a building located in Malå in the county of Västerbotten. The aim is to combine traditional Sami building techniques with modern and contemporary solutions as well as to reflect on the typology of the South Sami kåta, the nomadic lifestyle and trying to understand the full complexity of Sami building traditions. In a wider context, the Sami Competence centre aims to ensure that the integrity of traditional Sami knowledge is maintained for generations to come.

  • 429.
    Winge, Cajsa
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Seminarieparken;: Housing in Uppsala2012Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 430.
    Winroth, Torbjörn
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Sågen2019Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 431.
    Wänstedt, Ida
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    The Invisible Infrastructure: Parking as Place-Maker in a Motorised Urbanity2015Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Parking, a seemingly mundane topic, have a huge impact on peoples right to the city. This thesis aims to explore the effects of the regulatory space created by parking norms and policies within the urban landscape. Parking is in this thesis identified as an active form, drawing from the work of Keller Easterling. Being controlled and regulated at the municipal level, parking is a question of local politics. This opens up possibilities for reorganizing parking as a tool for planning and place-making. By rewiring the organization of parking, from an individual property into a cooperative infrastructure, parking becomes a platform for generating local communities in the mid-sized Swedish city.

  • 432. Zaero-Polo, Alejandro
    The Berlage Menu: Roemer van Toorn speaks with Alejandro Zaero Polo2013In: The Sniper's Log: Architectural Chronicles of Generation X / [ed] Alejandro Zaero-Polo, Barcelona: Actar , 2013, p. 214-230Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The book is like a sniper's log, a register of events for the purpose of accumulating experience for future missions, be it academic or professional, trying to identify tendencies and to assess performances, rather than to establish truth. Written for different media and formats (professional magazines, speaking engagements, academic presentations...), the texts are thread together as part of a biographical experience that reveals that theory is here primarily instrumental and seeks efficiency rather than truth. We do not theorise because we want to understand the deep truths of the world, but because we need to organise the realm where we operate, understand how reality works and find an effective way to perform within it.

    When Alejandro Zaero Polo became the new dean, after Wiel Arets, of the postgraduate Laboratory of Architecture The Berlage Institute in the Netherlands, Roemer van Toorn head of theory and publications had a conversations with both Wiel Arets and Alejandro Zaero Polo. In this publication an abridged version of the dialogue between Van Toorn and Zaero Polo can be enjoyed.

  • 433.
    Zetterström, Anneli
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Death Island: Urban Crematorium - Architecture for the dead in the realm of the living2019Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 434.
    Ároch, Miriam
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    The future in my hands: Craft, education and health2013Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    In Dharavi education is very important for many and knowledge is an important tool in life. Knowledge can generate meetings and be generated by meetings. Different people and generations have different knowledge. I want to create these places for knowledge transfer and at the same time create a network. A place where people know that they can come and learn.  

     

    In this learning centre, by education and use of the existing knowledge in the area, I want to give people with different socio economic backgrounds the possibility to explore and learn. The focus will be on creativity, meetings, play, development and health. 

  • 435.
    Ågren, Linnéa
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Reading Places: Kids Library2017Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 436.
    Åkerman, Alexander
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    The heart of Dharavi2013Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Mixed use building-project in the middle of Dharavi - an informal settlement in Bombay. It's an exploration of what high-density, low income and high quality could mean in this context and within the constraints of slumrehabilitation. The mixed uses are a commercial market, with facilities for public sanitation and education, and high density mixed income housing.

  • 437.
    Östman, Kristina
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå School of Architecture.
    Center Mellan Unga2016Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
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