Summer School BodyWonderLand

Summer School Body Wonder Land

Teaching Team: Sonja Flury & Myriam Uzor with choreographers and dancers Marie Jeger & Juliette Uzor

Together with the Chair Prof. Christoph Girot
Two week Summer School from 5. - 16. July 2021
In and around the Cima Norma Factory, Blenio Valley, Ticino
Cost: approx. 300 Fr. Travel fees are not included.

No prior knowledge, dance experience or skills are required. Every body is welcome to subscribe. The number of participants is limited to 12 students. Detailed information on how to apply will follow by the 3rd week of the semester.

The body moves according to its surroundings. It incorporates the space. It feels temperatures, surface textures, the presence of others. It feels pain and excitement. Danger. Empathy. The body always responds to gravity. It remembers. It knows the sound of open air next to a concrete wall. It knows the sound of rain from behind a window.

The body knows more than we think. Its intelligence is intuitive. The body's thinking is movement and the body's movement is thinking. The mind is a muscle. Asleep, the movement continues. In life, the human body gives space a meaning.

Fluidity, sequence, choreography and composition are essential terms of both dance and architecture/landscape design. The two disciplines’ outcomes tend to be distinctly oppositional: one works with the ephemeral, with movement. The other is considered relatively static and permanent: It offers movement a vessel, mostly as a background scenery, sometimes taking over as a conductor.

Space is (and always has been) created for the human body moving through it. Nevertheless, in the field of architectural education, the physicality of our own body and the attention we pay to its sensibility is a blind spot. With the minimal action of a mouse click we create “dynamic and vibrant” spaces, represented in images populated by motionless half-transparent figures.

We feel that the subjectivity of the body as a vantage point enables us to critically address questions often neglected in the discourse of architecture, landscape and urban design: Which (mind-)bodies and communities are we building for? Which agencies and responsibilities are we entitled to as space- makers? And what can landscape, architecture and urban design actually afford? How fast / how slow do we want to move?

Workshop by Anna and Lawrence Halprin

Using the summer school as a research tool we will move through a field of unknown terms and practices to question and position our bodies in a familiar environment. We would like to pinpoint and disentangle the knots in our heads and bodies in search of new terms and practices.

Each day will start with modes of ephemeral space-making through the body guided by professional contemporary dancers Juliette Uzor and Marie Jeger.

As a counterpoint we will construct an outdoor stage as a collective endeavor throughout the course of the summer school. The stage will act as central playground for our thoughts, fantasies, discussions, lectures, and performances. As architects we see ourselves as bricoleurs, by starting design with what is at hand, by rearranging and finding the fine line between what we consider to be a formal “space” and where that zone of possibilites ends. The process of construction work adds another layer of the physical and social to the experience. The continuous, rhythmic repetition of bodily exercises in the morning and construction in the afternoon are punctuated through inputs and discussions with external guests.

The mixture of industrial, natural and even urban landscapes surrounding the site of Cima Norma pose an ideal foundation for the bodily explorations and architectural intervention. Being far from the hustle and bustle of the city is paramount to being able the concentrate on oneself as a group.

The goal is not a presentation on the stage (unless initiated by the participants), but the embodied experiences that come with the constant construction and deconstruction of space and bodies within this time frame.