Elective at semester(s) 6, 8, ECTS: 3
Edit (2019). Honey I’m Home, Gross Domestic Product
Course leader: Zissis Kotionis, Professor, Department of Architecture, University of Thessaly
Assistant teaching: Elina Letsiou, Architect, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Architecture, University of Thessaly
Contributors: Efthymia Dimitrakopoulou, Architect, Ph. D. Candidate, University of Thessaly, Ioanna Sotiriou, Architect UTH, MSc. Berkeley, California, ΗΠΑ
The course aims at a wider understanding of domestic space – the household topology– as a process of production of modern subjectivity, under the terms of interrelationship, interdependence and inclusion. Students are expected to:
- cultivate critical thinking and delve into modern theoretical concepts of New Materialism and Ecofeminism
- understand the idea that the "body" refers not only to the human, but also to its compact interconnections with multiple natures
- to investigate the socio-economic, cultural and political processes that form the infrastructure of the material construction of the domestic space
- to understand the household as a "system" through which residential practice emerges as a practice of care and repair
- to develop modern methodological tools that will highlight the less visible, process-based materialities and scales of the household, which are intertwined in the production of the architectural space.
The factors that will be researched on site are: Human subjects, material objects and the action that makes the factors active in their domestic space. The research narrative will be a kind of biography of people and things.
We perceive the house as a kind of laboratory that produces and reproduces relationships, food, life itself. In this sense the residence is an extended household.
The household is a system of connections and interdependencies between multiple parameters: settlement, property, gender, desire, work, the private. It constitutes the material and aggregated side of human existence, which until today is assembled within a constructed, consolidated normative framework. At the same time, the idea of what it means to be human, and what human habitation means, has been expanded almost beyond imagination, art, anthropology, architecture. In the current course we are interested in the subject and what it means to be human, not with the cold objective gaze of a certain science, but with the warm gaze of an anxiety for the care that preserves and at the same time changes the subjects within their space in a sustainable and fair condition of coexistence of all factors of life.
The household concept incorporates and is simultaneously embodied at multiple scales (micro-/macro-, local/global). Can we trace everyday domestic practices that interweave different scales? Practices, that connect the domestic-private-digital with the public space?
The material environment in which daily practices are carried out is always institutionalized based on socially normative standards of behavior and the objects are an integral element of everyday life. Can we analyze the action of subjects as well as object-actors in their daily lives, tracing the connections of the microcosm of the household with the forces acting at the level of global order and the networking of things? How is the question of cohabitation and care within the household community posed here, through an approach of emancipation of all contributors to the residence?
The everyday domestic things that surround us, constantly verify the contiguity and interdependence of the domestic sphere and the global. Whether it is a commodity, such as milk, or a utilitarian kitchen utensil, the study of things and their genealogy prompts questions about their connection to the processes of globalization and our socially normative patterns of inhabiting the planet.
Moving beyond the "tidy" foundations of today's lifestyle, the workshop of "Residential Practices" poses two major, interrelated questions:
1. RESIDENCE BIOGRAPHY.
Who are the residents, how do they live, how are the intersubjective and "inter-objective" relations constituted in the network of things and bodies of the house through work, entertainment, rest, pleasure, metabolism? The question "who lives and how does she live" is a question of constructing a biography of the subjects but also a biography of the objects of the household. In the framework of the workshop, the involvement of some of the students in the lives of others in their household and the recording of this residence as a kind of residence biography, where the residents and the things that interact are equally the protagonists, is requested. The students will identify subjects and their action in their domestic space, which increasingly is also a workplace, a field of connections and production. They will interview them, share the experience of the stay and make a video of the "residence biography".
2. RESIDENTIAL ASSEMBLAGE: THE GIFT.
How can we imagine everyday practices of accommodation, transcending the historically constructed boundaries between the private and public, nature and culture, real and digital, human and non-human? In the second phase, the course proceeds to investigate the performance of household objects in relation to the acting subjects in the direction of designing, repairing, modifying or re-constructing household utensils, objects, or furniture, which are added to the life of the residents who have already been "biographed". Since this will be an attempt to contribute the students of the workshop to the lives of the residents being biographed, this act of adding something to the existing household can be seen as a gesture of giving a GIFT to the home, in return for the resident's offer to converse and enrich the collective experience of the workshop.
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