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Cadavre exquis

General description
In recent years, confusion, a series of metatheses and an unprecedented exchange of roles and functions has been developing between architecture and contemporary art, based on non-linear and interrupted terms of production of modern experience and meaning.
“Contemporary practices in Art and Architecture” is a course taught during the spring semester which focuses on reevaluating certain depreciated or underrated artistic innovations that connect architecture with contemporary art, drawing inspiration from the surrealistic practice of “cadavre exquis”. This kind of reactivation examines the anthropological aspect of this surrealistic practice but also the formalistic priorities of modernity. It also explores the “unfamiliarity”, disposition, disorders, unstable structures, scale distortion, concentrations, intensity changes and accumulations that are manifested –or created- in modern spaces.

Cadavre exquis. A definition:
It is a game played by the surrealists and whose aim it is to change the terms that produce meaning. The surrealists collectively assembled a poem, of which the first player wrote the first line, and then the other players, in turn added a line each. If the cadavre exquis was played in drawing or collage, they folded a piece of paper in three or four parts and the players were asked to make a quick drawing with different components since no one knew what the other one had drawn. The name is derived from a phrase that resulted when the Surrealists first played the game, "Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau." -"The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine." In this course, we propose the same concept as the metaphor and possibility of an articulated and multi-purpose space, where buildings, environments, human behaviours, footprints, additions, insertions, part organs, part objects, site specific interventions, or “extended field practices” interact in a non-linear way. 


Sample Syllabus

Uncontrollable accumulation of forms, networks and infrastructures “decorative paroxysm and an excessive dose of symbols” in modern cities. Cadavre exquis as the main interpretation of the modern post urban city.
The method of cadavre exquis as a device of artistic creation and design.
Architectural and artistic experiences using the methodology of “cadavre exquis”, of assemblages, cut-ups, compilation and juxtapositions.
The Archipelago model as a system of “symbiosis” of the disconnected fragments of post urban landscape.
The practices of collage, assemblage, compilation, juxtapositions, appropriations, and “paranoiac-critical method” (artistic innovations of the 20th century, Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel etc.)
The Culture of fragmentation: between the finished work and the fragment (G.B.Piranesi, Romanticism, Walter Benjamin, Hans Bellmer, Maurice Blanchot, Giorgio Agamben etc.)
Documents magazine (L’Informe, Bataille, Caillois, Leiris etc.)
Sordid/Abject: the threatening vagueness, the frightening and sordid “out of place substance” which is rejected by rationalism. (J.Kristeva)
The contemporary culture of ruins -“ ruins in reverse” (Robert Smithson) –“Creative Destruction” (Benjamin, Gordon Matta Clark, Schumpeter, Maurice Blanchot)
Urban archipelagos ( where multiple autonomous forms can be found, Oswald Mathias Ungers, Rem Koolhaas, Pier Vittorio Aureli)
Total disconnectivity/ detachment of the modern “city-territory”. Multiplication and dispersion of the centre: The centre can be found everywhere.
“Objects next to other objects” ( installations, minimalism, conceptual and post-conceptual art, Robert Smithson, Gordon Matta Clark, Robert Venturi, Rem Koolhaas, Urs Fischer etc.)
Part objects, part organs (Deleuze Guattari: Part Objects)
Atonality in musical experimentations: the absence of a specific tonal centre in compositions, the abolishment of the tonal system and hierarchy in western music, as it developed from the beginning of the 17th to the beginning of the 20th century, the twelve tone technique (dodecaphony) and the “emancipation of dissonance” setting free from the rules of the tonal system, Schoenberg, Webern, Cage, La Monte Young, Xenakis etc.
Informe/ formlessness and the fall –that which pulls down (bassesse)- as potential points of departure for material artistic experimentations in the 1960s. Use of physical activities, anti-forms, unprocessed and unshaped materials (earth, synthetic materials, fat, rags): Robert Morris, Jackson Pollock, Joseph Beuys, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Nikos Kessanlis, Vlassis Kaniaris, St. Logothetis etc.
 Utopias of the ‘60s: (A different way of approaching architecture and the city – emergence of conceptualism) Archizoom, (No-stop City), Archigram, Superstudio, Cedric Price (Structures not Buildings, Improvisational Architecture, Non-plan Manifesto), Yona Friedman (Irregular structures), Kenzo Tange, Fumihiko Maki (Shinjuko), Reynar Banham (Megastructure), Takis Zenetos, Konstantinos Doxiadis etc. We can make good use of certain experiences from the visions, the fragments and the failures of these utopias.
Informal city, Formless Architecture-in extensions but also in the city centres. Diffused city / Urban sprawl/ Lawless urban expansions. Post-urban City, City-territory, Disjointed ugliness of the suburbs. Post-Fordism and the crisis of experiential units of measure.
Shrinking Cities: (existing population centres are watching their citizens walk away) suburbanization, Detroit etc., deinstrialization (Manchester and Liverpool etc.)
Modern biopolitical dimension of the “harmonious” and clear form, its relationships with order, insecurity and fear – its environmental, moral and social dimension, its relations to aestheticization and Calvinism.
Molecular society, Molecular capitalism, Molecular city ( forms of self-organization)
Contemporary art and alternative habitation strategies.
Formalism, the new monumentality and the “post human subject” (Ludwig Hilberseimer, Louis I. Kahn, Sigfried Giedion, Ioannis Despotopoulos, Alexander D’Hooghe, Pier Antonio Aureli)Repairing Cities ( Recycling, makeshift constructions, repairs, transformations of the cities and the new environmental phenomena of diffused microeconomics)
Non-anthropocentric approach (incorporation into human sciences of non human beings which can’t be defined according to the binary distinction between organic / non-organic and human / non-human: animals, vegetation, plants, things, actions, fragments and objects).


Exercise Α: Composition of a lexicon (work in progress) containing entries that concern the concept of “disjuncture”etc. Each student will work on and add a relevant entry.
Exercise Β: Construction of a collective urban pattern (installation) using the “cadavre exquis” technique (collective work: the laboratory of cadavre exquis)
Renegotiation of the concept of “collective work” as a creation of an unconscious life between the natural and the technical element, as “an object of nature and a subject of culture”.


Pier Vittorio Aurelli, “Towards the Archipelago”, Log 11, 2007.
Pier Vittorio Aureli, The Project of Autonomy. Politics and Architecture within and against Capitalism, Princeton Architectural Press, 2008.
Walter Benjamin, Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet In The Era Of High Capitalism, Verso (January 1997)
Claire Bishop, Installation Art: A Critical History, New York: Routledge, 2005.
Yve-Alain Bois, Rosalind Krauss, L'Informe: mode d'emploi, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris 1996, engl. trans. Zone Books, 1997, ital.trans. E. Grazioli L’ informe, Milan 2003.
Giovanna Borasi, Mirko Zardini, Actions:What You Can Do With The City, Canadian Centre for Architecture Montreal, SUV Amsterdam 2010
Teddy Cruz, Practice of Encroachment: From the global border to the border neighbourhood, PARC Foundation
Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Capitalisme et Schizophrénie 1. L'Anti-Œdipe (1972). Trans. Anti-Oedipus (1977).
Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, A thousand plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987.
Jonathan Hughes, Simon Sadler, Non Plan: Essays on Freedom, Participation and Change in Modern Architecture and Urbanism, Oxford Architectural Press 2000.
International Necronautical Society (INS), Η διακήρυξη της Αθήνας, στο Νάντια Αργυροπούλου (επιμ.) «Hotel Paradies”, 2η Biennale της ΑθήναςHeaven, Αθήνα 2009.
Rem Koolhaas, Stefano Boeri, Sanford Kwinter, Nadia Tazi, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Mutations, Evenement sur la ville contemporaine, Arc en Reve Bordeaux Actar Barcelona 2001
Κατερίνα Κοτζιά, Ηλίας Κωνσταντόπουλος, Λόης Παπαδόπουλος, Κατερίνα Φιλοξενίδου (επιμ.), Το Αιγαίο: μια διάσπαρτη πόλη, Ελληνική Συμμετοχή στην 10η Διεθνή Έκθεση Αρχιτεκτονικής, Biennale της Βενετίας, Αθήνα 2006.
Σταύρος Κρητιώτης, Το μηνολόγιο ενός απόντος. Μυθιστόρημα κεντρώνων, εκδόσεις Πόλις, Αθήνα 2005.
Helen Molesworth, Part Object Part Sculpture, Wexner Center for the Arts Pennsylvania State Univ Press, Ohio, Pennsylvania, 2005.
Marco Navarra, Repairing Cities, Biennale di Venezia, 2006.
Jane Philbrick, The Return of the Cadavre Exquis, The Drawing Centre, New York 1994.
Aldo Rossi, The Architecture of the city, 1966.
Λόης Παπαδόπουλος, Γιώργος Παπακώστας, Σοφία Τσιτιρίδου,University Studio Pres, Θεσσαλονίκη 1991.
Colin Rowe, Fred Koetter. Collage City MIT University Press, Cambridge MA, 1978.
Gabi Scardi, Less. Alternative Living Strategies, PAC Milan 2006.
Michel Serres, The parasite, The Johns Hopkins University Press; 1st Edition in English edition (May 1, 1982)
Robert Smithson, The Collected Writings, University of California Press, Los Angeles 1996 (especially the concepts of “Entropy” and “Ruin in Reverse”. Also on the same subject p.54-57 in
Michael Sorkin, Exquisite Corpse. Writing on Buildings, Verso, 1994.
Kurt Schwitters’s Merzbau, LotusInternational, 123, 2005, p.42-59.
Γιώργος Τζιρτζιλάκης, “Το εξαίσιο πτώμα. Νεωτερικότητα και τοποειδής τέχνη. Η περίπτωση του Ωδείου Αθηνών”, στο Δάφνη Βιτάλη (επιμ.), Διευρυμένες Οικολογίες. Προσεγγίσεις σε με εποχή κρίσης, ΕΜΣΤ, Αθήνα 2009.
Paolo Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude: For an Analysis of Contemporary Forms of Life , Semiotext[e] (6 Feb 2004)
Slavoi Zizek, The Parallax View, MIT Press, 2009