Choreo-spatial politics


Event details

Date and time 12.05.2021 18:0020:00  
Speaker Karen Kurczynski is a critic and historian of contemporary visual art and currently an Associate Professor of Art History at University of Massachusetts Amherst with particular interests in the relationship of art to politics and activism, feminist and critical theory. // Beth Weinstein is an architect and Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Arizona whose research and practice move between the architectural and the performative and across scales from drawing to performance-installations to urban interventions.
Category Conferences - Seminars
Choreo-spatial politics is the fifth seminar of the ALICE series Surrounded by a fog of virtual images. Organized in 2020-2021 by ALICE (Atelier de la Conception de l’Espace) at the ENAC / EPFL this online series seeks to explore and operationalize architectural research questions through a series of talks with international guest speakers led by its grad and post-grad researchers around key topics of their work.


The performance theorist André Lepecki distinguishes two ways in which movement can be activated aesthetically and politically: kinetic activation, which is the one promoted by industrialization, capitalization and militarization, and intensive activation -- which other authors will describe as kinaesthetic -- privileging micro-assemblies and including all kinds of physical, artistic or political practices that dissociate mobility from the imperative of displacement. In this second category, it is not about individualities that move each one for itself: movement is an already there, operating between bodies and through them, that these practices possibly make felt and intensify.

Architectural practice and research have not escaped the growing predominance of the figure of movement, which they have approached in many ways throughout the 20th century. But attempts to consider this mobile reality, to address the kinetic and rhythmic nature of our living environments and their formation have frequently been limited to a reading, tracing and designing of its flows. Not only does this approach run the risk of reducing all movement to consensual mobility, but it also ignores a whole aspect, that of intensive movement, which, by proposing a specific alternative to the couple subject/freedom of movement as pre-established entities, makes it possible to approach the notions of movement and ‘freedom’ in a radically different way. 

The 'choreo-spatial' work of the architect suggested here involves experimentation and engagement with this much more precarious type of movement, with the exercise of movement as freedom: a movement that is learned, repeated, experimented with, practiced, transformed through a certain design practice or intervention, inviting to actively pay attention to more complicities and mutual interferences. In this process, the techniques and instruments of architecture themselves, notably drawing, allow for the setting up of a 'soft choreography' supporting the unfolding of the political through choreo-spatial experimentation.


In this last SBAFOVI session, Aurélie Dupuis from ALICE will welcome our guest speakers, Karen Kurczynski, critic and historian of contemporary visual art and Associate Professor of Art History at University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Beth Weinstein, architect and Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Arizona. Their accounts from the fields of contemporary art drawing and performance, respectively, will outline specific mediation processes included in a both sensual and political practice that addresses urgent questions without sweeping away the 'not yet' that remains to be explored.

To join the lectures and conversation: Zoom


Practical information

  • General public
  • Free



architecture choreography movement drawing mediation politics

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