A Performative Threshold Between Teaching Research and Practice. Atlas Poliphilo as Scaffold

Hunches allow us to navigate in a trans-scalar world. Without them, teachers, researchers and practitioners would be left aimless. Hunches relate to the embodied and synthetic nature of the knowledge we produce, but also to its unfolding. Instead of denying importance of hunches or minimizing their impact, can we imagine to build a more apt framework for the kinds of encounters and negotiation they facilitate? Shall we do it within pre-existing academic and practical knowledge? Can we set up a pedagogical experience that sets a time and space to collectively integrate and share hunches, to experiment with them and to ultimately operationalize them in designerly or scientific manners? In this paper, we introduce and discuss our experience with Atlas Poliphilo, an experimental studio that runs its second iteration during the spring semester 2019. Neither a design studio nor a seminar, the Atlas sets up a framework for collaborative enquiry that further elaborates on them. The course gathers students from civil and environmental engineering together with students of architecture, and landscape architecture to work collaboratively for one semester. This experience is framed in our work on new visions for the trans-border Greater Geneva as one of the selected teams aiming at tackling its current social, economic and environmental challenges and constructing a framework to think and discuss its growth in the next 35 years. This interdisciplinary course addresses an alternative of perceiving and integrating the constitutive complexity of the territory and the intertwined trajectories of all its different agents. Departing from the situated experiences of the students within a given site of exploration, the course aims at carefully unfolding their many dimensions - the relational and performative aspects of involvement, bodily experience, environmental context and objects, individual and collective cultural frames - allowing to experiment with them and to render them explicit. This is grounded on the conviction that an ability to affect is reciprocated by a capacity of being affected.

Presented at:
the Practice of Teaching / the Teaching of Practice: the Teacher’s Hunch, Antwerp, Belgium, June 27– 29, 2019
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 Record created 2020-02-20, last modified 2020-03-02

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