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Title: Splitting and doubling : spaces for contemporary living in works by Gordon Matta-Clark, Kurt Schwitters and Gregor Schneider
Author: Berstrand, Tordis
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2013
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The thesis addresses the question of dwelling as a challenge and concern in the twenty-first century. It does so on the basis of three works of art, all exercising radical spatial reconfigurations of existing residential buildings. The thesis argues that these works created in the twentieth century bring strategies forward for a contemporary living space of interest today. Furthermore, that the agency of the artistic gesture exceeds the scope of the architectural work when addressing the subject of home and house in critical ways. The importance of this engagement lies in an incompatibility observed between ideas about dwelling and the experience of the contemporary age. A prevalent desire for a permanently settled and stable living space is at odds with increasingly transient and nomadic present-day lifestyles – the thesis asks how come such concepts without application endure. Literary works, concerned with the process of modernisation in the twentieth century, are called upon to qualify this problem of dwelling in our time. While the texts provide insight into the dialectics of the modern, the chosen works of art unfold three living spaces settled in the moment of their making. When answering the immediate contextual setting with an environment for living beyond conventional building practices, Gordon Matta-Clark’s Splitting (1974), Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau (1927-37) and Gregor Schneider’s HAUS u r (1985-today) give clues to the nature of the contemporary dwelling. As a living space beyond conceptualisation, this dwelling does not require a whole house to be held in place nor does it rely on walls for spatial differentiation. Instead, a framework for coexistence is articulated as a space of resistance to the forces of the modern, threatening to render all dwellers homeless. The thesis challenges the contemporary architect with the task of participating in the creation of this space.
Supervisor: Fontana-Giusti, Gordana; Wood, Sarah Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: NA Architecture