Politics of Somatic Architecture

Politics of Somatic Architecture of Care – proposes a performative investigation of temporarily empty commercial spaces within the city of Bergen, culminating in a series of discursive spatial installations and experimental texts.

CONCEPT
The shared pandemic reality has led to a series of heterotopic elements, that propose a somatic engagement with the architectures we inhabit daily. Whether it is the plexiglass in front of cashiers, new taped line systems, compartmentalized quick test stations, or barrier labyrinths at train stations and airport halls, we are interacting with a series of architectural elements as precaution of human fluids. Alongside these interventions we find ourselves within new performative interdependencies between architecture and the social body. 

Architecture can be understood as a directive container that effectively guides collective movements. Formations such as the queue or other compartmentalizations of bodies such as test stations, voting boxes or pedestrian crossings, propose specific somatic performative actions with the potential for social closeness or distance. 

As a biopolitical materialization of safety and security, somatic architectural elements become representations and prolongations of governmental power. These elements are put in place with the ambition to safeguard citizens.
Each new line becomes a symbol, becomes a directive measure, becomes a proposal on how to behave, becomes a suggestion of differentiation, becomes a recommendation of care, becomes a carrier of trust. 

From a queer perspective, Politics of Somatic Architecture aims to investigate how architecture can turn into an incorporated experience, that can both shape the social body or be reshaped by it. 

RESTRICTIONS ARE AN ACT OF SOCIAL CARE – CAN WE BECOME CO-AGENTS THAT HOLD QUEER SPACES FOR CLOSENESS WITHIN THE NECESARY PHYSICAL DISTANCE?

DEFINITION
We define somatic architecture as multilayered elements with heterotopic qualities, that propose a clear dominant directive of their performative use. They are dividing elements, where the hierarchical authority coincides with the potential equality of the user. Somatic architecture can create physical and/or social ease or tension. They are material elements that organise, divide, manage and guide.

Somatic Architectures could be:
Crossroads, counters, receptions, guiding tape systems, queue barrier systems, plexiglass divisions, ticket control machines, voting boxes, seating structures, parking lots…

METHODOLOGY
Politics of Somatic Architecture proposes a discursive, performative investigation of biopolitical directive architectures from a queer perspective. Through speculative assemblage as methodology with auto theoretical aspects, the project aims to include theory, narratives, experiences, data and daily observations.
In performative conversations based around the research, an audience will be invited to explore, discover and debate the concept of somatic architectures. We hereby aim to create a sense of how architecture impacts our perceptions of unity, closeness, distance and care.

THESE CONVERSATIONS WILL BE SPECULATIVE FABULATIONS, WHERE NARRATIVES AROUND THE POLITICS OF SOMATIC ARCHITECTURES ARE COLLECTIVELY WOVEN BY THE PARTICIPANTS. 

It is not the idea to create a speaker/audience division, but to create a space, where the audience becomes a discussing body. The research will be used to propose questions, give inputs, hints, or stimulations in order to collectively investigate our agency as inhabitants, builders, consumers, and followers of somatic architectures. 

Planned are three conversations held within a scenography of somatic architectural elements, whose purpose is to propose a lived experience of the concept. 

INSTALLMENTS
The first of four installments of the research took place throughout March 2021 at TempoTempo – a temporarily closed bar in Bergen’s city center. The project proposed a research-based interaction formulating different readings of this closed semi-public space.

The second installment will take place at the NOGOODS – Project Space in Bergen between April – June 2022.

The project is developed in collaboration with Maike Statz.

PAST EVENTS
Border / Lines – Open Out Festival, Tromsø (September 2021)
Performative reading and conversation in collaboration with Karmaklub* Oslo. 

PRAKSIS Perfection / Speculation (September 2021)
a performative conversation with Marte Aas, Jonathan Armour, Louis Alderson-Bythell, Trinley Dorje, Adam Peacock, Erika Stöckel, and Bobby Yu Shuk Pui as part of the PRAKSIS residency Oslo in collaboration with Karmaklubb* and Adam Peacok 

ADD+ART Barcelona 2021 – Art & Territory (June 2021)
Presentation at the international congress in collaboration with Maike Statz 

A World of One’s Own (May 2021)
performative online lecture and conversation with Maike Statz hosted by Karmaklubb*, Bergen NO 2021

Table, Birch Ply (May 2021), 
Poster, limited print edition by Maike Statz,
Text collaboration, published by Karmaklubb* and IGWTLI publishing in association with the PRAKSIS Residency 18, ‘Perfection/Speculation’ (2020–2021), supported by Hordaland Kunstsenter, printed by Pamflett in the occasion of Bergen Art Book Fair 8, June 2021.

The project received funding from the Preliminary Project Development Fund by the Norwegian Ministery for Culture