Workshop Flesh and Stone during the Tirana Design Week, from the 23rd till the 28th of September 2019 at POLIS University.
The seminar aims to find alternative readings of the city told through bodily experience, reflecting the theme of Tirana Design Week “Design in times of non-normativity”.
Design of space is relying on sets of regulations and norms, helping us to draw spaces, i.e. defining the width of a threshold, the height of a handle, or the maximum slope of a ramp. This is useful, but where are these measurements coming from? Looking at the textbooks, we soon realise that these norms are actually based on a standardised version of the body. Being the Modulor from le Corbusier, the Vitruvius Man by Leonardo da Vinci, or the Man from Neufert, they are all excluding the reality of races, sex, gender, dis-abilities and even social hierarchies.
The seminar will be led following a performative process. The creation with simple means of 1:1 scale silhouettes of real and idealized bodies will be the first act of the performance. The participants will then explore Tirana cityscape with those artefacts to confront the standards of their own city. The mannequins will allow extrapolating individual experience from collective one. The walks will first be led in a derive manner, in the tradition of French Situationism and the associated psychogeography of Guy Débord. The documentation of the experience with photography and/or videos will be discussed, and the walks thereafter directed towards specific themes (i.e. sitting / walking, active / passive) and locations (i.e. center / periphery, natural / urban). The material collected in the form of photographies and/or video footages will be compiled into a slideshow to be displayed as part of the Tirana Design Week. The silhouettes will be part of the final exhibition, allowing visitors and passers-by to compare themselves with the mannequins presented.