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Reiseuni Report | Making Of European Architecture Dialogue
Reiseuni Report | Making Of European Architecture Dialogue

Vol:III Workshop Cluster • Berlin

V:III_8. Workshop Cluster • Berlin – Germany | Rhys Martin + Daniel Ott + Anna Anders
V:III_8.1 [BER] Rhys Martin: m3 – Architecture Meets Sound, Body & Moving Image
V:III_8.2 [BER] WS8 [C1] Workshop Programme & Results "m3 – Architecture Meets Sound, Body & Moving Image"
V:III_8.3 Master's Thesis [BER]: Cultural Transfer. Consequences of Tourism for Architecture & Urban Space in Europe


Berlin | The particular artistic languages and methodological approaches of choreographers, media artists and experimental musicians provide the starting point for plural interpretations of students from different disciplines and an interdisciplinary discourse between the arts. Students from the University of the Arts Berlin and the international group of the Reiseuni investigate the relationship between body, sound, moving image and space from different angles. Through psycho-geographic research, urban interventions, films and performances students interpret the Berlin district Wedding, investigating topics like diversity of cultures, gentrification or everyday life.


In my experience, it is not a custom to offer insights into choreography, music composition or video art in the course of postgraduate architecture programs. In fact, it probably never has happened in this particular way before. Architecture on the other hand however, has always been in company of these and other art forms, not only as a venue and context for their presentation, but also as an artistic discipline, one which deals with fundamental questions of sensory composition and how this interrelates to and comes to grips with the phenomena that constitute our experience. Participation in the ASG project required a considerable adjustment to this new challenge for all parties, not least the university administration of the UdK [Berlin University of the Arts] but despite all the difficulties a new initiative inevitably brings with it, it has been a rich and rewarding experience. Much has been achieved, much learned and much experienced that may be built upon.

V:III_8.1.1 Project Description: Starting Problem(s), Questions, Aims of the Workshop and Research Focus within the Cities Challenge

Students from the University of the Arts Berlin, together with the European master A.S.G. [Architektur.Studium.Generale] based at the Brandenburgischen Technischen, Universität Cottbus, engaged in a challenging exploratory investigation of the relationship between body, sound, moving image and space, through artistic demographic research and urban interventions, developed in the Berlin metropolitan district of Wedding.

The [Transformation & Design] workshop at the UdK Berlin was unique in the overall Master's program. Whereas all other workshops were concerned with core professional issues related to architecture and town planning, the UdK workshop was conceived as an opportunity to challenge, question and develop the students aesthetics and practice as transdisciplinary artistic discipline. It sought to do this by means of an engagement of three diverse disciplines, which share the architects and town planners aesthetic concerns and sensibilities, yet implement them within the entirely different contexts of visual arts, contemporary music and choreography and performance. It was clear from the beginning to all participants, teachers as well as students, that this exchange would be based on the ability of those participating, not to achieve instant expertise in those disciplines, but rather to use their own professional skill and knowledge, in a process of transfer and transposition. A trans-disciplinary trajectory was considered an ideal occasion to afford a rare epistemological opportunity, to provide 'out of the box' criticality and discursive process, in order to work against disciplinary or stylistic blindness and allow unexpected insights and innovation, into student practice.

Concentrated period of experimentation

Historically, Berlin has been an important focus for art experimentation. Since German unification, it has rapidly returned to being one of the dynamic international hubs for a wide range of contemporary art practices. The University of the Arts provides an excellent network of these practices and theoretical platforms. For the international group of postgraduate architecture students, contact to the university as well as the demographic and historical complexity of the city along with access to what might be considered a sheer explosion of creative diversity, provided a rich and vibrant basis for a concentrated period of creative experimentation and individual artistic research.

V:III_8.1.2 Project Work: Strategy of the Workshop (Choreography 6 Weeks, Structure, Team Work, Implementation into the Master's Programme of Home University, Exchange with the City)

The program commenced with a weeklong tuning workshop. Participants were divided daily into alternating teams and invited to respond to tasks and exercises drawn from dance, sound and moving image to investigate innovative transdisciplinary approaches to notions of architectural space. The workshop took place in the context of the UDK transdisciplinary project week Collisional. Results of all workshops were shown in an open presentation on January 6, 2012.The m3 project participated in this presentation but continued with production teams identified in the Kollisionen workshop conceiving, developing and implementing this joint collaborative project over the following month.

Shared collaborative expertise

Individual teams were allotted to each of the three project leaders, who in weekly meetings discussed and offered advice on questions of content and project development.

Individual mentoring was offered on request, with participants being able to consult up to two of the project leaders. The project was based on a premise of shared collaborative expertise and exchange. There was a continuous offer of lectures and ancillary workshops. Plenary sessions were held for discussions and showings, feedback was given first in individual groups and finally by all three facilitators in the assessment. During the six weeks, the pedagogical strategy was one of facilitation and discourse. Students were encouraged to investigate their own artistic impulses in relation to the considerable challenge of embracing three new disciplinary perspectives and the thematic task of working again with a new and unfamiliar topos. All three project leaders had already worked together and experienced the challenges of transdisciplinary exchange in the previous year. This experience permitted us to focus on our interest and the interest of the student, on the nature of the artist process and less on product excellence. This not only reflects contemporary concerns in art making but also recognised the naivety of any expectation of the production of sophisticated artwork, within the terms of the individual disciplines outside the students core expertise. Nevertheless, some of the products were excellent.

The architect and local specialist Barnhart Linter paid special attention to informing the students of the local historical and architectural background of the district of Wedding. Among many events, students were also invited to lectures and performances on John Cage, dance films and performance presentations, as well as video art exhibitions and film and installations. For details, see the accompanying workshop programme [VIII.8.2].

V:III_8.1.3 Results: Reflection of Selected Results. Conclusion and Future Options

In general, all three project leaders considered the workshop to be immensely satisfying, productive and educationally valuable. From the beginning on, the educational emphasis was directed to the artistic experience and to the interrogative processes of diagnostics and analysis and the encouragement to take risks and trust intuitive and gut (?) process.

On the positive side, students mixed easily within the group. In the initial phase they cooperated well with students from other disciplines of the UDK. The initial intensive week was highly charged with creative energy and immersive practical commitment. Students adapted easily to the challenges of absorbing key influences from different disciplines, injected into the first week session. The architecture student group demonstrated intelligence, flexibility and inventive abilities in their implementation of the set tasks. It was noticeable that the groups possessed a range of technical skills, not necessarily in their source disciplines. Mastery of software programs, calculations and spatial awareness was a great asset to many of the tasks approached. The groups were well organised and collaboratively experienced.

Exploration and experiment

During the following weeks students responded well to the continuous input from the core UdK disciplines, either through their discursive reflections in tutorial sessions, or in their practical research. There was much exploration and experiments. The maturity of the students also responded to the trust we placed in them. It was our standpoint that such complex art processes do not necessarily happen within the confines of the 'working day'. A school environment was avoided. Many students attended regular physical dance/movement classes offered. Fortunately, the access to the large HZT laboratory theatre studio provided an excellent base for much of the research, although not all groups suited this environment and were more site-specific in nature. Considerable professional media equipment was provided. It was extensively used so that film and visuals determined much of the work. Strategies of cooperation, site-specific investigation and peer-to-peer evaluation were also successfully implemented.

Collaborative process and assessment

On the critical side, unfortunately most UdK students were unable to sustain the intense commitment that we had first intended. While some of the students stayed to the last, many left the project to complete regular course work. The architecture group however, was constant though more direct presences could have supported more interesting discursive exchange. Berlin is an advantageous venue for arts projects and it is also highly distracting. The project suffered somewhat from this. Although the students seemed to appreciate most input, there was inevitably a degree of disinterest and lack of engagement occasionally. This was to be expected in such a diverse remit. This was accepted especially, when in the final presentation all projects had visibly invested intense energy and time. Of course, as always in collaborative process and assessment, there is an imbalance in the contributions of each individual in each group. Our position however was not to attempt to police the project. Those who gave input were rewarded by their own achievements, those who did not were forced to consider their own criteria and arrange alternative challenges. I consider this to be appropriate postgraduate practice.

Difference of approach to the critique

Students on the whole responded positively and intelligently to critique, though depending on nationality and cultural background, the nature and temperature of the response differed. At no point were we given the feeling that the project was extraneous or a waste of time and resources. On the contrary, feedback was often very encouraging. In the process of assessment however, it became noticeable that there was a wide difference of approach to the critique of work. The ASG students had been accustomed to a rigorous and direct process of criticism, centred in the teaching philosophy of the diverse architecture programmes and the colleagues who represented them. For us, this often harsh form of criticism seemed inappropriate to our circumstances. In our opinion, it would have been inappropriate to begin to assess work attempted in a foreign discipline, encountered only over a few weeks. A sophisticated disciplinary discursive and contextual knowledge could not be asked for, nor could skills in any of these disciplines be expected to even approach the level at which we might confront our own students in their specialist fields. Our attempt was rather to have the students reflect and find their own criteria for the investigation at hand and not to set paradigms of excellence as examples.

To some extent this empathetic and very subjective approach was unsatisfying to certain students accustomed to direct expression of preference and critique. I believe they initially found this to be indicative of lack of clarity and specificity when discussing work. There was even some friction among staff at this point, which evidenced the need for more exchange not only between art and architecture but also in its transmission, its teaching and discursive exchange. Unfortunately the architecture students of the UdK were unable to participate so a comparative analysis to local students is not possible.

V:III_8.1.4 Generalist Architecture Praxis & Education: Experiences in Concern to Specialisation versus Generalisation

The UdK Berlin is currently in the process of introducing its Studium Generale at an undergraduate level. This initiative has been recruited from a long history of dissatisfaction with the restricted and blinkered knowledge of monoculture specialists, who have little to no knowledge of either their fellow disciplines, nor of the relationship between art and social and political contexts. This development has been catalysed by a wider recognition across the social and economical social context, for the need to expand professional expertise well beyond the borders of single disciplines. This is not to be confused with the dilettante wish to dabble in others backyards. On the contrary, it recognises the importance to be articulate and capable in ones own area of specialisation. However, the ability to transfer and receive knowledge from others outside ones focus is paramount in post-disciplinary society.

As well as the long running KlangZeitOrt, further platforms have been established at the UdK at the Graduate School and in the above mentioned Kollisionen platform, which emerged from grass roots staff indicatives to set up opportunities for active and practical interdisciplinary exchanges.

V:III_8.1.5 Intercultural Dialogue: Experiences & Recognitions

Perhaps it was my greatest challenge to participate in the Master's Thesis assessment for the Master's final module. Coming from a background of visual arts, theatre, choreography and performance, there was no real precedent for the criteria, through which I could apply my professional and academic expertise to restoration or constructions of public and private building and urban planning. It would be a presumption in this expert environment, to offer what only could be an opinion or expression of taste under these circumstances.

Notion of poetics

However, after an initial phase of observation I did find it possible to access the discussion on the following terms. Not only can I volunteer a reading of this work from the sculptural or choreographic point of view of the use of space and form, through questions of temporality, atmosphere and dynamic, through questions of abstraction and the choreographic composition of the movement in and around and through shapes and materials and by more contemporary questions of the performance of this building and its aesthetic or historical signature, but more importantly I was able to transfer my assessment focus to the ability of the student, to set out his or her own criteria for what they considered to be the issues at stake in their work. Certainly, this is of no use in questions of static engineering, building infrastructure or energy efficiency. At the heart of all the work however, was the concern with poetics and its social and political position: the sense of what is to be installed in time and space and which, unlike much of the other art forms will occupy people, who have never had the choice either to be confronted with this phenomena nor to have any say in its appearance. It was the ability of the students to frame their notion of poetics in terms of their practice invested and the proposal, which has issued from it that was possible to evaluate.

With this in mind I found the work to be in general seriously engaging and persuasive and pleasing. In general, students were able to concisely set out their processes and thoughts, though considerable improvement could be made developing more rigour in the presentation.

All three-project leaders mentioned above have considerable and positive experience with intercultural dialogue, both as artists in their own right and as teachers of multi-national cohorts. However, it was of great interest for all us to engage meaningfully in the challenge of a large and mobile postgraduate study program, with its central core interest lying adjacent to our fields of expertise. We are grateful to Dagmar Jaeger for the invitation to accompany this bold and adventurous programme and for the enormous amount of work from all those who fought to set up and develop such a visionary program. We are also grateful to the UdK and the HZT for their support in both contractual and financial matters and studio support. Finally, we are thankful to our invaluable and competent project coordinator Stephanie Schwarz and project assistant Leah Muir.

[Rhys Martin, Berlin, March 2013]

Course leaders: Prof. Anna Anders, Prof. Daniel Ott, Prof. Rhys Martin

Bibliographic Information:
Rhys, Martin, m3 – Architecture Meets Sound, Body & Moving Image. In: Reiseuni Report | The Making of. European Architecture Dialogue. Jäger, Dagmar (Ed.); Pieper, Christian (Ed.) et al.; Reiseuni_lab: Berlin, 2017; Vol:III_8., ISBN:978-3-00-055521-3, DOI:10.978.300/0555213,

Class-01: 02.01.-12.02.2012 Workshop 8 at Berlin [BER]
at Berlin University of the Arts (UdK Berlin) with International Master's Programme A.S.G. / Reiseuni_lab, Module "Transformation & Design"
Professor's Team:
Prof. Rhys Martin (Choreography & Dance)
Prof. Daniel Ott (Music & Composition)
Prof. Anna Anders (Moving Image)
Coordinator Stephanie Schwarz (Lecturer Dramatics)

Topic of the Workshop

Students from the University of the Arts Berlin and from the international postgraduate study programme Architektur.Studium.Generale (ASG) based at the Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus will engage in an exploratory investigation of the relationship between body, sound, moving image and space. Through artistic demographic research, urban interventions will be developed in the Berlin district Wedding.

From January 2 to 6 2012, the programme commences with a weeklong tuning workshop. Participants will be divided into alternating teams daily, through which they will be invited to respond to tasks and exercises drawn from dance, sound and moving image in order to investigate innovative transdisciplinary approaches to notions of architectural space.

The workshop takes place in the context of the UDK transdisciplinary project week "Kollisionen" under the direction of the Department of Design. Results of all workshops will be shown in a university based open presentation on Friday January 6, 2012.
The m3 project will continue until February with production teams identified in the workshop that will conceive, develop and implement a joint collaborative project over the following month.

During this phase, individual teams will be allotted to each of the three project leaders, who in weekly meetings will discuss and offer advice on questions of content and project development.
Individual mentoring will be possible on request. Participants will be able to consult up to two of the project leaders.
Completed projects will be presented, discussed and evaluated in the sixth calendar week.

Student's reflection:

"At first glance, it was very difficult to find something representative or exceptional of Wedding. In order to grasp Wedding, to understand it better, we started to anthropomorphize Wedding, giving it human characteristics. The more we developed this character, the more we started to realize, what its virtues and problems are. We sensed what makes Wedding special, its everyday life, the diversity of people and vibrant mix of cultures and architecture. Knowing that Berlin is in fast process of gentrification and losing its identity as 'poor and sexy', we had a feeling that the circle draws tighter and Wedding is one of the last spots untouched of this process. However, the first stages of gentrification have already taken place here too. Therefore, we made an interpretation of how gentrification would influence or chance Wedding. Process begins in the prologue and the loss of identity delves into each scene. The scenes represent five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – that, one experiences when facing its extinction.

Difficulties that we faced throughout the process were how to show our concept and narra- tion with minimal movement, how to find balance between being too obvious and being too abstract and how to find balance between hinting to some associations and giving enough space for the audience's personal interpretation."

(Kaisa Lasner, Student Class-1, within the frame of "Design Reflection", summarizing all 8 workshop experiences & individual results, 03.2012)

Starting point:

January 2nd, 2012 11am. at Uferstudio 14, Uferstraße 23, 13357 Berlin 
(U8 Pankstraße / U9 Nauener Platz / S-Bahn Gesundbrunnen)
Please bring with you comfortable clothes and warm socks or trainers!

Student accommodation

at Studentendorf Schlachtensee/Berlin by Fehling + Gogel

[Programme: Prof. Rhys Martin, Berlin, 12.2011]

More details about daily schedule: see online calendar

Workshop and Project Announcement: "m3 – Architecture meets Sound, Body & Moving Image" detailed Schedule

2nd January – 6th January KOLLISIONEN

loc: Studio 14 time: 10am. – 6pm.
9th January Auditive Architecture – Lecture by Prof. Alex Arteaga loc: Studio 14 time: 6pm.
10th January Course "Der Raum in John Cages Musik" Lecture Martina Seeber "Mureau" (in german language) loc: UdK Berlin, Bundesallee 1-12, Room 310 time: 12am.
11th January Exhibition Hamburger Bahnhof loc: Invalidenstraße 50-51, 10557 Berlin (S-Bahn Hauptbahnhof) time: 3pm.
12th January Course Luigi Nonos "Prometeo" loc: UdK Berlin, Bundesallee 1-12, Room 310 time: 2pm.
14th January Zoom Focus – Concert Students of the compositional classes presenting their works. loc: UdK Berlin, Joseph-Joachim concert hall, Bundesallee 1-12 time: 7pm.
16th January Composition and Video – Lecture by Fabrizio Nocci loc: Studio 14 time: 6pm.
17th January Course "Der Raum in John Cages Musik" lecture Bill Dietz "Empty Words" / "Etudes Australes" loc: UdK Berlin, Bundesallee 1-12, Room 310 time: 12am.
19th January Course Luigi Nonos "Prometeo" loc: UdK Berlin, Bundesallee 1-12, Room 310 time: 2pm.
19th- 22th January John Cages Songbooks loc: Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg 10 time: 6-10pm. entry: 8-15 euros
20th January Acousmonium – Concert Speakers Orchestra performing some compositions. loc: Studiosaal, Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler", Charlottenstr. 55, Berlin-Mitte (U6 Französische Str. / U2 Stadtmitte) time: 8pm.
23th January "Urban Soundscapes and the Favourite Sounds Project" – Lecture by Peter Cusack loc: UdK Berlin, kl. Vortragssaal, Bundesallee 1-12 time: 7pm.
24th January Course "Der Raum in John Cages Musik" lecture Chiyoko Szlavnics "Etudes Australes" loc: UdK Berlin, Bundesallee 1-12, Room 310 time: 12am.
25th January "Bauen mit Sound" Lecture von Bernhard Leitner (in german language) loc: UdK Berlin, kl. Vortragssaal, Bundesallee 1-12 time: 7.30pm.
26th January Course Luigi Nonos "Prometeo" loc: UdK Berlin, Bundesallee 1-12, Room 310 time: 2pm.
30th January "Die Natur macht nie, was der Künstler will." Lecture von Christian Kubisch (in german language) loc: UdK Berlin, Room 304, Bundesallee 1-12 time: 7pm.
31th January Course "Der Raum in John Cages Musik" lecture Chiyoko Szlavnics "Etudes Boreales" loc: UdK Berlin, Bundesallee 1-12, Room 310
time: 12am.
3th – 6th February Workshop "Space in the theatre of Samuel Beckett" by Martin Bauer (director; Buenos Aires) / Alexandre Babel (percussionist; Geneva) loc: Gutshof Sauen please sign on:
10th February "Unter freiem Himmel" - Final Presentation of the course by Kirsten Reese and Irene Kletschke loc: Spreebogen (Berlin main station) time: 4pm.
11th February m3 Final Presentation loc: Studio 14 time: 6pm.
12th February m3 Final Presentation loc: Studio 14 time: 2pm.

m3 –  Final Presentation

Friday, 10th February, 8pm

"The Vault":
Video performance / installation, with Maria Bello, Kassem Eida, Jaan Kuusemets and Maarja Tönisson
Video performance / installation, with Tomás Forjaz, Joannis Kaltirimitzis, Adrian Koye, Anna Maysuk, Kristina Paustian, Mona Peters,  Maria da Rocha, Niklas Thies
"Black Table":
Video performance, with Üllar Ambos, Kaisa Lasner and Pille Noole
Video performance, with Marizon Bilano, Anka Broschk, Erko Luhaaru, Ioannis Lykouras, Eduardo Magno, Raiko Reinson and Sebastian Seyfarth

Saturday, 11th February, 2pm

"Bad Street":
Video performance / installation, with Ink Agop, Elena Herwarth von Bittenfeld, Anne Groß, Hyungi Jung, Mads Emil Nielsen, Jose Pavon and José de la Pena
Performance / audio installation, with Vera Albers, Philip Bresinsky, Kenton Card and Franka Ismer.

[Rhys Martin, Daniel Ott, Anna Anders, January 2012]

Bibliographic Information:
Rhys, Martin; Ott, Daniel; Anders, Anna, Workshop Cluster • Berlin – Germany. In: Reiseuni Report | The Making of. European Architecture Dialogue. Jäger, Dagmar (Ed.); Pieper, Christian (Ed.) et al.; Reiseuni_lab: Berlin, 2017; Vol:III_8., ISBN:978-3-00-055521-3, DOI:10.978.300/0555213,


During the six months' elaboration of the Master's Thesis, complex challenges about "Cultural Transfer" have been delved into within six different cumulative research fields across greater Europe. In cooperation with the international professors' team, 19 postgraduate students have been focusing future opportunities of sustainable architecture and urban design in the field of heritage transformation: Three ancient prison plots of the 19th century have been transformed in Tallinn, Lisbon and Cottbus; the touristic territory of Costa del Sol has been investigated as a cultural landscape; neglected urban typologies in Tel Aviv have been analysed and pushed towards new futures. This final research period is conceptualized as 'individual teamwork' in Germany, Estonia, Spain, Israel and Portugal, from both a practical and a theoretical point of view. The final results have been discussed in the European Architecture Dialogue, the final symposium in Berlin.

>>>V:III_12 [MT] All about the Master's Thesis – Objective & Frame, Conclusions, Topics–Sites, Results

>>>V:III_12.5 [MT] Berlin: Critique of Architecture – Architecture as Critique

Professors' Team:

Prof. Dr. Dagmar Jäger (Cottbus, responsible for the cooperative Thesis), Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Inken Baller & Prof. Arch. Chris Burns (teacher's team of Design Reflection 2, Cottbus) together with the local professors of the Partner Universities, Prof. Arch. Irina Raud & Prof. Arch. Rein Murula (Tallinn), Arch. Ayala Ronel (Tel Aviv), Prof. Arch. Flavio Barbini & Prof. Dr. Ricardo Carvalho (Lisbon), Prof. Dr. Mar Loren (Sevilla), Prof. Dr. Maria Schneider (Innsbruck) and Dr. Arch. Izabela Mironowicz (Wrocław, In-between review), Prof. Dr. Riklef Rambow (Cottbus, 1st Thesis). These professors constitute the jury board during the Master's thesis portfolio evaluation, in-between and final presentation / examination in September 2012.