title_01 h1BA2 – beyond the horizont
Look beyond the horizont!
… exactly at night, a forest grew in his room. It grew and grew until the ceiling was full of leaves and the
walls were as wide as the whole world …
Time seems to stand still. Secluded and hidden, we live within our own four walls, the days are identical,
reality blurs. The world outside exists only in our memories. We dream of places where we have already
been, where we would like to be now. And yet only one place remains, the home, the ‘being still at
home‘. A still life.
But what we long for is the unexpected, the surprise, the beauty of the uncertain. Day after day, the
screen becomes a window of longing into other worlds. Out of the still life we look into the depths of
the virtual (image) space. A matrix of tiny dioramas and portals to other places that fuel our curiosity
about what we so painfully miss: The foreign, the proverbial uncanny!
Beyond the ‘Unheimlich‘
With this in mind, this semester’s task is to design a fictitious place whose meaning lies hidden in the
humus of your memories. Analogous to the methodology of stratification, in which slowly germinating
seeds are layered in moist sand or water in order to make them germinate more quickly, we want to
turn the home into an experimental laboratory together with you.
This search for clues will take us into unknown territory, vast islands, gardens and speculative
landscapes. We will survey, discover and explore the architectural field from the paradisiacal Garden of
Eden to the endless depths of cyberspace, condensing digital fragments, found objects and distant
places into a cartography of spatial narration. What we are looking for is more than a binary cartesian
space, rather we encourage you to get to the bottom of the meaning of your places and strip away
their humus layer by layer to reveal the hidden, mysterious and untamed of the genius loci. Landscapes
are formed through the poetry of our gazes, our perception. Beyond the uncanny we find … ?
Sigmund Freud’s Essay ‘The Uncanny‘
In his famous essay, Sigmund Freud develops the meaning of the uncanny in terms of its exact
opposite, the homely. While the uncanny must build on an understanding of the old familiar, the long
familiar, the meaning of heimlich here acquires a certain ambiguity: it is understood both in the sense of
homely and in the sense of hidden, kept hidden.
The uncanny as a spatial phenomenon
“In recent research, theorists have pointed to the specific spatial aspects of the uncanny. In his books
The Architectural Uncanny and Warped Space, the architectural historian Anthony Vidler has examined
the unease and sense of the uncanny in modern architecture. His critique focuses on the impossibility
of modern architecture to fulfil the longing for home. Based on the spatial metaphors of Freud and
Lacan, the cultural scientist Johannes Binotto postulates the uncanny as a fundamentally spatial
phenomenon in his book TAT/ORT. It is not certain figures or motifs that are uncanny per se, but
rather their spatial constellation. (Perhaps interesting in relation to the methodology of assamblage?)
Topological constructions such as the Möbius strip or Klein’s bottle present the uncanny as a state of
disturbing, spatial disorientation. According to Binotto, these topologies of the uncanny were already
anticipated or developed long before psychoanalysis in the artefacts of culture, such as the
architectural studies of Giovanni Battista Piranesi the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft or
Charlotte Perkins Gilman or the films of Fritz Lang and Dario Argento.
Student credits: Pauline Heil, Emma Schwarz, Benjamin Zauner, Irina Wiesinger, Marie Glauner
April 28, 2023