Thinking like a mountain #Performative #Topography

performative topographyarh.uth.23

Σκεπτόμενα σαν βουνό. #επιτελεστική #τοπογραφία

Yet behind these obvious and immediate hopes and fears there lies a deeper meaning, known only to the mountain itself. Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf.”

“Thinking with forests, allows us to see how we think like forests in ways that reveal some of the sylvan properties of the living thought itself. ”

Write Aldo Leopold and Eduardo Kohn in their books “Thinking Like a Mountain” and “How forests think: Toward an anthropology beyond the human” respectively.

We took large pieces of recycled paper roll, about 7 meters each, as if we were tailors.

We connected them creating a large surface that covered almost the entire classroom.

Side by side we held the large paper terrain.

Almost everyone fit in around its perimeter.

We were not few, we were many.

We were in a public school of architecture, in a neoliberal debt colony, Greece, where its land and resources systematically and ruthlessly sold, burned and privatized.

We looked at the paper crust, then at each other.

Together we all took a step forward, then another one and then one backward.

The paper began to crinkle, to stretch and create folds from our “geological” forces.

The surface of our earth was more fragile than we had imagined.

How do we touch it? With how much force? How do we carve, sculpt, mold it? How organisms, our bodies and other bodies are placed within it? How do we coexist, symbiose, inhabit? Could we ever be “thinking like a mountain*”?

Imagination was trapped in this topographic miniature.

We were inside a three-dimensional model space and the “technology” of a parabolic plateau.

In this collective performative topography, some, like spelunkers with mobile phone flashlights, dug and “opened” holes and passages under the surface. Or, were they polar bears under an illuminated iceberg?

In the propaedeutic design studio at the University of Thessaly, through embodied experience, each participant explores relationally, dialectically, and equitably seeking their own voice, liberating the imaginary from the demands of “rationalism”.  

In this game of transformations and transitions everyone positions themselves intertwines and engages emotionally and, far from simplifications and reductionisms, participates in theoretical discussion and practice for a degrowth model of minimal intervention and sustainable posthuman design.

Thoughts and thanks to those who participate in the action organized by Anthi Kosma at the course “INTRODUCTION TO ARCHITECTURE II ΑS0102”, at the School of Architecture, University of Thessaly, 21.03.2023. Professors: Phoebe Giannisi, Iris Lykourioti, Giorgos Mitroulias, Giorgos Tzirtzilakis.

άλλες δράσεις στη σχολή | more action to the school

References | Αναφορές

Kohn, Eduardo. How forests think: Toward an anthropology beyond the human. Univ of California Press, 2013.

Leopold, Aldo. Thinking like a mountain. Eugene, OR: Lone Goose Press, 1990.

download the essay here

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