Hinges of correlation: Spatial devices of social coexistence (2015)

Espen Lunde Nielsen

About this exposition

This project investigates the coexistence of and the correlation between the inhabitants within my apartment building, using artistic practices and my own lived experience. These everyday spaces form the primary interface between the individual and the larger social entity of the city. Consciously, or partly unknowingly, one interacts with others through spatial demarcations, using embedded spatial devices (such as squeaking floorboards, peepholes, mailboxes, etc.) that project life and the presence of other people through sound, light, or matter. Most of these devices are partly unintended, often serve other practical functions, and go unnoticed – but nevertheless hold a latent spatial potential for a recalibration of the social dimension of the city and an architecture to come. This exposition features a combination of photography, 3D laser scans, and creative writing, followed by a written account of the practice.
typeresearch exposition
keywordsarchitecture, social coexistence, peephole camera, photography, cities, space design, 3D scanning, infraordinary, critical spatial practices, urbanism, creative writing, apartment building, socio-spatial dimension
affiliationAarhus School of Architecture, PhD-project 'Architectural Probes of the Infraordinary'
published inJournal for Artistic Research

comments: 1 (last entry by Paul Landon - 31/07/2015 at 20:33)
Paul Landon 31/07/2015 at 20:33

This work borrows from current trends in architectural research, but it also follows on from recent literary practices (the author referred to Georges Perec, but I also read the narrative spatial constructions of Paul Auster in the text) and relates to notions from film studies and cinema history. Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window comes to mind when looking at this exposition. Common diegetic devices as ‘off-camera’ and ‘out of frame’ are evoked by the particular audio-visual properties of the apartment building’s architecture.


I like very much the figure of the ‘familiar stranger’ who also seems to lead the text towards a narrative formulation, introducing secondary characters into the ‘story’. The writing used to describe the space of the building brought to mind Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space. The series of short essays about negotiations of domestic and public space that make up the main page of the exposition recall Walter Benjamin’s essay on Naples, on the porosity of architecture, of entrances, doorways, windows, etc.


It is quite a fresh and honest work, coming from the author’s day-to-day experiences. It is also an interesting exposition because, in it, research and practice are intertwined in a complex relationship based in a practice of daily life in an apartment building. There is an intricate exploring of space in the text that leads out from the author’s apartment into a rhizome like narrative that passes through the surrounding apartments and common spaces of the building and branches out into the street and into neighbouring apartments. I find the author has well mapped this structure in the layout of the text and images of the main page.


In writing about the sixteen 3D scans he made of the apartment, the author claims “this is not an absolute and finite number”, opening up the possibility for an ongoing interaction with social/private space of his apartment. I wonder if the numbering of the sections on the main page does a bit of a disservice to this ‘lived’ process, projecting a linear reading onto what would seem to be an array of experiences not constrained by conventional temporal, spatial (and numerical) structures. 

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