Ars Electronica 2007
Festival-Website 2007
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Festival 1979-2007



'Katarina Dubravcova Katarina Dubravcova / 'Christelle Chalumeaux Christelle Chalumeaux / 'Claude Valentin Claude Valentin

We have established a network of architects, artisans and academicians who are collaborating on the acar2 project in Senones. Our aim is to conceptualize and construct possible, concrete, sociopolitically relevant spaces designed to be a setting for life, spaces that are centered on the practices and necessities of people living today. For us, architecture is an experiment in which we concentrate primarily on the aspect of the body and the gesture in order to conceive architecture from within and to observe the construction as it comes into being.

This open platform is being utilized as a place of production and of critical exchange of knowledge and know-how.We consider interdisciplinarity today as an indispensable part of our development and of the quality of our projects. Depending on the needs of a particular assignment, we form a collective to resolve problems and surmount certain conceptual obstacles that arise during the course of the project, or at least to develop approaches to a solution. In addition to the members themselves, the network is being supported by pedagogical institutions, research labs and the following innovative facilities:

  • ENSAN, École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture (school of architecture), Nancy
  • CRAI, Centre de Recherche en Architecture et en Ingénierie (research center for architecture and engineering), Nancy
  • ICN Business School, a member of the ARTEM alliance, Nancy
  • HAHA architectures, architects office. St Nabord.
  • HOUOT agency for the design of retail outlets, Saint-Nabord
  • IGAE group of interior designers, Paris

Project: Prague National Library, 2006; Architects: HAHA and FISZER 41
Research on the basis of design

The emergence of new technical advances is completely transforming our relationships to technology and to constructing buildings. They increase the complexity of our environments by splitting them up into countless networks. In order to take advantage of the potential of these new technologies in the conception and realization of spaces designed for living,we have decided to place great emphasis on “the intelligence of the body,” whereby we hope to impart to these technologies a quality that makes a noticeable impact in key aspects of our project.

The gesture has an enormous capacity; it has, above all, an authentic relevance to understanding complexity and dealing creatively with it because the fields of knowledge (thinking) and of know-how (construction) spontaneously come together in physicality and in the hands of the artisan.

Research at the interface of the artisanal and the contemporary
Project: Prague National Library, 2006; Architects: HAHA and FISZER 41

Claude Valentin, Architect, instructor; with Katarina Dubravcova, Christelle Chalumeaux, Michael Osswald, Jacques Simon, architects assistants
“Invent your Atelier” or the metaphors of an architectural practice
A close relationship exists between the atelier of a painter and his paintings; similarly, an architectural practice is characterized by the image of the profession being exercised within it and says something about the spaces that the architect is currently conceiving. What is a place that is intimately connected with the design process? An interface? A place that itself becomes processual?

These questions were posed to young graduates of the school of architecture in Nancy. This was a dual exercise: to conceive an atelier (a studio/workplace) and, at the same time, to reflect on the process of conception (the practical approach).

Thus, to think about a profession and its space
The spaces are built out of light materials (wood, panels, textiles, steel), of scrap material and construction materials that are easy to work. These are conceptual models for which the body is the standard of measurement. The spaces are not conceived as adequate representations, but rather as metaphors realized on a real-life scale modeled on a working space, and by means of which one recognizes a problematic issue, the position of a body or of several bodies, a rapport to the material, to the light, to movement, to media, a rapport to others, a rapport to the world.

Christelle Chalumeaux, architect, with Judith Elbaz, dance; Ernesto Giolitti, light; Annette Begel, mesh; Thomas Phélizon, material; Claude Valentin, architecture
PROJECT 2—Flexible Wall / I create a seat when I sit
Project using the human body as a tool for conception and fabrication

It’s about a horizontal and vertical area, between an interior and an outside.

It’s made of a material that changes form when pressure is exerted upon it: a body which leans upon it, the wind which blows, an object displaced within it.

It resumes its shape when these outside forces cease. When stretching, it allows us to perceive exterior elements, as if through the weave of a stretched sweater.

Rules of the Game: I create a seat when I sit.
This project experiments with using the human body as a tool for conception and fabrication. I attempt to open up possibilities of conception based upon the body by putting aside other tools of conception. The body’s movement “draws”. I build with my body, I manipulate substance, I carry it, displace, and transform it, I experiment with it physically. It is no longer about the “body as memory”, a partially projected or conjured body, but rather a body solicited wholly; a projecting body—meaning one which experiments directly at full scale and from which the project develops.