Michael Singer Studio. The Waterfront and the South Cove Regeneration Project. 2012. West Palm Beach, Florida. Image Courtesy of PBC ERM.


International Conference, June 6 – 7, 2011
Utzon Center Aalborg, Denmark

How do humans interact with architecture or nature? How does the human body encounter and sense different spaces? And how does the urban or natural environment influence our body consciousness and our social relations?

These are some of the questions the international symposium at the Utzon Center, Aalborg (Denmark) will ask with the help of scholars and artists from multiple disciplines and approaches: Richard Shusterman (philosopher, Florida Atlantic University, USA), Michael Singer (sculptor, architectural and landscape designer, Vermont, USA), Mimi Sheller (sociologist, mobility researcher, Drexel University Philadelphia, USA) and Kent Martinussen (architect, director of the Danish Centre for Architecture, Copenhagen) will address in their keynotes the interdependencies between the human body, consciousness, space and social relations. 

The Danish artist Joachim Hamou (Copenhagen) and the scholars Ole B. Jensen (AAU), Hans Fink (AU), Michael Lauring (AAU) as well as the architect Jacob Kamp (Copenhagen) will comment and discuss with a wider audience the ideas brought about by the key note speakers. 

Michael Singer will play a special role within the symposium as he will be present with an exhibition of some of the pieces of his sculptures, site specific projects, architecture and poetic garden projects at the Utzon Center, Aalborg (opening June 7 2011). While scholars like Shusterman and Sheller analyze and discuss theoretically how humans are bound to the inhabitation of real physical places, Singer is practically experimenting in his art and architectural sites with a sustainable and constructive interplay between the human subject and the natural environment. Sustainable architecture will also be in the centre of Martinussen’s contribution. 

With regard to Singer’s work, Shusterman’s pragmatic concept of a body consciousness that transcends the duality of body and mind shows to be most fruitful for the understanding of both the cognitive and the emotional-affective elements of what might be called ‘sense of place’. This perspective on body consciousness is situated within broader developments that currently take place in sciences and everyday life: e.g. as a subject of aesthetic surgery the human body becomes flexible and fluid. In architecture and new technological systems the body plays the part of a new type of interface and in information and communications technologies humans seem to be free of time and spatial boundaries. As the symposium is based on these recent transformations, it does not follow a nostalgic renaissance of the a-historical and authentic natural body, but uses the historical, cultural, spatial and social contexts of body experience and consciousness as the starting point for its further investigation into the surprising new alliances between body, nature and social relations. 


Organisation: Else Marie Bukdahl (former rector of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts), Antje Gimmler (Aalborg University, C-MUS) in cooperation with Anni G. Walther (Utzon Center), Claus Bonderup (Aalborg University). 

For further information please contact:

Anni G. Walther: agw(at)aalborg.dk
Else Marie Bukdahl: mail(at)em-bukdahl.dk
Antje Gimmler: gimmler(at)socsci.aau.dk

The conference is free, no conference fee is taken, but we are limited to a maximum of 120 participants. There will be free refreshments (coffee and water) available. You are welcome to buy your lunch at the Utzon Café & Restaurant.

To subscribe for the conference please contact: 

Utzon Center, Aalborg
Phone 0045-7690500
Email gbm@utzoncenter.dk

Monday, June 6th

10.00 – 10.15    Introduction, Else Marie Bukdahl, Antje Gimmler, Anni G. Walther
10.15 – 11.15    Richard Shusterman (Florida Atlantic University, USA): Somaestetics and Architecture: A critical perspective
11.15 – 12.15    Comment Hans Fink (Aarhus University) and discussion
12.15 – 13.15    Lunch break
13.15 – 14.15    Joachim Hamou (Copenhagen): a generic story
14.15 – 14.30    Coffee Break
14.30 – 15. 30   Mimi Sheller (Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA): Place Pulse: Mobile Orientations, Sentient Cities, New Media Ecologies
15.30 – 16. 30   Comment Ole B. Jensen (Aalborg University) < and discussion

Tuesday, June 7th

10.00 – 11.00    Michael Singer (Vermont): Art and Design for the Built and the Natural Realm
11.00 – 12.00    Comment Jacob Kamp (Copenhagen) and discussion
12.00 – 13.00    Lunch break
13.00 – 14.00    Art intervention (N.N)
14.00 – 15.00    Kent Martinussen (Danish Centre for Architecture, Copenhagen)
15.00 – 15.45    Comment Michael Lauring (Aalborg University) and discussion
15.45 – 16.00    Coffee Break
16.00 – 17.00    Final discussion
17.00    Opening of Michael Singer’s exhibition