2010 Interstices Under Construction Symposium - Unsettled Containers: Aspects of Interiority, 8-10 October 2010

full name / name of organization: 
Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul / AUT University, Auckland
contact email: 

University of Auckland, 8-10 October 2010

Keynote speaker (to be confirmed): Prof David Leatherbarrow, University of Pennsylvania School of Design

Is architecture a cult of the externalised object? It would seem so: of 46 images of prize winning entries on the 2009 World Architecture Festival website, for example, only four show interiors.[2] So efficiently are interior and exterior sealed off from each other that they are frequently treated as discrete professional domains. However, inside and outside are always ready to be reversed and today's spaces may seem even more involuted, fragile and unsettled than those of the past.

If interiority is a way of thinking of ourselves as being-in-the-world, to the exclusion of whatever we fail to integrate, how do we draw the lines and name the territories today? What constitutes interiority? What does it have to say about the institutionalised containment of refugee centres or gated communities; the improvised urbanism of Freetown's shanties or Brazilian favela; or, indeed, the openness of the Pacific? What is it like to negotiate the pae [3] from inside? Where are the spaces of Self and Other? How do global and regional flows circulate in interiors, and how do we register difference? When is a set of walls an interior, when is an object a container, and when is a container a world?

Interstices invites you to unsettle the dichotomy of interior and exterior; to redefine and reorient the concept of the interior for the present, and project it towards the future. We welcome postgraduate students, academics and practitioners to present their investigations in 20 minute papers. Please send a 500 word abstract of your presentation to Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul (tina.engels@aut.ac.nz) by 5 July 2009. Abstracts will be double-blind refereed and, if accepted, published on the Interstices website (www.interstices.auckland.ac.nz).

The symposium will be held on 8-10 October 2010 at the School of Architecture and Planning, The University of Auckland, 22 Symonds St, Auckland. Participants will present their investigations in 20 minute sessions. There will be a workshop session for emerging researchers, independent of the refereeing process, which will focus on developing research capability. In November, the symposium will be followed by a Call for Papers, with the same theme, for issue 12 of Interstices: Journal of Architecture and Related Arts in 2011.[4]

[1] 'Unsettled containers' (unruhige Behälter) is a term which the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk probably derived from Gaston Bachelard, who conceived of humans as fundamentally unsettled and half-open beings.
[2] http://www.worldarchitecturefestival.com/winners.cfm?eventYear=2009
[3] Pae (Māori): a transitional zone of demarcation and negotiation (R. Jahnke, 1999).
[4] Interstices: A Journal of Architecture and Related Arts received an "A" rating in the 2009 and 2010 Australian Research Council's Journal Ranking Exercise.