Eric Ellingsen Instituut fur Raumexperimente

    ‘The Institut für Raumexperimente is in itself an experiment. To me, the experiment as a mode of inquiry is necessary if we are to insist on a constant, probing and generous interaction with reality. Or to put it differently: by engaging in experimentation, we can challenge the norms by which we live and thus produce reality.

    Due to its obsession with primarily formal questions, art education has, I believe, seriously failed to acknowledge the fact that creativity is a producer of reality. The hierarchical transmission of knowledge practised in many art schools is clearly unproductive: the inflexible categories of ‘teacher’ and ‘student’, working in a sealed-off environment, and the fundamentally unequal relation between the two, have taken responsibility away from the students, distancing them from real work in real life. But to study and to produce knowledge shouldn’t imply a withdrawal from society.

    There have, of course, been exceptions. Within the history of spatial research, educational experimentation has occurred at, for instance, the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT, founded by Gyorgy Kepes and based on his engagement with the New Bauhaus School in Chicago; in the work of Joseph Albers and his teaching at Black Mountain College; in O.M. Ungers’ 1960s classes at the Technical University in Berlin; at the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Arts Plastiques in Paris, founded by Pontus Hultén with Daniel Buren, Serge Fauchereau, and Sarkis; and in the work of other pioneers for whom life, individual engagement, and studies could not simply be separated. I aim to recast their radical notions of learning in contemporary society.

    The educational alternative I hope to offer should provide tools for the creation of artistic propositions that have consequences for the world. We must embrace re-evaluation, criticism and friction. As we leave behind the representational distance cultivated by traditional art academies, a necessary and immediate relation to the world is forged….’
    Olafir Eliasson

    Eric Ellingsen is co-directing the Institut für Raumexperimente. Co- directing involves teaching, curating, moderating, critiquing, and administrating. It means helping to choreograph a critically precise field of constantly changing spatiotemporal details.

    Eric established Species of Space in 2009 as a platform through which art, architecture, writing and performance can converge through spatial practices. Education means the world to him. Eric has master’s degrees in Architecture, and Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, and in Classical Philosophy from St. John’s College. Before moving to Berlin, Eric taught architecture and landscape architecture full time (studios, history, and theory) at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he also helped start a Masters of Landscape Architecture program, and served as its assistant director. He has taught part time at the University of Toronto and assisted a team of architects surveying and drafting finds and features on an active archaeological dig in Aphrodisias, Turkey. He has also worked as a research assistant for Cecil Balmond, and freelanced shortly at Field Operations.

    The content of Eric’s teaching centers on the philosophy of pre-and post human nature and ecology, theory of models, the public part of space, art everything, and experiencing experiments. He publishes creative and critical writing regularly, and gives performance/lectures (Serpentine Pavilion, Palais de Tokyo, WE LIVE HERE…). He was an editor of MODELS 306090, and has a book coming out soon called Phantom Bilder. Currently, some of his long-term projects involve collaborations with a retired police sketch artist (Phantom Bilder), a Turkish shoe cobbler, translators, a sound engineer, a dance choreographer, an artist and a sign language instructor, and a food systems planner. He sometimes says the word heart over and over and over.