Becoming Landscape: Constructing the House

Christoph Walter Pirker

conference: DARE 2017: aberrant nuptials
date: November 20, 2017
venue: Orpheus Institute, Concert Hall
format: performed
practice: space
keywords: apparatus, stratum

abstract about the author(s)


In short, the being of sensation is not the flesh but the compound of nonhuman forces of the cosmos, of man’s nonhuman becomings, and of the ambiguous house that exchanges and adjusts them, makes them whirl around like winds.
—Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, What Is Philosophy?

It seems remarkable that in the great cosmic movement of sensation, the mutual becoming of universe and humans, and the individuating flow of virtual singularities an almost prudish element appears, which at first cannot suggest stasis more explicitly: this is the element of the house. One could assume that the house in its solidity, determinacy, and objectivity foils all endeavours made to expand the spatial discourse towards the horizon of intensive haecceities. Why, then, should the concept of the house be considered at all, when reflections on contemporary forms of our planetary being shall be made?

Deleuze and Guattari by themselves highlight the importance of the house. They not only build on it but also let the house assume a major role in postulating that paradoxically it is the static house that allows for the universe to be essentially dynamic. The becoming of affects (the nonhuman becomings of the human) and percepts (the nonhuman landscapes of nature) are only made possible using the house, which acts as a filter, membrane, and exchange between the cosmic force fields, making them tangible and perceivable, like wind entering the open windows of a room. In this context, landscape attains a fundamental new relevance. It no longer consists of inhibited and normalised faces, which are forced on a global conception of nature by the striation of a totalitarian state apparatus. For some time, landscape, environment, and ecology find themselves  as the dynamic matter of a universal war machine, whose fascistic over-formation will most likely determine the geological, atmospherical, and societal strata for centuries.     It is not by chance that for Deleuze and Guattari human and nonhuman faces are like bunkers, congealed and not-yet-fluidised mirror images of an all-encompassing dynamic of warfare.

In such a landscape we find the house as a knot within the global fabric of warfare. The house acts as a frame wherein the ambivalence of a global multitude immediately becomes manifest. Unfolding creative evolution and productive relationality—the question of how communication between two heterogeneous systems is made possible can only be made by most critically investigating this very house, bearing the plastic moment of local and global individuation.

In constructing transversally and intuitively, this lecture-performance makes present the house and its frame, showing an essential tool of artistic research. The human body will be put in fragments of the cosmos and the war machine. A continuum of sounding, dancing, and spatialising aspects creates a performative expression, which serves as a counterpoint to our immediate totalitarian landscapes, and—in deterritorialising them in-site—shows instead a landscape of fragility, suppleness, and intimacy. The performance, consisting of one performer, a piano, and a piece of artificial rock from a bunker built in the Italian Alps, draws the map of a landscape, whose form, practice, and life have yet to be encountered.

about the author(s)

Christoph Walter Pirker

Christoph Walter Pirker is Assistant Professor at the Institute for Architecture and Landscape at the Graz University of Technology, Austria. Furthermore, he is trained as an architect, musician, and visual artist. In his work, the experimental and research-based production of knowledge within drawing, painting, and performance as well as the redefinition of visuality plays an essential role. Currently, he is working on his PhD thesis (supervised by artist Milica Tomić) entitled “Visual Ontologies of the Indefinite—Scores of a new Spatial Construction,” and researching the relationship of the human and the nonhuman in architecture.

info & contact


Graz University of Technology, AT


christoph.pirker [AT]