Lectureship of the Women's Representative: Gender Studies in Architecture

Lecturer Winter Semester 2019/20: Inka Meißner and Sarah Lehnerer

- some stories of how the alien built a bridge with her mind -
Feminist science fiction architectures

Taking Donna Haraway’s famous quote as a starting point: "The boundary between science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion", and adding her basic assumption that 'fiction' does allow some things to appear which structurally cannot become visible in reality itself; the seminar takes into focus the texture and quality of architectural constructions to be found in feminist science fiction from the 1970s up until today.
Together with a close reading of the primary texts we will likewise look into the accompanying theories and movements in order to better understand the (ideological) groundworks of these architectural designs – which are spaceships, organic worlds and housing complexes. The aim here is a comprehension of how those designs contributed – and continue to do so – to the realization of possible societal and architectural models. It is exactly by reference to the non-realized drafts, one can start to see the activist strategies that are hard to grasp from a present perspective. An example of historic detail could be the comparison between the utopic visions by writers such as Octavia Butler and the typical architectures of the increasingly gentrified mega cities in the 1980s as described by Bret Easton Elis in American Psycho. Against this backdrop, identity as well as subject constructions, political realities, social movements and class-and-race-induced socialities come into sharp focus.
The central question of the seminar – worked upon in the form of close reading, discussions and excursions, consists of how and to which extent subject construction co-creates and shapes our material and formal world.