Conversation with Christopher Dell


Atrium Radio: Today we have a special guest interview. Here with us is Christopher Dell. He is a theoretician and composer. Currently he teaches as Professor for Urban Forms of Knowledge, Organisational Theory and Relational Forms of Practice at the Research and Teaching Programme Urban Design. He is also the director of the Institute for the Institute for Improvisation Technology Berlin. I really enjoyed last semesters to his lectures. Especially to the Panopticon Lecture. Today he is here to introduce us in to the concept of the Open University.

Christopher Dell: Thank you so much for the introduction. It’s great to be here at your radio. It is super exciting to articulate and disseminate what a society and in that sense also a university can be. Now I want to, as you have asked me to, reflect a little bit on the seminar that will take place next semester. That’s also a meta seminar, because it tries to ask what a university means, how a university works and how a university produces knowledge. In that sense it’s very interesting because this is a new opportunity to reflect critically on the own practice, on how we do this. We are a university that has the topic of spatial configurations and we talk a lot about spatial configurations outside the university but rarely about the spatial configuration inside the university. So this is now the task to do: how can we create formats and how structure formats to have a new way of grasping the urban, but also to understand how we in our work on mediality project on the urban. This is also part of your radio to do this. This radio is also kind of a start of that. What is important ot keep in mind is that this is a historical project. Also in that sense that it is one of the aims of that seminar to consider earlier projects like the … of the constructivist movement, the Bauhaus school or the IFG Ulm, or the Black Mountain College, but also, for example, the Freie Universität of Joseph Beuys, which was the first university that also conceptualized the social differences in society that are connected to the production of knowledge. I think that will be also a very important aspect: how can we cross boundaries, how can we cross social gaps, how can we cross the usual kind of categories that we have and really become interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary of however you want to call it. It’s all about the hang and creating a hang together. That’s also in parts what you do at the summer school.