Transitional Territories

The works presented in the exhibition “INLAND, SEAWARD” opens the new three years cycle of Transitional Territories Studio on the de- / re-territorialization of places, structures and cultures between land and sea.

For the academic year 2020-2021 the studio focuses on the de-construction and re-construction of the geographic space of four climate zones, informed by four lines of inquiry and identified scales and subjects of concern. The studio collectively investigates the possibility of diverse spatio-temporal formations and inhabitation between land and sea—seeking a revised balance between society and nature. The research on the state of the territorial project is developed in collaboration with Diploma Unit 9 at the Architectural Association. The Unit develops projects on a territorial scale, with a strong focus on spatial diagnostics and territorial transformation. At the heart of the studio lies the idea that crises should be revealed and designed rather than latent and suffered.

Four lines of inquiry
subjects. composition. alteration. limit. projections

— ‘Matter’
Earth
Water
Air

— ‘Topos’
Terraforming
Erasure
Translations
Flux

— ‘Habitat’
Mutualism
Competition
Diversity
Entropy

— ‘Politics’
Climate Regime
Ethics
Ownership
Displacement (after belonging)

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Inland Seaward

Curated by
TT Studio
dr.ir. Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin | dr.ir. Luisa Maria Calabrese

Website
o-ko | Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin

Illustrations Projections: Inland, Seaward
Petra Grgic

Sound Projections: Inland, Seaward
Northbound, a documentary about Finmark by Boaz Pieters and Mark Slierings under the framework of Transitional Territories, Landscapes of coexistence studio 2019.

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Transitional Territories
Jānis Bērziņš | Hadrien Cassan | Laura Conijn |Cas Goselink | Jurriënne Heijnen | Marijne Kreulen | Lucas Meneses Di Gioia Ferreira | Kinga Murawska | Asmita Puspasari | Zhongjing Zhang

Pantopia / AA Diploma 9: The Third Territorial Attractor
Stefan Einar Laxness | Antoine Vaxelaire

Vasilis Appios | Luciana Bondio | Jasmine Chui Lam Chung | Romain Conti-Granteral | Philip Nazih Gharios | Jia Wei Huang | Vic Sheng-ya Huang | Hendrick Hing Chun Lin | Romain Rihouet | Andrew Robertson | Ezgi Terzioglu | Zi Min Ting | Mohamad Riad Yassine

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The exhibition opened on February 5th 2021 with the Symposium 'Territory as a Project: Ocean, Land, Atmosphere' with invited speakers Elise Hunchuck [Royal College of Art (ADS7), London], Michel Desvigne [MDP Michel Desvigne Paysagiste], and Daniela Zyman [Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21)].

TUDelft
Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Transitional Territories Graduation Studio 2020-2021 / Inland Seaward

Transitional Territories is an interdisciplinary design studio focusing on the notion of territory as a constructed project across scales, subjects and media. In particular, the studio focuses on the agency of design in territories at risk between land and water (maritime, riverine, delta landscapes), and the dialectical (or inseparable) relation between nature and culture. The studio explores through cross-disciplinary knowledge (theory, material practice, design and representation) pathways of inquiry and action by building upon Delta Urbanism research tradition, yet moving beyond conventional methods and concepts. During the graduation year, students develop an analytic, critical and conceptual approach to design by means of system and data analysis, critical cartography, scenario planning and new media. The scales of individual projects vary from buildings and (infra)structures to entire landscapes and regions. The theoretical discourse to which the studio refers includes notions of critical zones, territorialism, infrastructure space, (landscape) ecology, environmental risk and transition theory. The studio builds upon a collaborative platform (science, engineering, technology and arts) on ways of seeing, mapping, projecting change and critically acting on urbanized landscapes. At the core of the Delta Urbanism Research Group (Section of Urban Design), the studio is embedded within/and supported by the interdisciplinary TU Delft Delta Futures Lab, working in close collaboration with the Faculties of Civil Engineering and Geosciences and Technology, Policy and Management (TUD).


Studio Leader
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin

Studio Coordinators
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Luisa Maria Calabrese

Instructors | Mentors
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Luisa Calabrese
Fransje Hooimeijer
Diego Sepulveda Carmona
Daniele Cannatella

Students
Jānis Bērziņš
Hadrien Cassan
Laura Conijn
Cas Goselink
Jurriënne Heijnen
Marijne Kreulen
Lucas Meneses Di Gioia Ferreira
Kinga Murawska
Asmita Puspasari
Zhongjing Zhang

Graduation Sections/ Chairs
Urban Design
Environmental Technology & Design
Spatial Planning and Strategy
Landscape Architecture
Applied Geology (Coastal Morphology)(Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences)

Earth, water, air

Kinga Murawska & Marijne Kreulen

Matter

Currently, the relationship between humans and matter is one of control and operationalisation. This is reflected in interventions that aim to fixate river dynamics, optimise soil for agriculture by means of fertilisers, and harvest energy by placing hydro-electric dams along rivers. The human occupation of land, sea and air is increasing to enable the extraction of matter on a monumental scale. On land, processes of deforestation have a direct effect on both water and air systems, causing the reduction of water discharge upstream and CO2 uptake. At sea, increasing air temperatures cause sea ice to regress, allowing the expansion of oil extraction. Traces of the present and historic occupation can be found in the remnants of anthropogenic material, such as particulate matter concentrations in the air or pesticides and debris accumulated in the sediments.

In other areas that enforce less control, the natural dynamics of matter threaten human living, as is the case in some northern coastal areas, where rising air temperatures cause soil frost to decrease, leaving the land exposed to water fluctuation and severe erosion.

In addition to natural and anthropogenic influences, the pressure of climate change works as a catalyst, magnifying existing issues to the point of extreme unbalance. It is the accumulation of these three pressures that now cause matter to change beyond our capacity of control, resulting in a new, hybrid matter, which has different properties, dynamics and states. For example, eutrophication (changing properties), artificial coastlines (change of dynamics) and regressing sea ice (change of state). With anthropogenic matter as a contextual basis, the urban project has to be considered both an appropriation and commodification, that carefully designs its impact on matter – as an interplay between control and release.


Erasure, flux, translations, terraforming

Laura Conijn & Cas Goselink

Topos

Inquiring the representation of Topos in a territorial project entails both sequences of spatiality and temporality, as it appears through the processes that form-, and erase land. Implicit motions, laterally and longitudinally, shape the multitude of perceptions and sensations of the landscape, observed through the lens of natural processes of sedimentation and erosion versus anthropogenic disturbance events interfering within them. Complex volumes of soil, sole manifestations of past fluidity of marine- and riverine territory through the fixation of sediment, show the ever moving suspension of soil in water. Iterating onto itself through the duality of the formation and degradation processes, creating past, present and future.

Now, within the anthropogenic territory, tension appears through the formation of fields, structures and objects of an infrastructural nature. These rigid remnants of civilization, anchoring human activity onto the territory, unable to achieve the state of fluidity as demanded by the rapidly changing environmental conditions and processes encroaching upon us. Physical barriers are formed to actively destabilize and manipulate natural processes on the long- and short term, in order to create an engineered system of transposition without translation and migration. The mutual engagement of water and sand particles, once the core of terraforming and erasure, diminished to the sheer exchange of anthropogenic pollutants and materials within a rigid field of an ever growing gap between the human and natural territory. Infrastructure will, throughout the climactic zones, across the globe, lead to destabilization of our contemporary representation of Topos on either the short term through shock, or the long term through stressors on the environmental layer. Infrastructure, our vertical alignment with the soil, anchoring humanity, disabling horizontal movement of mankind.

Sources:

Charles E. Young Research Library. “ ‘The tombstone’ of St. Francis Dam after the collapse”. Accessed on January 26, 2021. https://miro.medium.com/max/2160/1*x1yqKHlHePZ_Ycx8apBvSg.jpeg

Wall, Julia. “North Carolina Flooding”. Accessed on January 26, 2021. https://www.pewtrusts.org/-/media/post-launch-images/2020/09/gettyimage-s1148956387jpgmaster/16x9_m.jpg?mw=1290&hash=AC25A83A8AD9AAC59FB7CA666155B211

Grow, Kelly M. “Oroville Dam California”. Accessed on January 26, 2021. https://media2.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2018_04/1902221/ss-170214-oroville-dam-california-09_d6449cd0ed87f50a6d059e7b79b27fc4.fit-2000w.jpg


Mutualism, competition, diversity, entropy

Asmita Puspasari & Zhongjing Zhang

Habitat

Habitat is recognized as a place or environment to dwell. It hosts life with its diverse forms and drifting anchorages with the site and the climate. Site refers to the flowing topos, including geo political narratives projected upon it. It’s not in-situ limited only on land, but extended into the sea and the air. All creatures living in nature are interrelated. As a symphony of systems, habitat is the locus where accumulation of instincts, ideas, and needs of all living creatures is manifested. From within, inhabitation can be experienced either as competition or cooperation, resonance or dissonance. Hence, Habitat is no longer perceived as an origin, it is a second origin. Forged both by natural forces and human activities, including temporal differences, habitat is altered and limited. The flow of habitats is a collection of surviving materials of values, meanings, traditions, and cultures that come from the past and let everything begin anew.

The overlying of fast-paced territorial occupation is reinforced by an acceleration of planetary imagination from humans living in close communication. It creates a vigorous movement to expeditious embodiment beyond land, seaward and even down to the body. Captured within territories, it leads to the untamed desire of rapid response to change — as if everything is in a race. As this evolving Habitat presents us with a transect from purely natural to anthropogenic territories, how can we human, depict the ‘real story’ of habitat? And how can we understand in which direction it should move towards?


Climate Regime, ethics, ownership, displacement (after belonging)

Hadrien Cassan, Jānis Bērziņš & Lucas Di Gioia

Geopolitics

Geopolitics – “politics of earth systems”, are the socio-economic arrangements linked to geographical space where politics done by humans territorialize and arrange every human and non-human existence. An infinite set of negotiations and disputes occur, which arrange certain species, patches of forested and geological formations shaping the physical territory. In the anthropocene, humans have irreversibly become the mediators of such arrangements, dictating the boundaries, limits, and territorial dynamics over the landscape, often subjugating non-human entities to their desires.

Territorialization initiates with an intent, predominant over the multiplicity of objectives that coexist in the same territory. These intents can stem from political, economic, or environmental conditions and desires, always constrained by the territory in dispute. The Toba Caldera in Indonesia, the basins of the Red river in Vietnam and Xingu river in Brazil and the South-England coast in the North Sea depict how predominant intents for tourism, agriculture and economic development have muffled the traditional and pre-existing human and non-human voices that have inhabited and perpetuated the ecological balance of these regions.

Given sufficient power, intents are reinforced by claims, where demarcations and delenations are drawn to justify the operationalization of a territory. The drive to stimulate economic growth superimposes over the natural dynamics of the Baltic Sea in the Gulf of Riga and Vistula River. A quickly re-territorializing Barents Sea in Norway to facilitate natural resource extraction has transformed the sea into a productive seascape.

Once predominant claims have been consolidated, the need for guaranteeing control delineates and restricts other intents that have not been considered or silenced. The gradient of control can be done through governance methods, ranging in scale and implications to restrict and manage territorialization fit for purpose, leading to complete anthropogenic control over natural systems such as the riverine territories of the Ijssel and the Seine.

As the modern era of human geopolitics continues to resist yielding space for the silenced voices, we witness the urge of nature to release itself from these imposed controls. Ultimately, we call for geo-politics that are intune with the geo-systems.