SURRENDER / RESISTANCE In back of the real

“How do you have a civil society if you can't agree on what factual reality is”.

--Neil Stephenson


“In September of 1940, an 18-year-old mechanic, named Marcel Ravidat, was walking his dog Robot in the

countryside of southwestern France, when the dog disappeared down a hole. Robot eventually returned, but the

next day Ravidat went to the spot with three friends, to explore the hole. After quite a bit of digging, they discovered

the cave of Lascaux and its walls covered with paintings. The paintings were astonishingly detailed and vivid. It

would eventually be established that these artworks were at least 10 to 15.000 years old.”

The following onslaught of visitors to the cave, led to its permanent closure and sealing in 1963. The deterioration of the paintings had reached a critical point due to, amongst others, mould caused by the presence of the many visitors. Twenty years later, in 1983, an "exact" copy of the cave (Lascaux II) was installed in the vicinity of the original cave. Lascaux III, in turn, is an exhibition consisting of 5 replica pieces, travelling the world since 2012. Finally in 2016 Lascaux IV opened for the public as a new, and the most “accurate”, reproduction of the original space with the help of digital technologies.






For the fourth time, the KULEUVEN_Faculty of Architecture_MA-studio14 SURRENDER-RESISTANCE, will take up

residency at l’ESCAUT (L’ESCAUT/LASCAUX). This year, the theme that is both basis and starting point, is the title of a poem by Allen Ginsberg, “In back of Real” (Ginsberg 1956, p.44).

The Lascaux story provokes puzzlement about the concept of the real, which is also at the centre of the question mentioned at the beginning: “how do you have a civil society if you can’t agree on what factual reality is?”

(, accessed on 11 september 2019).

Can we see and frame the position of architecture herein, as an ethnic domain, as a seller of dreams, as an enforcer,

a confronter, or …? The engagement with these issues, starts with the detection of critical points of acceleration,

deceleration, evolution or transformation – just inside or just outside the perimeter of architecture – and strives to

finalise with a public articulation, presentation (exhibition) of the outcome. The underlying red thread through this all,

is the twin-concept Surrender/Resistance, and its inherent and inescapable ambivalence.Surrender/Resistance is part of the Master-Engagement ‘Mediating Tactics’, that critically questions the discipline and practice of architecture, and reflects on the role of the architect in contemporary society. This studio was designed in collaboration with Marc Godts. This is its fourth edition, and it is made possible by the close collaboration with l’Escaut (

+ more