SurrenderResistance is a Master studio from the Faculty of Architecture of KULeuven, campus Brussels. It is centered on experiment and speculation, and proposes an extended moment of re-orientation or re-set at a critical hinge-moment in a learning process of future architects, i.e. the start of the Master program. It aims at a reflection on pressing points of architectural interest, and focuses on the relation of the student with a phenomenon, problem or experience and its associated critical point or singularity, where known laws no longer apply, become extreme, or even contradictory.
This is expressed by the twin-concept SurrenderResistance that signifies an apprehension of issues from the perspective of ambivalence and paradox. It is joined by a partner-concept that changes with every edition and provides topical support and an additional means for orientation. This year it takes the form of a statement ‘Follow the DIRT’, and the argument of philosopher Michel Serres that ‘dirt and its distributions play a fundamental role in relation to the basic questions: How do the living inhabit a place? How do they establish it, recognise it? The answer he gives is that ‘appropriation takes place through dirt’ (Serres 2011, pp.2-3) The opening call is to ‘... move past our disgust, to work with the dirt’, because ‘this is an imperative for coping with our dusty, dirty, defiled world. To think with it, not against it. Dirt never emerges from nowhere, ex nihilo, but from beneath your feet, from under your fingernails, from encounters and relations and from the accumulated odds and sods that compose any mode of life. A life, where it is not stultified as nature morte, is inevitably dirty, messy, buffeted by contingencies’ (Frichot 2019, p.14)