Wild Poethics - Exploring relational and embodied practices in urban-making
Doctoral thesis, 2017

Nature is not something separated from the city. With this in mind, this research emerges from the act of urban gardening, staging space for naturecultures that reinforce a direct relation to an urban nature. Alternate agencies can motivate ecological mindsets in urban approaches, bypass the hegemonic and paralysing attitude of the Anthropocene and render a more profound relation with the spatial environment. This catalyses a potential in embodied methodologies to generate vibrant materialist relations in urban-making.   The research is positioned with a two-fold challenge; urban-making and naturecultures. The aim is to reorientate methodologies in urban-making to approach relational space matters, and promote ecological poethics relevant for practice, research and education. Three thresholds of engagement structure the exploration: the embodied, the relational and the situated. Alongside explorative practices are built up cartographies of theoretical neighbourhoods that provide alternate knowledge generation on individual, shared and collective levels. Experimental embodied interventions are grounded in artistic research through choreographical approaches using Butoh, Body Weather and swarm-behaviour practices. These approaches are set in a voyage-metaphor to a fictional Island of Encounters reaching four destinations. Each encounter unravels a particular perspective into relational and embodied practice: Alba (body/curiosity), Agora (fiction/performance), Clinamen (atmosphere/imagination), and Plūris (metaphor/swarming). A methodological choreography which corresponds with the theoretical cartographies, reveals and opens up for an urban-making founded in situated knowledges to generate a corporeal poethics – poetic, politic, and ethical. As the activated practice unfolds, interventions are supported by their theoretical neighbourhoods nested in feminist spatial practice, vibrant relationscapes, worlding, affective atmospheres, imagination, spatial-temporal in-betweeness and assemblage-thinking. Accompanying each destination are five film essay(s), each pertaining to the particular artistic interventions in the research. Using corporeal imagination and re-enactment modes of enquiry such as thinking with paper modelled texts, creating fictocriticisms with clouds, using dynamic biomimesis, and mimicking swarms, generates an enlivened relation with naturecultures that gestures the body into becoming a reflective and profound membrane with space. By encountering and immersing the body in a space/time construct, a critical materiality practice emerges that can infuse urban-making, render the body a more refined medium and reactivate architectural thinking and making.




critical spatial feminist practice


embodied methodology


affective atmospheres

relational assemblages

artistic research


Anna Maria Orrù

Chalmers, Architecture, Urban Design and Planning

Extracting Urban Food Potential: design-based methods for digital and bodily cartography

Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society,; Vol. 3(2015)p. 48-62

Journal article

Extracting Urban Green Potential: critical design-based use of digital and bodily co-mapping methods

6th AESOP Sustainable Food PLanning Conference - Finding space for productive cities, Leeuwarden, NL,; (2014)p. 19-

Paper in proceedings

Time for an Urban (Re)evolution – Negotiating Body, Space and Food

PARSE Conference: The 1st PARSE Biennial Research Conference on TIME , Nov 4-6 2015, Göteborg SE,; (2015)p. 20-

Paper in proceedings

CO-MAPPING: The Sustainable Compact and Green City

IGU Urban Commission Conference,; (2014)

Conference contribution

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories


Other Humanities not elsewhere specified


Performing Art Studies

Human Geography



Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4297


Chalmers University of Technology

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6/4/2019 8