In its relentless journey, the unheimliche —or the unhomely or uncanny— travels and passes through time and space, observing and overarching generations and altering its guise: it is a ‘travelling concept’. Like a dreaded illness, it only seems to exist temporarily: it suddenly sticks, upsets, lingers and then leaves the unsettled hosts it inhabits. In its trajectory between sojourning and wandering, it marks things and beings. I will argue that the unheimliche comes forward as a cultural concept whose workings have consequences for the status of the author, the beholder, the designer and the learner. Moreover, rather than an undesired weakness, it becomes a positive agent of change in interior architecture. Furthermore, it also addresses a series of critical concerns upon novelty; authenticity; the role of the individual designer; and oppressive teaching strategies.
I argue that the unheimliche oscillates in between four following domains with corollary perspectives: (1) the author who authors the unheimliche and introduces a changing discourse on the unheimliche. (2) the beholder who goes through an interior experience that destabilizes but also ‘informs’ actions and thinking; (3) the designer, as member of the interior architectural design discipline who actively engages with the ‘un-preferred’; (4) Finally, learners who emancipate themselves by addressing their own unsettling memories and experiences in design education; By engaging with the unheimliche, I argue that it furthers the imagination and creativity for these four stakeholders. Hence, instead of weakening, the unheimliche rather empowers. In short, as a shared approach, the unheimliche becomes beneficiary concept for the beholder, (aspirant) interior architect, the designer and the learner.
90 % doctoral seminar as organized in Brussels by Karel Deckers, doctoral student at the Chalmers University of Technology.