Course Offerings

Prof. Dr. Patricia Ribault


Theories of Gestaltung

The course « Theories of Gestaltung » will be organised around a number of key concepts meant to help students develop their own creative and productive path.

We will reflect on what we do, what we can do, and how to do it, by questioning the processes of formation and transformation of the material world we live in. Our modes of giving form evolve and hybridize more and more, but they are also inhabited by common and timeless fundamental questionings that have to do with the demiurgic tendencies proper to our species.

What connects the gestures of an artist, designer, craftsman, do-it-yourselfer, engineer, or scientist? What are the common features of their practices, in the way practitioners understand them and implement them, in their approaches to the materials they work and in the processes of shaping they embark on and that embark them? What is the spark? What are the values and principles governing their research? We will analyse various theories and examples taken from different fields of practice—art, design, engineering, science, or within the natural world.

We will see that these processes are a matter of experimentation, invention, creativity, perfection and imperfection, tinkering and bricolage, of materiality and dematerialization, of making and of the urge to make. Like Vincent Beaubois in his PhD dissertation La zone obscure du design (« The dark side of design »), we will place the emphasis on “the inseparably mental and material set of operations that lead to the genesis of a thing”, in which conception is made practice, field of action, inventive gesture, and is not confined to problem-solving, the execution of a plan, or the production of an object.

Several international guests lecturers will be invited to give their view on a number of concepts such as practice, function, craft, formativity or performativity, bricology, intuition, improvisation, data visualisation… and to engage in a productive dialogue with the students.

We will open an online space on Padlet for references, questions and actualities, which will be fed from one week to another by the students and by me.

At the end of the semester, students will be evaluated on their participation to the elaboration of this collective body of knowledge and on their presentation of a research question based on the contents of the course.

First session: April 12th

The course will be held in English

subject group
Theorie und Geschichte


Summer term 2022

Tuesday, 16.00 – 20.00

Hörsaal C1.05

For online sessions:

Sommersemester 2022

1. Studienabschnitt

Location : n.n.

Number of participants : 0 (0)

Hours/week : 4

Credit Points : 4