The PhD and MA course
“Objects of Research” explores chemical compound titanium dioxide (TiO2)
as an extended object of research. How can this abstract material be approached
from the fields of architecture and design? Can the material be understood as a
system? What methods can be used to understand the material and what are the
implications of various methodological approaches? In the course, students and
PhD Fellows studied TiO2 by searching for archive material, by
critically gathering technical information about the material, and by writing
texts—focusing on historical, aesthetic or societal aspects of the material.
compound titanium dioxide (TiO2) circulates extensively through our
material, biological, and economic systems, most of the time completely
unnoticeable: in the food we eat, the paper we print on, the paint on the wall,
and our iPhone chargers. The inorganic substance is a white pigment that has
been used in the mass-production of materials and goods since its discovery
around 1910. TiO2 has been called “the whitest white” and its
material properties are inextricably related to invisibility, durability, and
was developed and patented by Norwegian chemists Peder Farup and Gustav Jebsen,
and production for the global market began in the mine Titania AS in Norway in
1916. After a hundred years of manufacture, the inorganic material has brightened
our world. Yet, the extraction of TiO2 has left an irreversible
change in the local landscape: the environmental trace of mining modernism
consists of a vast cut through the surface of the earth and a white artificial
desert of mining waste.
Once a signature
of modernism, TiO2 has now become a signature of innovative
materials and smart technologies. Architects, chemists, and building engineers
progressively investigate the future prospects of the material as an essential
component in renewable and alternative building technology. Today, TiO2
nanopraticles can produce smog-absorbing building surfaces, self-cleaning
windows, and antimicrobial coatings for laboratory use.
Teachers: Ingrid Halland
Jon Anders Fløistad – Modern Magic; Kersten Williams – Observed; Kjersti K Fretland – White Noise Pia Tveit – Hidden but Everywhere.