Ludger Schwarte: Performative Architecture – Setting a Stage for Political Action

Andrea Geyer, video still from Criminal Case 40/61: Reverb, 2009.

Andrea Geyer, video still from Criminal Case 40/61: Reverb, 2009.


Architecture is an act and as such, dynamic, process-related and only considered to be completed depending on the way in which it is perceived, judged and used. On the one hand buildings, as typical products of architecture, emanate from actions, which are completed at some point. However, the unfolding of an edifice does not end with the actual building. Buildings allow for the possibility to act or eliminate it. They establish circumstances, however, they also act. Architectures are actors. They shape the activities of subjects creating reality and are tied to perceptual acts. Their characteristics vary according to other actors’ positions and impulses, they emanate from kinaesthetic and visual experiences, they are the product of interactions. On the other hand they are performative as an ensemble of structures by configuring, identifying and exhibiting subjects, objects and events. They predetermine subjects and prefigure perception. Finally, they constitute the setting, which shapes the actors’ relations to their publicity and makes these observable.

Architecture is performative as built structures and structured physical objects, as embodying and embodied acts. However, instead of analysing these performances of architecture in view of the rules whose application they have generated through their expression, instead of searching for belief and knowledge systems, which govern the external expression of architecture, instead of imputing universalisable structures to each act or attempting to explain it from a textual context, we should first of all regard them merely as embodiments. The ontological pattern that those analysing tools of communicative actions follow merely leads to preconditions of their possibility and validity, thus methodically disregarding the reality and formation of these actions.

Architecture situates performances and makes the representation of the execution of acts possible. Built spaces configure fields of activities: they can identify, alleviate and make comprehensible activities which take place in them; they can incorporate labour, appropriate it or exhibit it publicly. They organise movements, perceptions and emphasize particular zones of attention. Also, they form points of unification and confrontation.

In a narrower sense spaces are performative when they do not simply execute those acts but perform them or even themselves.

The performance of architecture is built from singular acts. It structures perceptions, movements and expressions and folds them into each other. It establishes possibilities for encounters, confrontations and usage and beyond that the possibility of the indefinite; it can even increase the probability of the sudden. It situates actors in the public. This performativity of spaces is the potential generated from an event’s mediatisation and staging.

Consequently, the staging of spaces and the creation of situations, the methods for beginning are based on architectural processes, which make them accessible and set them up in the first place: It is only through the identification of the dispersion, the positioning of an assembly, the rhythmisation of tension, the processes of situating, opening and clarifying that the creation of sequences of action and the preconditions for events’ manifestations are made possible.

The classical theory of action examines the relations between intentions and execution processes. The theory distinguishes casual procedures from actions by understanding the latter as execution of intentions. The idea of architecture as plan and execution also rests on the concept of a subject distinguishing itself through the accomplishment of intentions. Does the plan designate architecture? Or does architecture facilitate planning as labour in the first place?

Privileging the tactically interfering subject, classical theories of action not only disregard material fundamentals, which - if anything - constitute acting and make it first of all possible, but also confine the acting as being an outwardly obtrusive activity. Space always emerges from a multiplicity of interactions.

The whole range of action, however, also encompasses passivity and a change of the self. Architecture thus not only consists of demolishing and triumphal erection, calculation and construction, but also of incuring, inserting oneself, withdrawing and enduring. It is not only comprised of a representation of an imperative will, but also of transformations, fluidity and movement, conversion and transference.

If one wants to get beyond architecture’s planning ideology, a notion of action is required, that does not rely on cognitions, making of plans and a subject’s assertion as criteria for successful completion, but instead asks the question of how and whereupon a world is brought into being and altered. Architecture is not simply a question of skill.

The search for the fundamentals of action should thus be aimed at performativity as the potential of a process (of execution) to generate reality and form cultures. Such a process comes into being in a situation in which an action might suggest itself but is not enforced. Performativity depends on open situations. The unity of an action might be perceived as a catastrophe, an accident, an event or an incident, as a great deed or silly coincidence. However, it does not exhaust itself in the perception, which shapes it, nor in the movement, which causes it or which it responds to. Action is a process, a transformation, a change, a flow, a frantic standstill, always simultaneously characterised by rest and modification, which means, by the tension that distinguishes a situation from a condition. In a condition there is no space for actions, no change of structures, no room for unforeseen developments, steps, thresholds, transitions, as they are representative for situations. Situations enable actors to do something. These opportunities rest and remain unclaimed until those capable of doing so, seize them. The possibility of acting, the enduring and one’s conduct arise from a situation.

This tension inherent in an open situation not only evokes the human subject of action. Rather the performative characteristics of forces, things and creatures count equally. That the material base formats situations is revealed particularly in the architecture of the public space. On the one side this architecture has to be aimed at eliciting actions from forces, things or creatures and becoming the interface of interactions. Thereto it has to make its openness visible, so that persons, things or forces can appear and show themselves in a manner not predetermined. On the other hand it has to organise the perception of these actions in such a way that these mark reality. The architecture of public spaces thus has to open up an arena, it has to arrange perception as the level of expectations into which an act enters and which it nonetheless at the same time surprises. Actions differ precisely from activities in that they are neither expectable nor compliant to certain rules.

This organisation can not, as those referring to modern phenomenology or philosophical anthropology believe, be achieved by the body or the plaiting of participation and distance in the intermediate corporeality: Their execution processes of perceptions are already based on the contingent preconditions of a situation, which first of all has to permit, grant and even evoke execution processes of action and thus activity and passivity, action and reaction. What senses and patterns of activation we develop is a biological answer towards the properties of the world, which we inhabit.  This biological answer, this cultivation of organs thus depends on free areas, which can be used as resources of transformation. In this sense architecture should be understood as the creation and configuration of sensuality.

At the centre of the public space is thus an action,  in the sense that architecture first allows the thing, force or creature a leeway to act differently or even not at all. Accordingly, architecture is not a structural parameter, but that which lets an action appear – by no means exclusively as building – but, by way of example, as the actors assembling themselves and relating to each other. It is reciprocally modified by each action. Designing, building, using and changing public space are equally ways of acting. Actions respond to each other and thereby change the interstices in which they happen. The architecture of this zone thus forms an event out of that which comes into being in such a performative situation.

The first consequence of an analysis of performativity from the perspective of architecture is that actions depend on a situational framework of conditions. These facilitate differentiation between operations, incidents and execution processes. This framework of conditions determines the modalities of such differentiations through embodiment. Secondly, it follows that these distinctions correspond to specific patterns of interactions. These patterns crystallize from the embodiments and determine who can act and what counts as an action. Thirdly, from this notion of action – having in view the happening – follows the assumption that a situational anticipation is needed if the unforeseen should materialise in an observable way.

The possibility of acting intentionally is merely a derivative of performative architecture. From this challenge of the notion of planning follows the idea that places – depending on the degree to which they were planned by an individual – have hardly any chance to appear as public spaces. The action in the sense of implementing the plan is the attempt to force purpose, functions, structures of meaning onto reality, with the result that the situationally generated reality merely counts as auxiliary criterion to the aims of an individual or a society. Performativity of the architect has not for nothing been the paradigm of the demiurge, the creator god, up until Leibniz; but at the same time it is also the model of a political dictatorship, in which only one will counts.

In his “Physics” Aristotle describes architectonics as the art of working with a material to fabricate a purposeful object. Someone who uses this object has to be familiar with its form. However, the producer of this object, as the architect, has to know the qualities of the material in view of a particular function. Accordingly, the architect is not the one who actually fabricates the product or uses it, but the one who develops the form-content unity of a product by projecting its matter of existence before it is even there. However, designing is but only one version of architecture.

A particular structure of social relations, an artificial, common world is the prerequisite for actions to exist at all. This structure is actually the external condition for every birth as much as for the appearance of things. Acting means starting something new: “Every action first and sets something in motion in the present, (…) the action starts and leads something on in the sense of the Greek αρχειν.“ Acting is fleeting and has (first) to be seen, heard, remembered and then transformed - that is to say reified – to become part of the world. Not only the present, the senses and the recollection of other people respond to the actions in acts of embodiment. Things too react to each act, absorbing and transforming it.

As events, depending on presentification and embodiment, actions are basically indeterminate. The capacity of a human being to begin, means that they withdraw from any form of predictability. This capacity of human beings and the disposition of things to respond to this beginning are given to them by the public space. This space collects them; within it they form a collective, without being produced or functionally interlinked.

Acting requires a stage. Only there does the collective power, which can begin something new manifest itself visibly, instead of the violence, which only ever obeys to existing purposes. Characteristics can be controlled, that is to say remain consealed, whilst that which expresses itself in collective actions cannot be hidden.


Ask why we no longer have a direct democracy today and the reply will generally be that the size of the population and the long distances that have to be traveled in modern states make it impossible for every citizen to be present in a parliament. This is an argument on architectural grounds. It assumes that political decisions can only be made in a parliament. Yet a parliament is merely a substitute for direct participation. What might a parliament look like that is open to all citizens?

To what extent does successful parliamentary architecture offset the absence of the majority of the population? At least three things must be distinguished in this regard: a) the number of people who can be accommodated in the space available; b) the structure, arrangement and design of the parliamentary chambers; and c) the degree of transparency with respect to outsiders, observers and chance passers-by. An examination of these aspects of parliament buildings in the period up to the 18th century reveals a gradual development from open meeting places to closed halls.

a) Athens

The Pnyx in Athens was constructed around 500 B.C., a huge platform created so that the public assembly could be transferred there from the agora. Its shape was designed to allow a democratic debate and a transparent and comprehensible decision-making process. The Pnyx was steadily expanded and improved in the two subsequent stages of construction (404-3 B.C., 330-326 B.C.). In the third stage, it was able to accommodate up to 24,000 people. Although walls were built around the Pnyx later on, it was always possible to see into it from the agora, for instance. To preserve this arrangement, terraces with two stoas were laid out above the Pnyx, which provided a better vantage point than the surrounding sides for following the public assembly of the citizens. The Pnyx afforded an unimpeded view of the city, the acropolis, the sky, the port and beyond it the sea. So, on the one hand, its location in the very heart of Athens constituted a critical public forum in respect to the city, on the other hand, it was open itself to other types of publics, especially those without citizen status (women, foreigners, slaves, minors).

b) Paestum

Today, the best known circular parliament from ancient times is probably the ekklesia at Paestum, once the capital of the Greek colonies in Italy and  a democratic town modeled after Athens. The circular meeting place had a raised spot where the speaker is presumed to have stood. The ekklesia was an open-air building that could be seen into from all sides.

c) Rome

The popular assembly, the Comitium in the Roman Forum, formed the starting point of the Roman Republic. Yet it was not a democracy, being governed by a political elite. It was the Senate, recruited from patrician families, that debated and agreed on the political measures, which were announced to the people from the rostrum on the Forum for approval by acclamation. Although originally a form of voting, this involvement of the people in the Senate’s decisions increasingly became a mere formality, the people having been reduced to the role of spectators rather than actors in the political arena. The Curia Julia had a rostrum at the front for the president. Standing at right angles to the rostrum and facing each other on both sides were three-tiered galleries that, depending on the seating, could accommodate 300 to 465 participants in meetings of the Senate. A tall door opened out onto the meeting place in front of it, which contained a rostrum and various religious monuments. As in the twentieth century people’s republics, the layout of the closed Senate building (Curia) and the Forum indicated that no kind of controversy was expected. Speeches to the people were mere pronouncements.

d) Westminster

From 1548 the English Parliament met in a former chapel (St. Stephen’s) in Westminster Palace. The seating plan resulted from an extension of the choir stalls and was identical with that in the Roman Curia. At the eastern end of the chamber was a raised dais with the Speaker’s Chair, in front of which stood the Clerk’s Table. The members of Parliament met here behind closed doors.

Parliamentary architecture and a constitution are similar in the influence they exert on the potential for political activity. A parliamentary building localizes and identifies political activity. It distinguishes between players and strangers and between lawful and unlawful activities. A good arrangement determines whether the members of a parliament can understand each other properly, as it does potential decision-making procedures. In a circular hall, everybody can generally see and hear everyone else. The advantage of a semicircular hall, by contrast, is that at least one person, the speaker, can see and hear everyone equally well. However, factions, contradictions and distances emerge more readily as a result. Moreover, any lengthening of the semicircle leads to the formation of blind spots from which it is impossible to see or be seen.

If parliamentary architecture is to take account of democratic principles it must enable all the lawmakers to make  themselves heard and understood and to communicate their views. The tension between the architecture, which prescribes a certain use and certain patterns of behavior, and the debates in a parliament bestows different powers on the parliamentary players. Anyone occupying the Speaker’s chair or a seat on the government benches or controlling what is going on behind the scenes obviously has more power than a backbencher. But it is not just the members of a parliament who have power. The architecture does, too. It determines not only how the members of the parliament can communicate with one another but also who speaks to whom and about what. It determines who sees and hears what. Moreover, it determines whose voice counts. In a circular chamber it is possible and sensible for everyone to speak from his or her   seat. This makes it clear that a single opinion is being expressed and that just one of many possible viewpoints is being contributed to the overall picture. If there is a rostrum, however, the speaker addresses the audience in a semicircle, having no choice but to take up the sole legitimate speaking position.

The wrestling over parliamentary architecture shows that the ability to speak and make decisions depends on the opportunity to participate, to be present, visible and audible. The existence of political conflicts, the admission of various persons (genders, generations), the lively debate, the audibility of many different voices, the articulation of approval or disapproval can be hindered or reinforced by architectural means.

Ever since the French Revolution the hegemony of “representative democracy” has rested on the semicircular model of the classical Roman theater. The seating arrangements put the focus on the rostrum. According to the theory, it is performances in the form of monologues that gives shape and a voice to the people, who for their part subsequently express their will through their representatives. Wherever “representative democracy” has been introduced, it was not the result of a plebiscite but of a decree issued by a parliament, for which (on average) hundreds of  members were needed. The number of representatives derives not from the size of the population or from the statistical average of the supposed political elite but quite simply from the number of seats in this type of theater.


The key criterion of the political in traditional political philosophy would appear to be a decision based on rational consideration. This criterion could be met behind closed doors. Is not the holding of a debate pure sham? Why do we need a parliament? Why is the public space important for political decisions? Does the semicircle of members of a parliament constitute a satisfactory audience? Is a television broadcast of the proceedings sufficient or is a public only properly established when it can articulate itself and voice criticism and when anyone who wishes can take part?

In answering these questions it is important to distinguish between a public space that collects or interrupts and the political space that forms part of the social space. The social arises from spaces of ordered communication and presumes that an assembly exists. The political space uses aesthetic, disciplinary and biological means to put people in certain positions. It is characterized by conditions of control, by the markings of appropriation and by distancing mechanisms, which identify the subjects and stabilize them in the hierarchical (genealogical, and the like) relationships they have with each other (for example hospitals, schools, prisons, parliaments). In the political sphere power can therefore be exercised and reproduced, whereas the public space cannot be cordoned off and controlled. On the contrary, it is not subject to any unequivocal system of perception, permitting a wide range of insights, allowing anonymity and opening up channels of communication for new participants, new distributions and new questions.

The public gallery is an alien element in the classical theatrical architecture in which the members of a parliament find themselves. Like a wedge, it pries open the closed nature of the parliamentary system of perception and participation. The penetration of the public into the political space can only be explained by the radical democratic currents of the French Revolution.

Proceedings in the English Parliament once took place behind closed doors if for no other purpose than to pursue policies directed against the king and his court. “I spy strangers,” was the formal call for the doors of the House of Commons to be closed and for any potential listeners to be removed.

From the point of view of enlightened analysis there is no reason why the journalistic debate should not relate exclusively to texts, for instance to announcements made by a parliament or government followed by discussion of them in specialist journals. Quite clearly, however, that is not a satisfactory situation for either the press or the public. Reports on parliamentary activities and daily events can reinforce or undermine the sovereignty of a parliament. The physical presence of watching journalists brings quite different forces into play. In 1798, for instance, the British secretary of war, William Windham, complained about the continual reporting and warned that press coverage of the parliamentary debates would inevitably transform the English constitution from a representative one into “an entirely democratic one”. And in 1826 Wellington wrote: “Discussions with open doors, and the publication of the discussions of a Legislative Assembly, however desirable, are not absolutely necessary for the existence of freedom or good government in any country. Our own regulations, and the principles on which the discussions of our Houses of Parliament are founded and carried on, are that they are private and not to be made public.”

But in what sense can discussions between members of Parliament in the House be regarded as private? It was not until 1831 that a press gallery was installed opposite the throne in the House of Lords and only in 1852 in the House of Commons, where it is positioned above the Speaker’s Chair. Up to 1875 the general public in England had no right to attend sessions of Parliament, but could be excluded at any time as soon as a member of parliament “spied a stranger”.

The open spectators’ gallery, like the Declaration of Human Rights, stems from revolutionary France. The States General met in 1789 in the Salle des Menus-Plaisirs at Versailles, which had been redesigned by the court architect. The seating arrangements were flanked by galleries that enabled the aristocratic court retinue to follow the proceedings. Individuals enjoying close contacts with the deputies also succeeded in smuggling themselves into the assembly. Initially they were able to move about so freely among the deputies that the installation of barriers was announced on May 28, 1789, to segregate the large number of visitors and keep the interior of the hall free. The deputies were entitled to call for a closed session. On  May 28,  1789, for instance, Malouet called for a secret session in view of the importance of the subject under discussion and insisted that strangers be removed from the hall. To which Volney replied: “Strangers! Are there strangers amongst us? (…) Do [our voters] not have the utmost interest in keeping their eyes trained upon us? (…) Are you planning to retreat from their gaze the moment you are obliged to account for your thoughts and all the steps you have taken?” Nevertheless, ordinary citizens without any special qualification were generally excluded from political proceedings.

On June 19, 1789, the Assemblée of the Third Estate moved to the Jeu de Paume at Versailles. It was pure architectural chance that the deputies there found themselves facing a gallery, from which spectators had previously been able to watch the ball games. Various drawings and paintings – including the famous one by Jacques-Louis David – show members of the public on window-like galleries during the Oath of the Tennis Court. This presence of the people, an architectural accident, promptly turned out to be a political necessity. For the Tennis Court Oath was at the same time a kind of coup d’état, which was given a certain legitimacy by the presence of random public spectators as witnesses. The deputies in the Jeu de Paume expressed their call for a constitution in the form of an oath, swearing not to leave until a constitution had been granted. It was not least by means of this gesture that they cast aside the tradition of the States General. They no longer regarded themselves as elected representatives from certain constituencies, constituting themselves instead as the National Assembly, the embodiment of the nation, vouched for by incorruptible politicians. Again and again these political representatives would refer to the public as legitimizing their seizure of power. However, these same political players immediately excluded the public once they had assumed governmental power themselves.

After the National Assembly moved to Paris, the public parliamentary galleries were initially made larger. The designs even indicate a competition between the architects to accommodate as many people as possible in these galleries: Gisors found space for 1,400 spectators, while Vignon planned to accommodate 2,500. The 1793 Constitution gave the public the right to intervene in parliamentary debates and to submit petitions. This opportunity for intervention was also used by women to voice their demand for equal rights. Yet neither this architectural model of direct democracy nor the physical presence of the public was tolerated for any longer than was necessary for the members of the parliament to secure power.

To the extent that the unhindered formation of associations and the participation of the people in political events are prevented, the literary public favored by Habermas constitutes a sedative. Press freedom has concealed the suppression of direct democracy and its public forms ever since Robespierre’s reign of terror in 1793 and 1794. It is no coincidence that freedom of the press has existed since the end of the eighteenth century, while limited freedom of assembly was not granted until over 100 years later. Even today, an unregistered gathering of people in a public space can be regarded as a “riotous assembly” and dispersed by the police.


Rancière regards political activity in the narrow sense as the coming together of those who have no right to speak; it is the articulation of those whose voices do not count. Politics is neither the exercise of governmental authority nor the organization of power (which Rancière justifiably calls “police”) but rather the moment in which those who have no share disrupt the order of the visible. So the space for political activity would be the cleft between the parliament and the visitors’ gallery. What is also of interest, however, is the question as to how the “conflict over the existence of a common stage” can be settled in such a way that it is transformed into a legitimate democratic decision-making process.

Our parliaments are too small for our large populations. Rousseau was able to counteract that argument by stating that even the Romans were not too numerous to assemble; they did not meet in a single parliament but at several coordinated locations spread across the Empire or on the Mars Field.

However, since architectural structures facilitating meetings and communication regularly comprise areas of equality and thresholds of distinction, a public is generated at the same time. This is the non-socialized, non-organized, non-identified part of the public. It is its scattered component, which has no place, clamors to be visible and is made to disappear as soon as a quantifiable order of perception and action is established.


From 1794 the National Assembly opted for an architectural limitation of participation, control and objection by the political public of the kind that was tried out during spontaneous gatherings, for example in the “Circus of Truth” that Abbé Fauchet had organized in the Palais-Royal from October 1790. The circus pavilion there was the venue for the weekly meetings of the Assemblée fédérative des Amis de la Vérité, which staged an alternative version of the National Assembly, albeit with 4,000 to 5,000 spectators, “without counting the female spectators who filled the circus galleries”. It was clearly possible for a much larger number of people to take part in the political debate than appeared feasible in the semicircular structure. Moreover it was also possible for arguments, forms of participation and rules of order to be tried out in a relatively unregulated manner. Camille Desmoulins, who was very familiar with both parliaments, preferred the debates held in the circus in the Palais-Royal. The people who came together there had left their private lives behind them to participate in the spectacle of the Revolution, but not as passive spectators. He liked the fact that the audiences were as loud and active as those in the notoriously rebellious theater parterre, where the spectators were always prepared to whistle and boo as well as to praise and rejoice. Desmoulins claimed that in the Palais-Royal there was no formal differentiation between players and spectators, as there was in the National Assembly and even in the Assemblées Primaires still. Here people were not obliged to ask the Speaker for the right to say something and then have to wait two hours to do so. They simply presented their suggestions, and if they met with support. the speaker concerned would stand on a chair. If he earned applause, he would write his suggestion down and pass it on. If what he said was rejected and he was booed, he would simply move on. Desmoulins considered it tyrannical and a hindrance to the progress of the arts that a crowd should be forbidden to voice lively criticism of an actor or author. Equally, he felt it should be permitted to boo and hiss a lawyer or captain, who enjoyed no greater privileges than actors. In a happy nation, Desmoulins opined, the first article of freedom should be the freedom to boo; above all, it should be possible to boo the speaker to one’s heart’s content. The spectators’ galleries were the only antidote to tyranny, as they were incorruptible. Only in the galleries was there a revival of the concept of the people’s tribunes, who used to await the outcome of the Senate’s debates on the bench outside and enjoyed the right of veto.

In contrast to such a space for parliamentary experimentation, representative democracy relies on the expectation that the order of speaking and rank – and hence the better argument – will assert itself in the debate. If that is the purpose of the debate, then either everybody who thinks he or she has something to contribute should be allowed to speak or only experts should. But that is clearly not the case. Speeches are made by members of a parliament who have no special qualifications apart from having been elected. This is neither elitism by dint of birth of the kind represented by the Roman Senate nor an educational aristocracy in compliance with the phantom of traditional political philosophy. Nor do the members of a parliament represent the people as deputies with an imperative mandate, as was the case at the time of the Estates General: They constitute a cross-section qualified by election. During debates these political players demonstrate what could take place anywhere: a universalizable “as if” à la Kant, a verification of hypotheses using political experimental animals in the laboratory, a pilot scheme involving selected examples of the nation, a random sample with which one makes do.

But even if we had a direct democracy again we would have to distinguish between a political space and a public space and insist that the political public constitutes only a fraction of the overall public. That distinction is important for democracy, however. For it strikes me that democracy is distinguished not merely by the direct participation of all citizens in all decision-making processes. Another special characteristic of democracy is that it opens up to the public, which need not be a political public at all but could equally well be a ceremonial public, a sports public or an aesthetic public. Hence the task of the political public would be not only to make parliamentary work understandable and capable of criticism but also, vice versa, to incorporate ‘people outside’ together with their views, assessments and arguments. In addition, as the example of Athens shows, people who are not even citizens could criticize the relevance of decisions, put other questions and raise issues that are different from those against which the parliamentary debating community measures the rationality of its power struggles.

The press gallery, the spectators’ gallery, the television broadcasts and the glass architecture of modern parliament buildings neutralize this public to the extent that they merely symbolize it and prevent a performance. Yet even as a mere symbol this limited public is a constant reference to the universalistic tendency as well as to the local, physical anchoring of democratic decision-making processes. The extension of the decision-making processes into the public space paves the way for a direct democracy. In return, the integration of the public space into the architecture of parliament buildings makes democracy both forward looking and consistently provisional. A parliament of the public would be the exact opposite of the state theater that is predetermined by the architecture of parliament buildings.

Translated from the German by Robert Bryce and Ann-Cathrin Drews.

Ludger Schwarte (b.1967) is a German philosopher and art historian, currently professor of philosophy, Art Academy Düsseldorf. His research is focused on aesthetics, philosophy of architecture, political philosophy and philosophy of science. He acts as president for the German Association of Aesthetics and has edited many books and published a multi- plicity of articles and essays. Among his latest monographic books are “Die Regeln der Intuition. Kunstphilosophie nach Adorno, Heidegger und Wittgenstein” (“Rules of Intuition. Philosophy of Art after Adorno, Heidegger and Wittgenstein”), 2000 as well as “Philosophie der Architektur” (“Philosophy of Architecture”), 2009.