What makes us especially interested in the in-between categories, those that can be defined as being neither ‘art’ nor ‘architecture’, ‘city’ nor ‘countryside’? The ‘terrain vague’, the wasteland, belongs to such a category of phenomena, not easily grasped, yet at the same time allowing for the flourishment of fantasy. As a place in which different temporal and spatial regimes collide, it lies concurrently both at the edge and in the centre, announcing what once was, and what is to come.
Philip ursprung is Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at the Institute for History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at the ETH Zürich since 2011. He studied art history, history and german studies in Geneva, Vienna and Berlin, received his PhD from the Freie Universität Berlin in 1993, and his habilitation at the ETH Zürich in 1999. He has taught at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin, Universität Zürich, Columbia University New York and at the Barcelona Institute of Architecture, to name a few, and has also been a guest curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Basel, and the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal. He has published Herzog & de Meuron: Naturgeschichte (2002) and Caruso & St John: Almost Everything (2008), and he is the author of Grenzen der Kunst: Allan Kaprow und das Happening and Robert Smithson und die Land Art (2003). His latest publication is Die Kunst der Gegenwart: 1960 bis heute (2010).