Stalker/Osservatorio Nomade

Group – Rome, Italy

Stalker is a collective of architects and researchers connected to the Roma Tre University who came together in the mid-1990s. In 2002, Stalker founded the research network Osservatorio Nomade (ON), which consists of architects, artists, activists and researchers working experimentally and engaging in actions to create self-organised spaces and situations.

Stalker have developed a specific methodology of urban research, using participative tools to construct a 'collective imaginary' for a place. In particular they have developed the method of collective walking to 'actuate territories', which for them is a process of bringing space into being. Stalker carry out their walks in the 'indeterminate' or void spaces of the city, which have long been disregarded or considered a problem in traditional architectural practice. Referring to their walking practice as 'transurbance', the group views it as a collective mode of expression and a tool for mapping the city and its transformations, of gathering stories, evoking memories and experiences, and immersing themselves with others in a place. They use this knowledge and experience to address urban planning and territorial issues, focusing especially on the interstices of the contemporary city-region. Starting with the edges of the Tiber river on the outskirts of Rome, Stalker have since used this method in many other cities including Milan, Paris, Berlin and Turin.

Since their early walks, Stalker/ON have developed an approach to architecture that is profoundly participatory. Using tactical and playful interventions, they aim at creating spatial transformations through engaging in social relations, because as they have observed, the built environment takes too long to respond to the needs and desires of those who inhabit it. Places on the periphery and communities that are marginal take centre stage in Stalker/ON's projects, working with amongst others the Roma and gypsy populations of Europe, Kurdish migrants and the homeless. Their projects show a commitment to those that society abandons and their method collectively tries to build projects with them. Through listening, making use of creative tools of mapping, walking, interventions and participation, Stalker/ON initiate processes of self-organisation that create convivial, social spaces.

Key Projects

  • Campagna Romana
  • Corviale
  • Campo Boario

Other Work

Francesco Careri, "Transborderline," Architectural Design 71, no. 3 (2001): 87-91.

---, Walkscapes: Walking as an Aestheic Practice (Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2003).

Francesco Careri and Lorenzo Romito, "Stalker and the Big Game of Campo Boario," in Architecture and Participation, ed. Peter Blundell Jones, Doina Petrescu, and Jeremy Till (Abingdon: Spon Press, 2007), 249-256.

Peter Lang, "Stalker on Location," in Loose Space, ed. Karen A. Franck and Quentin Stevens (New York: Routledge, 2001).

Lorenzo Romito, "The Surreal Foil," Architecural Design 71, no. 3 (2001): 20-23.

"Stalker - Laboratorio d'arte urbana - Roma," StalkerLab, www.stalkerlab.it.

References About

"Stalker/Osservatorio Nomade," Rhiz.eu, http://www.rhiz.eu/institution-30469-en.html.

"ON - Osservatorio Nomade - Stalker: Immaginare Corviale, Rome, Italy 2004-2005," A + U: Architecture and Urbanism (2005).

Quotes

ON/Osservatorio Nomade is an interdisciplinary research project initiated and promoted by Stalker, which proposes ways of interventions based on spacial practices of exploration, listening, and ralation, activated through creative tools of interaction with the environment and the inhabitants and with the archives of memories. Such practice aims to catalize the development of self-organized evolutive processes, through the establishment of social and environmental relations. The interventions build up a sensible, complex and dynamic mapping of territories and communities, through an interdisciplinary approach, activating interest and easly accessible. Such operative practice is a unique tool for knowledge sharing and contributes to the dissemination and widening of communities conciusness towards their territory and cultural environment, able to draw effective feedbacks through creative participation in territorial and urban management.
- Stalker/ON website, http://www.osservatorionomade.net

Stalker's fundamental thesis for their manifold interdisciplinary strategies is that architecture, as a solid mass, cannot "change as quickly as the community that lives within it". That is why they are pursuing the route of participative work with the residents in order to initiate a process that will produce an adaptive understanding of architecture and urban planning - through a community that is interested in their buildings and in the opportunities for adapting them.
- Urban Drift, Talking Cities (2006), http://talkingcities.org/talkingcities/pages/180_en.html

The idea is to rediscover, in the metropolitan territory, a sense that springs from the experience of the present state of things with all its contradictions, from an unopinionated perspective, free of reassuring and at the same time frustrating historical or functional justifications.
- Francesco Careri, Walkscapes: Walking as an Aestheic Practice (Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2003); see also www.stalkerlab.it

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