“All animals, from the simplest to the most complex, are fitted into their unique worlds with equal completeness.” – Jacob von Uexküll

The UMWELTEN research project takes inspiration from Jakob Von Uexküll’s ‘A stroll through the Umwelten of animals and humans’. In this book from 1934, the Umwelt stands for the sensory world, in which an organism exists and acts as a subject.
Biologist Von Uexküll was not pondering over art and architecture when he wrote about the dealings and depths of the Umwelt. Nonetheless, his imaginative ideas about the mysterious ways of creation, action and reaction have inspired artists, architects and theorists alike. What sparks creation? How do sensations, intuitions and fascinations lead to creation and invention? Do painters, writers, designers or architects prefer a different environment? What strategies do they use to get their work going? And do they need each other or can one create from isolation?
A closer look at the Umwelten of artists and architects can give us a better understanding of the creative act, its surroundings and the interdisciplinary exchanges that are part of it. Therefore, we have challenged artists and architects to answer one or more of ‘Seven Questions’ that deal with their personal Umwelt. Some have answered by means words, others have sent us an image. As an alternative approach, some received a mysterious package that challenged them to reflect or act upon their Umwelt.

Annelies, Esther, Ine, Isolde and Lucas