© Dimitri Szuter
A project and a digital platform to design, experiment and share performative "scores" for collaborative and creative urban regeneration processes.

Dimitri Szuter
Paris, France
Team members
Dimitri Szuter
Field of work
Architecture, Urban planning, Landscape architecture, Research, Other
Project category
Public space
Project submitted

I became architect in 2015 after studying applied arts and landscape architecture. Meanwhile, I never stopped dancing and performing, calling myself a performer-architect. I will defend my PhD in architecture on december 8th this year, titled « Towards Performative Urbanism: Experimenting the Performative Turn in City Transformation Practices » and completed at the University of Paris 8 and at the Gerphau Laboratory. With this PhD, built through 7 years of research and experimentation, I seek to ground in theory and in architectural, urban and landscape professions, the hypothesis of a Performative Turn in the practices and processes of urban transformation. In 2017, I created P.E.R.F.O.R.M!, a research-project laboratory and action group who researches, experiments, imagines and creates, from the hypothesis of the «performative» transformation, projects and processes of valorization and regeneration of neglected urban spaces. The group is composed of a network of diverse collaborators and partners from a wide range of artistic disciplines and urban planning professionals to build new scientific knowledge and experimental practices in the emerging field of «Performative Urbanism».

Besides, I’m teaching at ENSA Paris-La-Villette since 2016 and have been engaged as a member of the technical committee of EUROPAN EUROPE since 2017. I was awarded the Voi[e,x,s] research fellow with Theatrum Mundi from 2019 to 2022, resulting to the publication « Voi[e,x,s] : Une en-quête politique indisciplinée ». In 2020 during the pandemic, we developped, through virtual roundtables, the international group Choreography+Urbanism. This emerging network gathers on the potential of encounters between choreography, performative practices and urban design, but It was only a prefiguration of what it could become. The project is derivating from this attempt to gathers researchers and profesionnals around this intersectional topic within Europe.

In the quest of « Performative Urbanism » we believe performativity can unfold new practices to initiate creative urban regeneration processes. Using performance based protocols in early stages of a project can help to reveal hidden affordances of abandoned or unprogrammed places, enabling us to sketch out conceptual leads for their appropriation and transformation. The project lies to become a creative «protocol factory», transmitted throught performative «scores» for urban regeneration processes, that will be experimented in differents cities in Europe. The use of performative « scores » in relation to city making originate from the 1960s, with the collaboration of landscape architect Lawrence Halprin (1916-2009) and choreographer Anna Halprin (1920-2021). I’m now conducting a research in California about their collaboration that feed the project : a heritage to be shared, extended and translated into contemporary issues within Europe. The terms trans- and figuration are widely used in the field of city making. Trans- is a prefix to hybridize ways of doing things and cross disciplines. Figuration is part of prefiguration - omnipresent in the language of alternative practices. The latin word transfigurare means "to metamorphose, to change, to transform". This new initial phase seeks to precede normative prefigurations, to avoid the usuel and aesthetic standardizations in transitional urbanism models. It’s a social and artistic alternative to generate possibilities of emergence for urban transformation orders, in gradual, inclusive and creative ways, to experiment new tools of actions to rehabilitate a collective power of making the city. The digital plateform will become an interactive and collaborative map of experimental practices, sharing and reflecting on the unfolding processes of urban regeneration that would occurs from it : an open source library for performative « scores » dedicated to freed citizen’s creativity in urban environment.