"The Black Cat Territory. Fictions and Frictions of Inhabited Space" is an international and interdisciplinary research project focusing on the cultural, artistic and material significance of the concept "interior" as inhabited space, with particular attention to the processes, rituals and needs linked to living in designed
architectural space. The project investigates the way traces sediment in "Schichten" and layers in "Geschichte" – the interior is interpreted as palimpsest. By means of photography, installation, projection and sculpture, the proposed multimedia artistic research deals with diverse layers and stratifications: layers
concerning the senses and the haptic (such as visual traces, sound, light, shadows, smells, temperature, humidity), immaterial spheres (memories, ideas, dreams, the uncanny, the surreal, the poetic), events happening over time, interactions between intimate and public space. The research is inspired by critical
theories about inhabited space, space as enveloping surface,  Benutzeroberfläche" in architecture, visual tactility and multi-sensory experiences, textile in/as space, interactions between space and time, between
real and virtual space.

Through the perspective of Fine Art, this research aims to contribute to the stimulation, expansion and innovation of the research paradigms applied within interior design/interior architecture. The premise from which this research starts is that the research methods developed within Fine Arts and specifically within
the artistic work of Sarah Westphal will provide new approaches to unravel, register and rewrite the conditions of inhabited space, which have been proven very difficult to tackle through conventional research methods. By studying, framing and elucidating the methods within the work of Sarah Westphal,
the research project will contribute to the debate on and, by extension and ideally, to the development of the "toolbox" at hand for the investigating "interiorist". Looking back at the first phase of the shift towards academic profiling of the interior discipline, conventional research methods are useful when the interior is
conceptually considered as a material artifact or as a given and found condition, but less when the interior is regarded as a process of interiorization, as lived space, as a situational condition determined by time.


  • Lut Pil (project leader, KU Leuven/LUCA)
  • Sarah Westphal
  • Silke Opitz
  • Inge Somers

Research unit: Image

Duration: 2015 - 2017