Marginal Navigations | Urban Curation | Rotterdam COFA Parasite Studio | October 2006



This project was part of an international residency undertaken by Lynda as part of her research masters (Architecture: Expanded Field) at RMIT University. It offered an opportunity to broaden the urban context in which Lynda had previously worked and to develop a creative methodology within an intensive two week ‘charrette’ style studio alongside COFA and Willem deKooning Academy fine art and design students in Rotterdam.



‘Central to this cross-disciplinary studio was the idea or theme of connection, transformation and adaption. The brief of the studio involved the (re)connections of the harbour area with the urban planning of Rotterdam and parallel transformation and rethinking.’ Professor Richard Goodwin, COFA Studio Leader


Through the overlay of mapping and navigational paths coupled with 1:1 site investigations, Lynda interrogated Rotterdam harbour as a social landscape – encompassing forgotten issues and detached entities along it’s edge.




This investigation revealed the location of a detention centre / barge housing two hundred and seventy foreign asylum seekers. In response to the project brief, Lynda proposed a curatorial framework, which took navigational bearings back to where these interned individuals came from, drawing out and mapping their memories of home to create a metaphysical space for the refugee. These new interventions created zones (possible artistic and temporal insertions) across Rotterdam city where the public could perceive the dislocation and isolation of the refugees who awaited an uncertain future.




Despite the hypothetical nature of the brief and outcome as an exhibition of propositions, and the limited project timeframe, this studio proved to be one of the most influential projects within Lynda’s master’s research. It was the first time she had developed a proposition through the utlisation of three different spatial scales: mapping at an urban planning scale, exploring the site at 1:1 scale & the mind-map of the project’s subject: the interned asylum seeker.


‘Fundamental to the outstanding success of this project’s investigation was Lynda’s ability to collaborate and interrogate the city at 1:1 scale. Ultimately the discovery of an illegal alien detention centre floating like some ancient gaol in Rotterdam harbour opened up the possibility of a range of projects about the city’s disconnection which went beyond the prescribed site.’ Examiners report




Another paradigm shift was the development of a social framework or curatorial strategy as a solution to a design brief rather than a physical / spatial form. It proposed a method for situating works within an urban context rather than making the works themselves – offering this to other practitioners for future collaboration. Considering the ongoing issue of asylum seekers and their internment beyond Australian soil, this project could be equally applied within an Australian context.