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Vagueing The City

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Derived from the adjective “vague” —meaning “not clearly defined, grasped or understood” — the verb “to vague” seems to signal impeded visuality. Through his work as a scenographer, Philip Lüschen suggests the opposite. He unpacks existing practices of “vagueing” and develops new artistic ones, precisely to cultivate more intense visual, tactile, or imaginative confrontations with the city. Methods of vagueing, he suggests, may serve to destabilize our rationalized and habitualized engagements with urban environments. These methods facilitate a tenderization of the petrified décors of public space, and open up direct, embodied confrontations with its architecture, while allowing for new visions, both of the urban landscape and the self.

A parking curb elevates from a chapel’s floor.
A bed of sand awaits its future existence.

Philip Lüschen’s insitu installation as part of the graduation show in the Sint-Joseph’s chapel in Utrecht vagues the hyperfunctionality of the cityscape. Blurring the lines between the everyday and the spiritual, the familiar and the otherworldly, the rational and the supernatural, it asks if the functionalist aesthetics of the built environment leaves any space for the metaphysical.

Artist statement

Philip Lüschen is a visual artist and scenographer. In 2011 he earned a bachelor’s degree at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Recently he graduated from the master’s programme Scenography at HKU Theatre in Utrecht.

Lüschen’s artistic practice investigates ways to destabilize the dominant mechanics of the built environment, or pushes them to their extremes. Through methods of 'vogueing' he explores possibilities for alternative experiences within human-constructed and rigidly-scripted urban environments. His multi-sensorial installations and interventions use photography, film, and scenography to allow embodied confrontations with the urban landscape and to unlock its metaphysical potential.


In the coming five years I would like to dive deeper into the world of urban architecture by doing field research; visiting both newly built cities and companies that deal with public space infrastructure. Through coining the term 'Vagueing' my aim is to start a movement that further explores the possibilities of our engagement with and the construction of the fabric of the cityscape. By joining forces with composers, choreographers and urban planners I hope to have developed insitu and lecture performances that question and explore the possibilities of the dominant mechanics of public space.

Geleerd tijdens de studie

As a participant of the master program scenography I was able to further develop my artistic system and methodology and to position myself in the field of scenography and urban architecture.