Prof. Dr. Carolin Höfler

Guest Lecturer(s)

Dr. Meike Eckstein


The learning lab »Learning by Drawing« under the direction of the design researcher Meike Eckstein has set itself the goal of investigating drawing as a specific practice of learning and cognition, according to which bodies of knowledge are not only preserved and conveyed, but experiences and reflections are rearranged. Drawing is defined as an epistemic procedure that participates in the unfolding of objects of knowledge in the act of recording and rearranging. Drawing thus becomes an instrument for specifying, expanding and developing knowledge.

The designer and researcher Dr. Meike Eckstein from the Zurich University of the Arts deals in her work with the origin of drawings. How are they created? Where does what is manifested on paper come from? From the pen, from the hand, from the mind, or are influences from the immediate environment the only ones that matter? What are the sources, reasons, motives that make something appear the way we see it? Based on these questions, Meike Eckstein investigates the impulses of direct drawing that lead to what is depicted. In experiments with herself and others, she confronts herself and the participants at specific locations with written and visual input in order to transform it into pictorial output.

In the Learning Lab »Learning by Drawing«, the participants first define the conditions and rules according to which their drawing forms are to be created in specially written programs. Verbal instructions thus provide the impetus for a chain of events that is independent of the draftsmen. This chain of events is reflected primarily in series, in which each drawing is derived from the previous one in a continuous progression. Variations are thus played out systematically. They arise through the different determination of variables or through the inclusion of random operations. The content and form of a drawing are thus not determined in advance and merely illustrated. Rather, drawings are created successively through rules of action and repeated, rule-controlled overwriting. In this way, signs or contexts of signs become behaving forms that can enter into a relationship with one another. Drawing thus becomes a practice that serves not only to depict but also to produce movements, processes, and sequences. The spectrum of drawings ranges from those that transform spatial processes into two-dimensional forms and textures, to series of drawings that result from a strictly regimented way of working, to series of drawings that are the result of a structured body movement.

»Learning by Drawing« is an event of the »Open Universities« of the TH Köln and the University of Cologne, funded by the RheinEnergie Stiftung in the framework of the focus program »Society and Digital Transformation«. The »Open Universities« ask questions about the future of knowledge in the post-disciplinary age and focus in particular on artistic practices for generating and developing knowledge.

Learning Lab »Learning by Drawing«
17 – 21 April 2023, Köln International School of Design der TH Köln, 10 a.m. – 5. p.m.

Public Exhibition & Discussion
21 April 2023, 11 a.m. , TH Köln, Ubierring 48, Raum 115, 50678 Köln

Dr. Meike Eckstein

Photos and Scans
Meike Eckstein, Carolin Höfler and the participants

Darío Morazán

Inspired by the »Learning by Drawing« lab, participant Darío Morazán further developed his drawing explorations in his Intermediate work and exhibited it in July 2023 at studio 40 in Cologne.

Dr. Meike Eckstein
Meike Eckstein lives in Zurich and works at the Zurich University of the Arts. She studied design in Cologne, Paris and Glasgow and completed her doctorate at the Linz University of Art in 2017. She published the results of her research in the book  Experimente dazu, wie etwas Abgebildetes entsteht. Zeichnen als Erkenntnismittel in der praxisbasierten Forschung (Experiments on How Something Depicted Comes into Being. Drawing as a Means of Knowledge in Practice-Based Research) published by Niggli. http://meikeeckstein.net