Exploration MSS3 Fall 2021

Disappearing Site

Translating the fairy tale

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

The Neverending story written by Michael Ende is a fantasy novel published in 1979. The story is about a shy and insecure child named Bastian Balthazar Bux who one day runs into an old bookshop whilst hiding from his bullies. In there he is drawn to a peculiar book which he ends up stealing and bringing with him to his school’s attic. There he makes camp on some old gym mats and starts to read the book which is called The Neverending story. From there on he embarks on a wild adventure when he enters the magical world of Fantastica, a doomed land filled with dragons, giants, and monsters, and risks his life to save Fantastica by going on a very dangerous quest.

The Neverending Story has a highly allegorical function where the adventures, the characters and the landscapes the protagonist(s) go through link the tension between everyday reality and the magical and fantastic with psychological and philosophical problem constellations. The tensions between lies, moral decadence and truth, delusion and seeing, everyday banality and miracles, illness and vitality, life and death are depicted.

In my analysis of the fairy tale I identified three central themes. Which are 1) Infinity or the cycle of life and destruction, 2) The dualism of the human and the fantasy world and 3) The nothing or nihilism of the human world. The diagram below gives and overview of the fairy tales structure:


Creating the image

In my process of exploring how a fairy tale can be conveyed in a series of architectural images I’ve taken inspiration from professions who are used to working with a written script and turning it into a design such as production designers, cinematographers and scenographers. In the image below I describe and give an overview over how I’ve adapted the working process from production design and scenography to my project.


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