Category Archives: rhythms

Deligny's Lignes d'erre

Beyond rhythmanalysis: towards a territoriology of rhythms and melodies in everyday spatial activities (with Mattias Kärrholm)


Abstract: The recent, rich scholarship on rhythms, following in the wake of Lefebvre’s book Éléments de rythmanalyse (1992), proves that rhythmanalysis is an important sensitising notion and research technique. Despite its increasing recognition, however, rhythmanalysis has not yet become a proper science as its proponents had hoped. In this article, we argue that rhythmanalysis could benefit from being further developed and integrated into a wider science of territories. What research must attain is, we suggest, not simply a recording, description or analysis of rhythms; instead, the goal is to capture the life of rhythms as they enter territorial formations. A neo-vitalistic conception, in other words, could enrich the standard social-scientific understanding of the relation between rhythms and territories. More specifically, we submit that the notion of rhythm could be explored not only in terms of the recurrent patterns of association it defines, but also with essential reference to the intensive situations and moments it generates and, in the end, territorialises.
Keywords: Social rhythms, Rhythmanalysis, Synchronisation, Science of territories, Territorial intensities

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Courtesy Atelier delle Verdure– Il Malerbario @ 2009

The Vegetative City

Courtesy Atelier delle Verdure– Il Malerbario @ 2009
Courtesy Atelier delle Verdure– Il Malerbario @ 2009


The vegetative stratum is a layer of existence that is inherent not only in plants. Here, I propose to look at how vegetative life – or, the vegetative mode of existence – affects cities. The vegetative mode of existence is not focused on activities, routines, achievements. Here appears a city that is not industrial or industrious. When the industrious city retreats, or falls apart, the vegetative stratum becomes visible. The vegetative city is a city without any central nervous system. I suggest the interpretation of the vegetative city as a hopeful manifestation of the urban that only takes place when the time is ripe.

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City of Unpleasant Feelings – Stress, Comfort and Animosity in Urban Life (with Andrea Pavoni)

Now out in Social & Cultural Geography

Abstract. The image of the city as a stressful place is an evergreen topic. In this article we review the imagination of urban stress, starting from Simmel’s classic thesis that the modern city is an unavoidably psychic-stimulating environment potentially leading to stimuli overload. City dwellers are then supposed to counter stimuli overload with a series of adaptation strategies. However, the ways in which these phenomena can be conceptualised are varied. Historically, a shift of emphasis seems to have occurred from the classic conceptualisation of hyperaesthesia to the contemporary preoccupations with the design of comfortable atmospheres. Such atmospheres are, in fact, comfort bubbles. In the article we tackle the aspirations and predicaments of such engineered atmospheres. In particular, we build on Sloterdijk’s argument that, ultimately, bubbles fail to do away with stress: whereas for Simmel stress anaesthetised urbanites, Sloterdijk has pointed out that, rather, comfort itself stresses them. To better tackle the magmatic stratum of dissatisfaction that seems so coessential to urban life, in the final part of the article we focus on the notion of animosity. We suggest to conceptualise it as a type of disquiet that cannot be reduced to established recognisable interaction formats.

Keywords: Urban Stress; Urban Feelings; Urban Atmospheres; Atmospheric Engineering; Animosity

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Three Presents (with Mattias Kärrholm)

On the multi-temporality of territorial production and the gift from John Soane

Published in Time & Society



Territoriality has primarily been seen as a spatial rather than temporal phenomenon. In this paper, we want to investigate how time functions in territorialising processes. In particular, we are attracted by the multi-temporality that is co-present in each process of territorialisation (i.e. processes in which time and space are used as means of measure, control, and expression). The article is divided into two main parts. In the first part we draw inspiration from Gilles Deleuze’s book Logic of Sense, as well as from authors such as Simmel, Whitehead, Benjamin and Jesi, in order to articulate three different types of the present (Aion, Kronos and Chronos). In the second part we move to a short case study of the collector John Soane and the establishment of his house-museum. The case is used to exemplify how these three presents can be used to discuss and temporal aspects of territorialisation in general, and the production of a specific sort of territory – the house-museum as a new building type – in particular.

Territorial Production; Temporality of the Present; Aion, Kronos, Chronos; Collectionism; House-museum

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Sir John Soane's Museum, The Dome Area (photograph by courtesy of Jesper Magnusson)
Sir John Soane’s Museum, The Dome Area (photograph by courtesy of Jesper Magnusson)

Logistic time / evental time. Two notions for urban and architectural research

phoca_thumb_l_storica_tracce2_cernLecture at the Seminar ‘Architecture: enduring, ephemeral, moving, dust’

Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Lunds Tekniska Högskola, Lund University, December 2, 2014



In this lecture, I would like to imagine some ways in which we may study temporality in the city and the built environment. In the first part, I present a theorization of time that draws from the lineage Bergson-Deleuze. I explore in some details the notion of ‘the instant’ as it appears in Deleuze’s The Logic of Sense (1969), and how this notion relates to two distinct images of time, namely aiòn and chronos. Subsequently, I would like to puzzle about how these philosophical images could be productively employed to examine urban spacestimes, rhythms and territories on the making. To this aim, I resort to the ‘tensed entwinement’ of logistics and the event. Logistics, which is originally a military art, concerns the calculated dispatching and delivering of goods to the right place at the right time. As such, it is part of a broader attempt at governing flows in the city. Thus, the interpretive framework in which I would suggest to place logistics is Foucault’s notion of ‘liberal governmentality’, as elaborated in particular in The birth of biopolitics (1979). On the other hand, Foucault’s analysis of freedom as a governmental notion also introduced the notion of ‘possible event’ as a phenomenon and object to be incorporated into a distinctive calculation. My argument is that an unresolved tension remains between logistic calculation and the event. Different images of time may help us to capture what is at stake here. The third and conclusive part of the lecture will consist in setting up a series of open questions which could potentially outline a research agenda for urban and architectural research aiming at bringing temporality into the focus of spatial analysis.