“He who has attained to only some degree of freedom of mind cannot feel other than a wanderer on the earth – though not as a traveller to a final destination: for this destination does not exist. But he will watch and observe and keep his eyes open to see what is really going on in the world; for this reason he may not let his heart adhere too firmly to any individual thing; within him too there must be something wandering that takes pleasure in change and transience. Such a man will, to be sure, experience bad nights, when he is tired and finds the gate of the town that should offer him rest closed against him; perhaps in addition the desert will, as in the Orient, reach right up to the gate, beasts of prey howl now farther off, now closer to, a strong wind arise, robbers depart with his beasts of burden. Then dreadful night may sink down upon the desert like a second desert, and his heart grow weary of wandering. When the morning sun then rises, burning like a god of wrath, and the gate of the town opens to him, perhaps he will behold in the faces of those who dwell there even more desert, dirt, deception, insecurity than lie outside the gate – and the day will be almost worse than the night. Thus it may be that the wanderer shall fare; but then, as recompense, there will come the joyful mornings of other days and climes, when he shall see, even before the light has broken, the Muses come dancing by him in the mist of the mountains, when afterwards, if he relaxes quietly beneath the trees in the equanimity of his soul at morning, good and bright things will be thrown down to him from their tops and leafy hiding-places, the gifts of all those free spirits who are at home in mountain, wood and solitude and who, like him, are, in their now joyful, now thoughtful way, wanderers and philosophers. Born out of the mysteries of dawn, they ponder on how, between the tenth and the twelfth stroke of the clock, the day could present a face so pure, so light-filled, so cheerful and transfigured: – they seek the philosophy of the morning.”
Nietzsche, Human, All too Human (I, §638)
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.