Now out! Available online at
“It is at the frontiers that the companions desert us—that the girl returns to the old country
that we are alone.”
Archibald MacLeish, “Definition of the Frontiers”. From Collected Poems 1917-1982.
Il 3 marzo 2023 h.18:30 a TN faremo una piccola discussione con Emanuela Schir, Roberta Re e Umberto Anesi intorno a margini urbani, aree interne, paesaggio & co.
Happy to be included witha short feature in Coabitare l’isola. Spazio pubblico e cura dei luoghi, Edited by Giorgio Azzoni and Pasquale Campanella (Mimesis, 2022).
« La fulguration est le tremblement de qui désire ou rêve la totalité impossible, ou à venir ; la durée exhorte celui qui tâche à la vivre, quand les histoires conjointes des peuples en dessinent l’aube. »
This year’s edition is themed around nomads, neo-nomads, nomadizing etc.
Hosted exciting lectures by Les Roberts, Tali Hatuka, Alice Brombin and Andrea Pase.
Among other things, I’m still pondering about the work of the great land artist Robert Smithson – http://www.capacitedaffect.net/?p=1490
Animated Lands is a book that encompasses different case studies, but they are all strongly integrated into a single research programme. We got to know each other over a decade ago, and soon started collaborating around our shared interest for understanding social-spatial phenomena. We have since been organising seminars, attending conferences, lecturing together, and paying research visits to each other to bring the project to completion. We have not started from a single theory, a paradigm, or anything of that sort, but mostly from passion, as well as from an expanding curiosity for the topics we were stumbling upon along the way. A number of themes started resonating, took speed, and at some point we felt the book was just ripe.
Over time, we increasingly realised that, in urban and architectural studies, territory – or if you want, more simply, land – was an underrated notion, yet one with a lot of potential. So we picked up an old word, ‘territoriology,’ and tried to use it in a new sense. Seeking to retrieve and revive a science that was born under positivistic auspices, and dealt with politically charged phenomena, we thought that we also needed to warn the reader against the possible regressive uses of these notions, and how easy it is to get trapped into a certain worldview. That’s why we have striven to promote a different take on the life of territories – what they are about, what they accomplish. To counter gloomy and regressive views, we sought to foreground aspects of vitality, spontaneity and unpredictability that are ever-present in territory-making.
We do not have a favourite book in the absolute sense, but there are some books to which it is always a pleasure to return to. One is, inevitably, Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project. It’s a book that’s impossible to read from start to finish, simply because it is itself unfinished, and made only of fragments. Together with all the other urban essays by Benjamin (including masterpieces such as Berlin Childhood around 1900), returning to Arcades never fails to provide fresh inspiration, intuitions and emotions. It’s more than cultural theory and urban history – to our minds it is actually sustained, fully accomplished territoriology.
The list could be quite long! We are constantly looking for inspiration across the domains of literature, philosophy, the humanities, as well as social and life sciences. But for one, Bruce Chatwin’s short-prose collections What Am I Doing Here? and Anatomy of Restlessness are colourful, charming explorations into how territorial life generates its own inherent deterritorialistions. Chatwin’s forays into what he called ‘the nomadic alternative’ encompass, stories, encounters, documentations, self-analyses… ‘Why – he famously asked – do I become restless after a month in a single place, unbearable after two? (I am, I admit, a bad case.)’ Questions like this one are the sort of powerful, provocative questions we like to engage with.
…more territoriology! Animated Lands is, above all, an invitation. Rather than launches and presentations, we envisage to put the book directly to use in practical workshops, where participants could experiment their own way into inquiring territories. Most rewarding for us would be to learn that some other scholars and readers are similarly using our book this way, as a possible blueprint for carrying out further fresh research into the many facets of social-spatial life.
Our new Edited Collection now announced :
Co-organised with Carlo Brentari @unitn.
Andreas Oberprantacher (U of Innsbruck) Political Territories and Borders
Carlo Brentari (U of Trento) Konrad Lorenz e i fondamenti dell’etologia animale
Shelley M. Alexander (U of Calgary, CA) Coyote Territories
Anna Marson (U IUAV di Venezia) Il territorio nella pianificazione
Check out at https://www.combinedacademic.co.uk/
Use discount code: 40GEOG0921
Now out in Territory, Politics, Governance
Animated Lands now out at University of Nebraska Press: https://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/university-of-nebraska-press/9781496213396/
Purchase it here in Europe: https://www.combinedacademic.co.uk/9781496221773/animated-lands/
NOW OUT in Distinktion. Journal of Social Theory – Available at : https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1600910X.2020.1861044
In this piece, we introduce the notion of ‘atmoculture’ as a conceptual tool to analyse the new forms of mobility supported and enacted by digital algorithms. In historical perspective, we analyse how modernity has created a movement-space where the problem of finding one’s way through an increasingly ‘displaced’ urban space first popped up, with noticeable psycho-social consequences. Reconstructing the new digital media as a continuation of this spatial imagination, we seek to zoom in onto the forms of mobility facilitated by digital algorithms. Urban digital navigation, we suggest, proceeds in parallel with a reorientation of the urban experience towards atmospheric considerations, maximising safety and pleasurableness in the user’s encounters with the environment. In this context, atmoculture appears a spatial-aesthetic, psycho-cultural, and bio-technological milieu that prepares space for convenient navigation. We discuss a number of consequences: first the disburdening effect, whereby subjects delegate to a number of perceptions and decisions to algorithms, expropriating the natural problem-solving aspect of subjectivity; second, the invisible transformations of urban space due to the biases and skews that are built in algorithms themselves; third, the tensional, even contradictory outcomes of atmocultural expectations, whereby the goal of a secure and pleasant environmental interaction is undone by the very quantity of information provided and the level of alertness required from the user.
Spatial perception; Urban mobility; New media; Hodology; Urban Navigation; Urban atmospheres; Atmoculture