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.