Animated Lands – Q&A

https://www.combinedacademic.co.uk/blog/2022/03/07/andrea-mubi-brighenti-and-mattias-karrholm-animated-lands/
How did your book come together?

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.

What’s the central claim?

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.

What is your favorite book? Why?

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.

What book would you recommend right now?

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.

What’s next?

…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.

 

The New Politics of Visibility — Edited Collection

UPDATE: Now on GoogleBooks – Preview of Introduction is available : https://www.google.it/books/edition/The_New_Politics_of_Visibility/_b_3zgEACAAJ

 

We’re at proofs stage. Due out later this year.

frontispiece

Table of Contents

Introduction: Issues in the Visible
Andrea Mubi Brighenti

1. The Political Geometries of Visibility: Ranks of Seeing in the Digital Age
Tali Hatuka

2. Coded Visions: Datafied Visibilities and the Production of Political Futures
Mikkel Flyverbom and Frederik Schade

3. Urban Information Environmentalism
Malcolm McCullough

4. Mediated Visibility and Recognition: A Taxonomy
João C. Magalhães and Jun Yu

5. The Democratization of Visibility Capital: Face in the Age of Its Automated Technical Reproducibility
Nathalie Heinich

6. Rewilding the City: Urban Life and Resistance across and beyond Visibility
AbdouMaliq Simone and Morten Nielsen

7. Strategies and Tactics of Visibility: The Micro- Politics of Vulnerable Migrant Groups during the Pandemic in Brussels
Mattias De Backer

8. Reframing Marginality in Trans Politics: Towards an Ethics of Differentiation
Caterina Nirta

9. Open Science as an Engine of Anxiety: How Scientists Promote and Defend the Visibility of Their Digital Selves, While Becoming Fatalistic about Academic Careers
Martin Reinhart

 

Imitation, metamorphosis, becoming: A comparative social-theoretical sketch

Happy to join Nidesh Lawtoo’s Mimetic Turn upcoming conference. Especially looking forward to hearing from the distinguished keynotes. On my turn, I’ll be contributing some reflections about

Imitation, metamorphosis, becoming: A comparative social-theoretical sketch

Abstract. In my talk, I would like to address the relation between three notions that share significant similarities, but also exhibit crucial differences: these are Gabriel Tarde’s imitation, Elias Canetti’s transformation (Verwandlung), and Gilles Deleuze’s becoming (devenir). Tarde, whose work spanned the 1890s, is famously associated with the idea that social life is essentially imitative in nature, and although imitation does not truly exhaust his whole conception, it is amply elaborated and variously illustrated throughout his work. Both Canetti, writing in the 1950s, and Deleuze, through the 1960s and 1970s, seem to have subsequently deployed mimetic-like notions in their respective research; at the same time, both have been careful to remark how their conceptions remained distinct from the notion of imitative behaviour. My aim here is thus to compare and analyse these three notions, so as to untangle a little bit their complex, dense relations.

 

+info | https://hiw.kuleuven.be/hua/events/conferences-workshops/mimetic-turn

Video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dXJ_Lj9Umg

New Territoriology Seminar – Fall 2021

Co-organised with Carlo Brentari @unitn.

21/10/2021 h.15-18
Andreas Oberprantacher (U of Innsbruck) Political Territories and Borders

26/10/2021 h.15-18
Carlo Brentari (U of Trento) Konrad Lorenz e i fondamenti dell’etologia animale

04/11/2021 h.17-20
Shelley M. Alexander (U of Calgary, CA) Coyote Territories

11/11/2021 h.15-18
Anna Marson (U IUAV di Venezia) Il territorio nella pianificazione

 

Flyer with details here

 

RESEARCHING TERRITORIES IN PANDEMIC TIMES

An online seminar

24TH OF JUNE, 3PM LISBON TIME

2021-06-24-seminar

2021-06-24-seminar_flyer

Researching Territories in Pandemic Times

June 24, 2021

h.15:00 (Lisbon time)

 

The Urban Transitions Hub of ICS-ULisboa and DINÂMIA’CET – ISCTE organise an online seminar on the changing shape of Territories and Territoriality within and beyond the current condition, with the authors of recently published book Animated Lands. Studies in Territoriology (University of Nebraska Press)

 

Coordination: Andrea Pavoni (DINÂMIA’CET – ISCTE; Urban Transitions Hub)

 

ZOOMDETAILS

MEETING ID: 85795819829

PASSWORD: 987773

 

Animated Lands. Studies in Territoriology introduces us to a science and topology of territory which seeks to rethink the concept of territory away from its historical fetishisation as mere space, tracing a trajectory which is also different from contemporary directions in geographical thinking wherein territory is assumed as an inert, static and merely extensive domain. Instead, with speculative craft and ingenious examples, Andrea Mubi Brighenti and Mattias Kärrholm foreground an understanding of territory that is able to account for its intensive, animated and becoming nature. This seminar aims to discuss the premises of the book within and beyond the current pandemic condition.

 

Speakers:

  • Andrea Mubi Brighenti (University of Trento)
  • Mattias Kärrholm (Lund University)

 

Discussants:

  • Andrea Pavoni (DINÂMIA’CET – ISCTE; Urban Transitions Hub)
  • Francisco Klauser (University of Neuchâtel)

 

Mimicry: Understanding a social-natural phenomenon

An online seminar series co-organised with Carlo Brentari. Contact me to get the link for joining the seminar!

mimicry2021seminar

h.15-17 on

April 8 Carlo Brentari & Andrea Mubi Brighenti (Unitn, organisers) – Introduction & Glossary
April 15 Timo Maran (University of Tartu) – Biomimicry
April 22 Christian Borch (Copenhagen Business School)– Mimesis and Society
April 29 Petra Gruber (University of Akron) – Biomimesis and Biornametics in Architecture

 

Deligny's Lignes d'erre

On Urban Trajectology. Algorithmic Mobilities and Atmocultural Navigation (with Andrea Pavoni)

NOW OUT in Distinktion. Journal of Social Theory – Available at : https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1600910X.2020.1861044

Abstract

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.

 

Keywords

Spatial perception; Urban mobility; New media; Hodology; Urban Navigation; Urban atmospheres; Atmoculture

 

pdf version

 

Still from Harun Farocki : Computer Animation Rules, Lecture at IKKM, 25 June 2014, available at https://vimeo.com/100092938

Vertical Vision and Atmocultural Navigation. Notes on emerging Urban Scopic Regimes (with Andrea Pavoni)

Still from Harun Farocki : Computer Animation Rules, Lecture at IKKM, 25 June 2014, available at https://vimeo.com/100092938

 

NOW OUT in Visual Studies : https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1472586X.2020.1840089

 

Abstract. This paper analyses vertical vision by tracing its possible genealogy and exploring the forms it takes in the contemporary city. In the first section, vertical vision is situated in the context of its cosmographic tenets. In the second section, the critique of verticality is complemented by a topological approach where vertical vision can be seen folding into a novel visual grammar. The lineaments of this grammar can be retrieved by attending specifically to algorithms and their role in contemporary urban perception, which we discuss in the third section. The fourth section implements the suggestions of two artists: Harun Farocki’s notion of navigation, and Hito Steyerl’s notion of bubble vision. Exposing the central role played by digital platforms in ushering in this novel paradigm, bubble vision can be reconstructed as the logical end-point of classical vertical vision. This comes in conjunction with the rise of peculiar visual-cultural configuration, which could be called ‘atmoculture’. Section five submits that atmoculture represents the cultural milieu of bubble vision. In conclusion, the paper invites visual scholars interested in the study of verticality to recognise bubble vision, together with its atmocultural background, as a new expression, and a reconfiguration, of vertical vision: similarly centred and disembodied, exhilarating, and dangerously de-responsibilising.

pdf version

 

screen-shot-2019-05-27-at-07-30-05

Urban Phases: Crystallisation

Paper at TCS Philosophy & Literature Conference 2019, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Austria, May 29th – June 2nd, 2019

Now published in City, Culture and Society

 

Abstract

An analysis of the city through its crystallising processes is here proposed. Because crystallisation involves phase transition, a review of the latter, as well of the notion of phase in its relation to order, is first submitted. Then the question is posed: Can we suggest that cities have phases? What would it imply to study cities as “phased beings”, or phased phenomena? Which characteristics of crystalline phases can prove most relevant for cities? The paper explores crystallisation as a lens for understanding spatial order, temporality, individuality and perception in the course, and in the context, of the urban process and urban life.

 

Keywords

Urban phases; Urban crystallisation; Crystal growth; Crystalline life; Crystallised cities; Urban perception;  Urban individuality

 

 

 Conference website

Conference programme

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a mubi site