le monde qui n’a pas été créé une fois

“Les gens de goût nous disent aujourd’hui que Renoir est un grand peintre du XVIIIe siècle. Mais en disant cela ils oublient le Temps et qu’il en a fallu beaucoup, même en plein XIXe, pour que Renoir fût salué grand artiste. Pour réussir à être ainsi reconnus, le peintre original, l’artiste original procèdent à la façon des oculistes. Le traitement par leur peinture, par leur prose, n’est pas toujours agréable. Quand il est terminé, le praticien nous dit : « Maintenant regardez. » Et voici que le monde (qui n’a pas été créé une fois, mais aussi souvent qu’un artiste original est survenu) nous apparaît entièrement différent de l’ancien, mais parfaitement clair. Des femmes passent dans la rue, différentes de celles d’autrefois, puisque ce sont des Renoir, ces Renoir où nous nous refusions jadis à voir des femmes. Les voitures aussi sont des Renoir, et l’eau, et le ciel : nous avons envie de nous promener dans la forêt pareille à celle qui le premier jour nous semblait tout excepté une forêt, et par exemple une tapisserie aux nuances nombreuses mais où manquaient justement les nuances propres aux forêts. Tel est l’univers nouveau et périssable qui vient d’être créé. Il durera jusqu’à la prochaine catastrophe géologique que déchaîneront un nouveau peintre ou un nouvel écrivain originaux.”

Marcel Proust, A la recherche du temps perdu

Ici encore

« Ici encore la vérité doit pourrir, et quoi de plus exaltant ? Même si je la souhaite, qu’ai-je à faire d’une vérité qui ne doive pas pourrir ? »

Albert Camus


Animated Lands – Q&A

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.


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

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