Urban Animals—Domestic, Stray, and Wild
Notes from a Bear Repopulation Project in the Alps
by Andrea Mubi Brighenti & Andrea Pavoni
Finally OUT in Society & Animals
Abstract. This piece explores ‘domesticity’ as a social territory defined by the relationship it entertains with the conceptual and material space of ‘the wild’. The leading research question can be framed as follows: do these two spaces stand in opposition to each other, or are more subtle relations of co-implication at play? As we enquiry into the domestic and the wild, a richer conceptual map of notions is drawn, which also includes the public, the common, the civilised and the barbarian. The case study that illustrates this dense intermingling of categories is offered by the case of Daniza, a wild brown bear introduced in the Brenta Natural Park on the Italian Alps in the 2000s, who repeatedly came into unexpected, accidental contacts with humans. Declared a ‘dangerous animal’, Daniza was controversially killed by public authorities in 2014, officially in an attempt to capture her with anaesthetising bullets, but in a way that still leaves doubts about the degree of voluntariness of the killing. The piece argues that the domestic and the wild constitute two semiotic-material domains constantly stretching into each other without any stable or even clear boundary line, and elaborates a series of corollaries for studying animals in urban contexts.
Keywords: Domesticity; Domestication; Wildness; Bears; Urban Animals; Territorial Governance
Introduction – Domesticity as Urban Prolongation
- Animal Governance, Domestication, and Classification
- Locating the Wild in the Urban
- Domesticity, Domestication and Civilisation
- The Unlucky Case of Bear Daniza
- Which Sort of Wild?
- The Barbarian
I’m pleased that my paper “Artveillance: At the Crossroads of Art and Surveillance” (2010) has been reprinted in Surveillance Studies. A Reader Edited by Torin Monahan and David Murakami Wood (Cambridge University Press, 2018)
NOW OUT in TASTE • Law and the Senses book series (Eds. Andrea Pavoni, Danilo Mandic, Caterina Nirta, Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos). London: University of Westminster Press.
Available in Open Access – https://www.uwestminsterpress.co.uk/site/books/10.16997/book21/
Understanding the Animation of Domesticity
Now Published in Space & Culture
Abstract. Domesticity is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon. In this piece, we approach it from the point of view of a general theory of territories. To do so, we attempt to tackle simultaneously the ecological and spiritual dimensions of home by attending the expressive dimension of domesticity. We emphasise that the expressiveness of home inherently includes the register of the familiar as well as that of the unfamiliar (Freud’s unheimlich). The constant negotiations between these two registers can be appreciated as carried out ‘at the limits of control’. To highlight this fact, we focus on the case of the ‘little humans’, miniature humanoid creatures well attested in traditional mythologies and folk tales across different civilisations. Drawing from anthropological and ethnographic literature, yet with a leading interest in social-spatial theorising, we seek to untangle the relations between humans and the ‘little humans’ – these ‘elusive others’ living with us – in order to clarify the deep meanings ingrained in domestic territories.
Keywords: domestic territories; territoriology; little humans; limits of control; parasites; crowds; animism.
Introduction: Inquiring into domestic expressions
The elusive others living with us
Patterns of relations and the limits of control
Abstract. Over the last couple of decades, urban sports have been studied – as well as, in many cases, celebrated – as critical forms of using urban space. Urban climbing, a practice also known as ‘street bouldering’, ‘buildering’, ‘structuring’, and ‘stegophilia’, has been much explored in this vein. While we acknowledge the importance of the theoretical move consisting in bringing to light the political and playful dimensions of the urban spatial experience, in this piece we would like to focus on a slightly different question. Rather than emphasising the political of playful import of urban climbing, we propose a theoretical apprehension of it as a powerful means to probe and understand the finest constitution of urban environments and, more amply, urban morphology. By doing so, we wish, on the one hand, to zoom in as closely as possible onto the actual bodily practice of climbing, and, on the other, to attend its methodological implications in terms of a reflection on bodily techniques in the context of a natural history of the city. We describe urban climbing as a peculiar corporeal operation carried out at and, more precisely, on the limits of environmental control. As a place-maker, the climber inhabits a limit, a plane of contingency whose coordinates lie at some point between the necessary and the arbitrary. In conclusion, the article suggests that, by highlighting the meaning of inhabiting a vertical open space of a peculiar kind, a close-up study of urban climbing might help to develop contemporary urban theory.
Keywords: urban theory; urban climbing; urban environment; inhabiting; bodily urban practice; object/environment relations; compositional techniques
- 1. The universe in a single hold
- 2. Beyond the orthogonal plan: inhabiting verticality
- 3. How to meet Time in time
- 4. The whole wall, all over the city
A seminar at http://resarc.se/courses/index.html, including lecture and workshop with PhD Students
An interview with Tali Hatuka originally published in Hebrew at http://urbanologia.tau.ac.il/human-animal-territories/
TH. So, Andre, can you tell me about your project, about territories and what are the key ideas? I mean how do you address the whole concept of territories? Let’s…you know what, what is “territory” for you?
On the multi-temporality of territorial production and the gift from John Soane
Published in Time & Society
Territoriality has primarily been seen as a spatial rather than temporal phenomenon. In this paper, we want to investigate how time functions in territorialising processes. In particular, we are attracted by the multi-temporality that is co-present in each process of territorialisation (i.e. processes in which time and space are used as means of measure, control, and expression). The article is divided into two main parts. In the first part we draw inspiration from Gilles Deleuze’s book Logic of Sense, as well as from authors such as Simmel, Whitehead, Benjamin and Jesi, in order to articulate three different types of the present (Aion, Kronos and Chronos). In the second part we move to a short case study of the collector John Soane and the establishment of his house-museum. The case is used to exemplify how these three presents can be used to discuss and temporal aspects of territorialisation in general, and the production of a specific sort of territory – the house-museum as a new building type – in particular.
Territorial Production; Temporality of the Present; Aion, Kronos, Chronos; Collectionism; House-museum
Now published in Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory
Abstract. Camouflage is usually understood as a type of deceitful communication
strategy in the animal and human domains. In this piece, we invite scholars to consider how the phenomenon of camouflage, while certainly grounded in antagonism and selection, might exceed its strategic meaning. Using the case of undercover agents movies, we attempt to flesh out the inner logic of camouflage and the type of social-existential situations it gives shape to. Exploring the mundane practical problem of ‘infiltration’ into a social group or social milieu, the article zooms in onto the experience of camouflage and highlights its relatedness to and distinction from imitation. Camouflage is here used not as an overarching interpretive category, rather, as an instance that reveals something about the problems inherent in the constitution of inter-subjective life. The article seeks to contribute to a theoretical development in the study of social logic and social teleology, stressing the curious entanglement of deliberate strategic action and irrational desire that contradistinguishes what could be called the ‘aberrant conjunction’ of the camoufleur and its target. Camouflage, we conclude, is not only about make-believe but also, crucially, about desiring and learning to desire.
Keywords: Mimicry, Camouflage, Undercover movies, Infiltration, Social logic, Social phenomenology, Inter-Subjectivity
The Functions of Camouflage
The Logic of Camouflage
The Existential Phenomenology of Camouflage
The Paradoxes of Camouflage, or, Learning to Desire
http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/PNcAa3KNVDYUT3yZ6jhR/full (50 free downloads)
and here: urban-interstices
Un intervento a Tracce Urbane, con Paolo Boccagni
Sessione 3- Casa e città: pratiche dell’abitare e processi di home-making nella vita quotidiana
Venerdì 11 dicembre 2015, Politecnico di Milano
Now published in Massimiliano Guareschi, Federico Rahola, Forme della città. Sociologia dell’urbanizzazione.
Prima del conflitto, i territori danno segni. Sono segni dei desideri e delle paure condivise, forse anche segni di insorgenze latenti, a venire, sedimentati in quelle che viviamo come “esperienze urbane”. Una pagina nota di Furio Jesi racconta come dʼimprovviso si possa rivivere la città nel giorno della rivolta: i luoghi quotidiani dellʼesperienza vissuta, dove si è baciato per la prima volta lʼamante, divengono ora ricettacoli di una nuova intimità con la dimora misteriosa del collettivo, della politica. “Sono i desideri su vasta scala a fare la storia”, scrive dʼaltra parte anche Don DeLillo in Underworld – ma come si raggiunge questa “vasta scala”? Dove si può sperare di visionare quel repertorio di sogni su piccola scala pronti a traslarsi – per “somma e sublimazione” – in “piani sul pianeta”, come li ha chiamati Guattari, dispositivi o piani dal cui incontro inevitabile viene il conflitto? Incontro inevitabile, perché questi sogni vogliono davvero conquistare la grande scala, scriversi in grande sotto il cielo; conflitto inevitabile, quando on the ground, sul campo, il terreno si fa riarso e polveroso, lʼaria irrespirabile.
Publisher version (OA): https://www.rivisteweb.it/doi/10.2383/77043