Category Archives: territories

Three Presents (with Mattias Kärrholm)

On the multi-temporality of territorial production and the gift from John Soane

Published in Time & Society

ThreePresents

Abstract

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.
Keywords

Territorial Production; Temporality of the Present; Aion, Kronos, Chronos; Collectionism; House-museum

PDF version here

Sir John Soane's Museum, The Dome Area (photograph by courtesy of Jesper Magnusson)
Sir John Soane’s Museum, The Dome Area (photograph by courtesy of Jesper Magnusson)

Social Camouflage: Functions, Logic, Paradoxes (with Alessandro Castelli)

Now published in Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory

Fixing the Shadow / Beyond the Law (1992)
Fixing the Shadow / Beyond the Law (1992)

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

TOC
Introduction
The Functions of Camouflage
The Logic of Camouflage
The Existential Phenomenology of Camouflage
The Paradoxes of Camouflage, or, Learning to Desire
Conclusions

Social Camouflage-FIN+pics

http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/PNcAa3KNVDYUT3yZ6jhR/full  (50 free downloads)

The ground before the battle (con Cristina Mattiucci)

Now published in Massimiliano Guareschi, Federico Rahola, Forme della città. Sociologia dell’urbanizzazione.

photo | mubi

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.

pdf version

Graffiti and Place Value

A speech I’m delivering at: Street Art in the Changing City: Theoretical Perspectives – Moscow, June 7–8, 2013 – http://igiti.hse.ru/en/hsestreetart/announcements/74150089.html

In a sense, both graffiti and street art share humble origins. While the first emerged as an essential expressive form of disadvantaged inner city youth in the late 1960s, the second originated from a more heterogeneous cohort of underground artists who, however, for quite a lapse since the 1970s through the 1990s, remained marginalized in the official art system. Such humble origins were clearly mirrored in the fact that, seen from the outside, early street art entertained only a parasitic relationship to the official cityscape, while graffiti was mostly stigmatized as seen as negatively affecting places (a sign of ‘urban decay’).

Over the last decade, a major counter-trend has made its appearance, whereby street art has moved much closer to the core of the contemporary art system, whereas graffiti has received unprecedented attention from mainstream cultural institutions. Albeit to different extents and not without contradictory or even paradoxical outcomes, both graffiti and street art have been increasingly associated with thrilling lifestyles, urban creativity, fashionable outfits, and hip neighborhoods. A radical transformation has followed concerning the impact these practices have on the value attributed to certain urban places. Rather than value-neutral (invisible) or value-detracting (supravisible) as before, now graffiti and even more pronouncedly street art seem to be value-bestowing (visible). Visibility means they have turned into recognizable and much sought-for items in the urban landscape.

In this context, my aim is to look at recent graffiti and street art events in the context of recent urban transformation. Although such events have popped up almost everywhere in the world, and in the Western countries in particular, I will refer to the case of Italy, where in the last five years I have been collecting a series of detailed field observations. I am puzzling about the social and cultural significance of graffiti and street art in the changing cityscape and the unfolding urban process. By doing so, I am also inquiring into the economic process of place valorization in the current transformations of capitalism. Finally, I am placing these concerns in the framework of the new political processes of disciplination and urban governance.

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Here is the audio record (mp3 version)

Here is also a short interview I’ve released : http://www.hse.ru/en/news/85034010.html