Thursday, 8 September 2016

This lecture is based on an earlier version of the same, with slight modifications and updates. I will still concentrate on works that see the city and the urban as the human form of life, a thing and dimension simultaneously material and meaningful, produced by human beings at the level of everyday practices, and, producing us as human beings. I'll look at few basic and fundamental themes. All main references can be found here in this blog.

Form-of-life is life from which you cannot isolate an abstract naked life. It is life that is bound up necessarily with the concrete forms that life takes.
Giorgio Agamben, Form-of-Life.

What is space?

Gordon Matta-Clark: Building cut 1970ies
Gaza 2015
Markus Kåhre: "Nimetön" 1996
Eyal Weizman: Walking through Walls

“This space that you look at, this room that you look at, is nothing but your interpretation of it. Now, you can stretch the boundaries of your interpretation, but not in an unlimited fashion, after all, it must be bound by physics, as it contains buildings and alleys. The question is: how do you interpret the alley? Do you interpret the alley as a place, like every architect and every town planner does, to walk through, or do you interpret the alley as a place forbidden to walk through? This depends only on interpretation. … Urban warfare increasingly depends on technologies developed for the purpose of “un-walling of the wall,” to borrow a term from Gordon Matta-Clark."
Eyal Weizman, Walking Through Walls

“The very order of the city relies thus on the fantasy of a wall as stable, solid and fixed. Indeed, architectural discourse tends to otherwise see walls as architecture’s irreducible givens. … New technologies … thus address not only the materiality of the wall, but also its very concept. Wit the wall no longer physically or conceptually solid or legally impenetrable, the functional space syntax that it created – the separation between inside and outside, private and public – collapses.” Eyal Weizman, Walking Through Walls

Space and Power

Claude Levi-Strauss: The Bororo village
Stefano Boeri & Multiplicity: Road Map 2003
Halil Altindere ‘Homeland’, 2016 (Lyrics by Mohammad Abu Hajar) Berlin Biennal 2016

“My research focuses on the techniques of power, on the technology of power. It consists of studying how power is being used and how power makes its objects obey.”
"Discipline is an art of rank, a technique for the transformation of arrangements. It individualizes bodies by a location that does not give them a fixed position, but distributes and circulates them in a network of relations." Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish

“… we see the emergence of a completely different problem that is no longer that of fixing and demarcating the territory, but of allowing circulations to take place, of controlling them, sifting the good and the bad, ensuring things are always in movement, constantly moving around, continually going from one point to another, but in such a way that the inherent dangers of this circulation are canceled out.”
Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population.

Making Space

Anri Sala: Dammi i colori 2003
Anne Salmela & Anna Tuominen: Valolinna 2014
Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Untitled. Portrait of Ross in LA 1991
Denise Ziegler: Konsertti laaksolle 2001

“Resistance comes first, and resistance remains superior to the forces of the process; power relations are obliged to change with the resistance.”
Michel Foucault: Sex, Power and the Politics of Identity    
“To a rationalized, expansionist and at the same time centralized, clamorous and spectacular production corresponds another production, called “consumption”. The latter is devious, it is dispersed, but insinuates itself everywhere, silently and almost invisibly, because it does not manifest itself through its own products, but rather through its ways of using the products imposed by a dominant economic order." Michel De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday 

"A REVOLUTIONARY ACTION within culture must aim to enlarge life, not merely to express or explain it. It must attack misery on every front." Guy Debord, Report on the Construction of Situations etc.