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Designing Citizens: City Space, Architecture, Subjectivity

Designing Citizens: City Space, Architecture, Subjectivity

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    Designing citizens Designing citizens Presentation Transcript

    • Designing Citizens: City Space, Architecture, Subjectivity Michael A. Peters University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ART KNOWLEDGE & GLOBALIZATION (Re-imagining the Urban Habitus) RMIT, December, 2008
    • Plotting the Cartography of the Modern Subject • Plotting co-ordinates of meaning, identity and power across the sites of subjectivity, the body and the city • Affirming Aesthetic Modernity: Charles Baudelaire & Walter Benjamin • Place, Being & Anti-modernism: Martin Heidegger & Hannah Arendt • The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: Adorno and Jürgen Habermas • Space, Knowledge & Power: Gaston Bachelard & Michel Foucault • The Social Production of Space: Guy Debord & Henri Lefebvre
    • Baudelaire's flâneur • ‘Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable.’ • A flâneur is ‘gentleman stroller of city streets’ who walks the city in order to experience it • Observer-participant role – ‘a botanist of the sidewalk’ • Baudelaire's aesthetic and critical visions helped open-up the modern city as a space for investigation • Baudelaire as the quintessential poet of urban modernity • Psycho-geography and a poetics of modernity: ‘Baudelaire's flâneur, responding to the bourgeois, capitalist, and technological developments of his time, was a figure in the crowd but not of it.’ • Benjamin used Baudelaire’s flâneur as a starting point and focus for his Arcades Project (1927-40) and the analysis of crowds and modernity. • In The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire ‘Benjamin challenges the image of Baudelaire as late-Romantic dreamer, and evokes instead the modern poet caught in a life-or-death struggle with the forces of the urban commodity capitalism that had emerged in Paris around 1850.’
    • Heidegger on Dwelling & Being • ‘Dwelling, however, is the basic character of Being in keeping with which mortals exist.’ • ‘What if man's homelessness consisted in this, that man still does not even think of the real plight of dwelling as the plight? Yet as soon as man gives thought to his homelessness, it is a misery no longer.’ • Heidegger also argues that, in practical terms, dwelling involves the gathering of the fourfold--the coming together of earth, sky, people, and a sense of spiritual reverence where dwelling is no mere extension of existential space or place but rather the fundamental human activity. • Heidegger’s anti-modernism expressed as a legacy of Catholic anti- modernism and German Romanticism that legitimates a singularity of place in terms of care and existential priority that supports the ideal of a pure (cultural-national) home of the self and seat of belonging echoed in the purity of the German tongue, language as the house of Being, and its unbroken lineage with Greek ideals. Source: Heidegger, Martin, “Building, Dwelling, Thinking,” in Basic Writings¸ trans. and ed. David Krell. New York City: Harper and Row, 1977.
    • Arendt, Public Life and the Agora • “The polis, properly speaking, is not the city-state in its physical location; it is the organization of the people as it arises out of acting and speaking together, and its true space lies between people living together for this purpose, no matter where they happen to be” (HC, 198). • ‘For Arendt modernity is characterized by the loss of the world, by which she means the restriction or elimination of the public sphere of action and speech in favor of the private world of introspection and the private pursuit of economic interests.’
    • Bachelard & The Poetics of Space • ‘A house that has been experienced is not an inert box. Inhabited space transcends geometrical space.’ • Bachelard applies phenomenology to an analysis of intimate space of architecture basing his analysis not on purported origins but on lived experience. • Source: Bachelard, Gaston, The Poetics of Space, trans. Maria Jolas. Boston: Beacon Press, 1996. Orig. 1958
    • Foucault: Space, Knowledge and Power • The great obsession of the nineteenth century was, as we know, history: with its themes of development and of suspension, of crisis, and cycle, themes of the ever-accumulating past, with its preponderance of dead men … the present epoch will perhaps be above all the epoch of space. We are in the epoch of simultaneity: we are in the epoch of juxtaposition, the epoch of the near and far, of the side-by-side, of the dispersed. We are at a moment, I believe, when our experience of the world is less that of a long life developing through time than that of a network that connects points and intersects with its own skein. (Foucault 1986, 22)
    • Michael Foucault – ‘Of Other Spaces’ (1967) • ‘The present epoch will perhaps be above all the epoch of space. We are in the epoch of simultaneity: we are in the epoch of juxtaposition, the epoch of the near and far, of the side-by-side, of the dispersed. We are at a moment. I believe, when our experience of the world is less that of a long life developing through time than that of a network that connects points and intersects with its own skein.’
    • Guy Debord and the Situationists • avante-garde artists and intellectuals influenced by Dada, Surrealism and Lettrism • The post-war Lettrist International sought to fuse poetry and music and transform the urban landscape • Inspired by Socialisme on Barbarie Situationiste Internationale established in 1957 (‘Never work!’) • decategorize art and culture & to transform them into part of everyday • Society of the Spectacle - class struggle to reclaim individual autonomy from the spectacle
    • Henri Lefebvre on the Situationist International (1997) • It started with the COBRA group (Dutch architecture Constant Nieuwenhuys & Asper Jorn) – ‘renewal of the action of art on life’ • ‘to create an architecture that would itself instigate the creation of new situations’ (For an Architecture of Situation, 1953) • Inspired by Critique of Everyday Life (1974) • ‘What art, what form of thinking could assume the function of an avant-garde…?’ (Introduction to Modernity) • http://www.notbored.org/lefebvre-interview.html
    • Henri Lefebvre & The Production of Space (1974, trans. 1991) • A project to ‘divert’ the totality of capitalist space • Centrality of ‘spatial practice’ • ‘With the advent of modernity time has vanished from social space. It is recorded solely on measuring-instruments, on clocks, that are isolated and functionally specialized as this time itself. Lived time loses its form and its social interest -- with the exception, that is, of time spent working. Economic space subordinates time to itself; political space expels it as threatening and dangerous (to power). The primacy of the economic and above all of the political implies the supremacy of space over time.’ • ‘Social space is a social product - the space produced in a certain manner serves as a tool of thought and action. It is not only a means of production but also a means of control, and hence of domination/power.’
    • Designing Cities/Designing Citizens • Every society and therefore every mode of production produces a certain space, its own space. The city of the ancient world cannot be understood as a simple agglomeration of people and things in space - it had its own spatial practice, making its own space
    • Kamiros Houses, streets, temples, and agora
    • Classical Greek Town
    • Prehistorical site; inhabited until 4th century
    • Architecture, Space, Subjectivity Tholos of Olympia – Philippeion 338 BC
    • Korinth Temple of Apollo, 550BC
    • Technē • Heidegger suggests that technē is a mode of knowing that consists in aletheia, a bringing forth of being out of concealedness. • He establishes a series of meaningful relationships between technology, subjectivity, dwelling (architecture) and space • Foucault coins the term ‘technologies of the self’  ‘gender technologies of the self’
    • Spatial Technologies • Classical Greek society and the invention of technologies of space and new subjectivities: celestial spaces; private spaces; public spaces; space of theatre, of worship, of burial, of democracy, of commerce. • new spatialization of knowledge and the self through pervasive networks, including the Internet
    • Polis (city-state) • its small size allowed for experiment in its political structure • Oligrachies replaced by democracy in 6th century – ‘rule by demos’ (people) free males citizens • Citizenship determined by descent (based on kinship tribal organization) but allowed for naturalization • "it is necessary for the citizens to be of such a number that they knew each other's personal qualities and thus can elect their officials and judge their fellows in a court of law sensibly" (Aristotle, Politics) • Plato fixed the number of citizens in an ideal state at 5040 adult males.
    • Public-Private • Agora (marketplace) became the heart of Greek intellectual life and discourse • Not two distinct worlds in the lives of the citizenry • All citizens were intimately and directly involved in politics, justice, military service, religious ceremonies, intellectual discussion, athletics and artistic pursuits • Greek citizens did not have rights, but duties.
    • The Agora • The Agora in ancient Greek cities was an open space that served as a meeting ground for various activities of the citizens. • The name, first found in the works of Homer, connotes both the assembly of the people as well as the physical setting; it was applied by the classical Greeks of the 5th century BC to what they regarded as a typical feature of their life: their daily religious, political, judicial, social, and commercial activity. • The agora was located either in the middle of the city or near the harbour, which was surrounded by public buildings and by temples. • Colonnades, sometimes containing shops, or stoae, often enclosed the space, and statues, altars, trees, and fountains adorned it. The general trend at this time was to isolate the agora from the rest of the town. • archaic and Ionic agora – square or rectangle that influenced the Roman forum - a specific, regular, open area surrounded by planned architecture. • The use of the agora varied at different periods. Even in classical times the space did not always remain the place for popular assemblies. • A distinction was maintained between commercial and ceremonial agoras • The agora also served for theatrical and gymnastic performances until special buildings and spaces were reserved for these purposes. • http://history-world.org/agora.htm
    • Ancient triptych of space & subjectivity • Ekklesia (assembly) public • Agora (market place) public/private • Oikos (household) private
    • Bauman on agora • ‘The distinction between private and public spheres is of ancient origin; it goes back to the Greek oikos, the household, and ekklesia, the site of politics, where matters affecting all members of the polis are tackled and settled. But between oikos and ekklesia the Greeks situated one more sphere, that of communication between the two; the sphere whose major role was not keeping the private and the public apart and guarding the territorial integrity of each, but assuring a smooth and constant traffic between them. That third and intermediate sphere, the agora (the private/public sphere ...), bound the two extremes and held them together. Its role was crucial for the maintenance of a truly autonomous polis resting on the true autonomy of its members. Without it, neither the polis nor its members could gain, let alone retain, their freedom to decide the meaning of their common good and what was to be done to attain it.’ (p. 87) • Bauman (1999) In Search of Politics. Cambridge: Polity Press.
    • The Beleaguered Agora • The agora is central to the sustainability of democratic politics • But it is open to attack on two fronts • ‘the long story of the war of attrition launched against the agora from the side of ekklesia’, p. 96 - totalitarian tendencies implicit in the ‘modern project’ • the increasingly privatised sites of human experience (oikos), which constitutes the current threat to democracy
    • Rebuilding the Agora • ‘And the first step to be taken once the reorientation takes place is rebuilding the agora to make it fit the task ... To make the agora fit for autonomous individuals and autonomous society, one needs to arrest, simultaneously, its privatisation and its depoliticisation. One needs to restart (in the agora, not in philosophy seminars) the interrupted discourse of the common good – which renders individual autonomy both feasible and worth struggling for.’ • Bauman, (1999, p. 107)
    • Participation • Both Aristotle and Plato describe the ideal of citizenship in terms of participation. A citizen is one who belongs to and in the community. The concept of community is one of shared location, values, language, and activities. Since citizen participation takes place within the broader community, it takes place in an atmosphere which enhances the possibility of successful communication, negotiations, and collective action.
    • Institutionalization of philosophy • The execution of Socrates signalled a radical break between the philosopher andhis community. Having realized that the open teaching of philosophy on the streets and squares of Athens was no longer possible, Socrates' pupil Plato turned his back on city-state politics; his founding of the Academy, an autonomous community of philosophers isolated from the larger community of Athenian citizens, meant that, for the first time in the ancient world, philosophy was institutionalized as an autonomous sphere having nothing to do with the world of political action in which every citizen of the Greek city-state had until then been involved.
    • Aristotle and The Good Life • ‘Since we see that every city-state is a sort of community and that every community is established for the sake of some good (for everyone does everything for the sake of what they believe to be good), it is clear that every community aims at some good, and the community which has the most authority of all and includes all the others aims highest, that is, at the good with the most authority. This is what is called the city-state or political community.’ [I.1.1252a1-7] • He defines the citizen as a person who has the right (exousia) to participate in deliberative or judicial office (1275b18-21).
    • Edutopologies 1. Textual spaces/ spaces of representation (Literary Studies) 2. Embodied and gendered spaces – spaces of identity (Philosophy; Feminism; Anthropology) 3. Institutional and dwelling spaces (Architecture) 4. The city, the region, the country (Geography; Urban Planning) 5. Globalization and transnational spaces (Economics; Cultural Studies) 6. Spaces of history – colonial spaces (History) 7. Imaginary spaces (Utopian Studies) 8. Topological spaces (Discrete Mathematics) 9. The space of migrations, diasporas, flows (Migration studies) 10. The technologies of networked spaces (Information studies)