Newhierarchies intro


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Newhierarchies intro

  1. 1. New HierarchiesThe ascendance of information industries and the growth of a global economy are inextricably linked, and havecontributed to what Saskia Sassen calls: a new geography of centres and margins (The global city: strategic site/newfrontier, 2000). This means that former structures of economical or political hegemony have radically changed (and arestill changing rapidly) with the consequence of a displacement (in economical sense), in both geographical significance ofcities and places, and in the valuation of different kind of labour: Financial services produce superprofits while industrialservices barely survive.Beside the obvious impact of globalization, there is an equally obvious inconsistency between everyday life and theperformance of individual spatial practices, and the way the formal society is organised and governed. Politics, laws andplanning – and even partly the global economical systems (the colonization effect on places and societies), appearsessentially hierarchical, and perform linear authority, which in many cases has as consequence limitation, stagnation andregression. Beside the governing systems of order, bureaucracy and linearity, there are infinite parallel systems of otherformal and informal networks, knowledge and ‘weak’ voices not so easily observed and recognised.The complexity of this everyday reality presuppose new and experimental strategies and ideas for seeing, observation,participation and mapping of what ever is relevant for the plans we are making, and the societies we are planning for – itis a question of concern, like the title of Bruno Latour’s essay suggests, a transition From Matters of Fact to Matters ofConcern, (Critical Inquiry, 2004).The latest year’s events and revolutionary rebellions in the Middle East show indeed examples of how weak connectionsand loosely organized voices can interconnect into strong movements that are able to turn inherited hierarchicalstructures of power upside down, and also institute new systems of organization. Not all changes have the character ofa violent revolution concerning time and drama, but any shift in a hierarchical system has the ultimate consequence ofchanging basic living conditions – either it are shifts in natural systems or in social structures.Through the concept of rhizome lies the ultimate metamorphosis of a hierarchical system, as by Gilles Deleuze and FélixGuattari termed as a tree structure: unlike the trees or their roots, the rhizome connects any point to any other point,and its traits are not necessarily linked to traits of the same nature; it brings into play very different regimes of signs, andeven non sign states. (…) Unlike the graphic arts, drawing, or photography, unlike tracings, the rhizome pertains to amap that must be produced, constructed, a map that is always detachable, connectable, reversible, modifiable, and hasmultiple entryways and exits and its own lines of flight. (Rhizome, A Thousand Plateaus, 1980) Through rhizome thinking,hierarchical systems will no longer be valid, and new ideas of validation, new encounters and new priorities will becomerelevant.By working within the hierarchical planning system, but at the same time continuously develop the weak networksoutside the system, elastic but continuously more robust rhizome structures will grow. The plan will not be enclosedand conclude fixed images but work along a Deleuze/Guattarian ‘lines of flight’ model. Doina Petrescu (Losing control,keeping desire, Architecture and participation, 2004) describes; Guattari and Deleuze’s ‘lines’ challenge the usualdesigner thinking about ‘lines’. They are an abstract and complex enough metaphor to map the entire social field, to traceits shapes, its borders, its becomings. They can map the way ‘life always proceeds at several rhythms and at severalspeeds’. They map individual cracks and collective breakswithin the segmentation and heterogeneity of power.The ‘line of flight’, ligne de fuite, is defined not only as asimple line, but as the very force of a tangle of lines flungout, transgressing thresholds of established norms andconventions, towards unexpected manifestations, bothin terms of socio-political phenomena and in individualdestinies.New hierarchies: traffic New hierarchies: nature
  2. 2. Mapping the hyper normal-the strategy of the open and unfinished planA hyper-mapping might be more subjective and give focus to values related to the context of the plan, than being strictlyneutral and objective. All layers of processes, programs and events add pieces to an open web. As an experience of thecomputer technology and the Internet’s structure of collecting and storing data and knowledge, it should be possible todevelop new, open and unlimited web-structures of planning. This again should open up for an infinite input and output ofknowledge, where there has to be most focus on the process.In his book Invisible cities (1972), Italo Calvino let the dialog between Marko Polo and Kublai Khan evolve as a narrationof innumerous urban conditions, as complex descriptions of different strange cities - and still after a while: Kublai Khanhad noticed that Marco Polo’s cities resembled one another, as if the passage from one to another involved not a journeybut a change of elements. They didn’t speak the same language, and the dialogue was full of hidden stories within thestory, with a constantly development of the perception of the city.In an open plan-network it is possible for anyone to take position and to act or to influence the decisions. The amount ofdata and knowledge is limitless – the strategy is to make operational systems to receive, handle, store and re-call theinformation that is relevant. The interesting evolves in the meeting, and the crossing points (the folding) of informationand action. In these connection points and folding new things and exiting possibilities always exceed. The rhizome can bedrawn – not only as maps of expectations but rather as complex metaphors of spatial practices and landscape impact.Rhizome: communications Rhizome: territorial practices