Upcoming lecture: The emergence of a Poetic Landscape in the vague city terrains

Walking the High Line, Looking South at the 27th Street , September 2000, Joel Sternfeld. Courtesy of the artist.

Walking the High Line, Looking South at the 27th Street, September 2000, Joel Sternfeld. Courtesy of the artist.

Next Tuesday, the 29th of May, I'll be delivering a Seminar within the thematic cycle "Critical readings on the experience of the city" organised by our Art, Criticism and Aesthetic Experience Group, IFILNOVA. The Session will take place between 15h00-18h00, Room Multiusos 2 (Building ID), floor 4, at the FCSH, Nova University in Lisbon. Ana Mira will also be presenting her interesting research.


The city is one of the preferential territories for the performance of architects and urbanists due to its complex model, which reflects in turn the "nervous connections" of its inhabitants (Simmel) and the problems that life, in full openness to the unknown, reveals in the becoming-future of the inconstant and indefinite present, despite the constant forces of normalization. Today, the city faces the paradox that Massimo Cacciari describes to us: the indefinite and homogeneous space of the city-territory or the post-metropolis is not tolerant to the construction of inhabiting places contradicting the very physical condition of the bodies that are, still and first of all, places.
At the turn of the century, Ignasi de Solà-Morales, in an essay titled "Terrain Vague", detected in the empty spaces  resulting from the growth of the great cities after the Second World War, the correlative condition of the post-metropolitan subject, while in the homonymous film of Marcel Carné (dating from 1960), we find a way of appropriating these spaces through the practice of situationist drift following the lines of flight that crossed the city of Paris (at the time). The line of flight, as a Deleuzian concept, is a vector of deterritorialization that draws an escape from order, norm and strata, or a sorceress line capable of transforming the invisible forces into pure creation, or, on the other hand, into chaos and death. Informal voids have this paradoxical character that we identify as the genesis of the paradox referred to by Cacciari, when the same physical transformation seems to be required to the bodies themselves. And yet there will be another line of flight, drawn by the resistance of bodies and the creation of places that we call poetic landscapes after Gilles Deleuze and Peter Zumthor.
Starting from the critical reading of excerpts from the texts of Cacciari, Solà-Morales, Deleuze and Zumthor, we propose to think about the emergence of a poetic landscape in the city-territory or post-metropolitan space that is capable of transforming its empty terrains into places after their lines of flight, taking as a main reference the project for the High Line in New York and the photographs by Joel Sternfeld.

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