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15 November 2012

Siegfried Atteneder
University College London, DPU Bartlett

Borderland Levant: Transforming urban geographies in Amman and Tel Aviv-Jaffa

The research is concerned with the area along the East Mediterranean coastline, the so called Levant, and its topological characteristics and potentials. It investigates the Levant´s spatial outline and its potential towards a more inclusive and relational space. Picking up on ideas of borders as dispersed across a territory, or “borderland”, the concept of border as only regulating access at the edge of a nation-state is challenged. Borderland represents a versatile system, staging contended power relations that establish, maintain or restrict relations. The study looks at relational space and borderland through the lens of urban transformation processes. These processes, located at the intersection between notions of space and place, represent the making and remaking of urban areas. These urban areas can therefore be seen as continuously in a condition of becoming different than they were before. Transformative spaces in Amman and Tel Aviv-Jaffa have been chosen as entry points for the case studies. Starting from these spaces, dynamics, moving along different scales through this borderland, will be traced and analysed. Discovered movements in the two urban areas will be singled out to map potential relations across the region. By doing so, notions of interrelatedness, despite the apparent separation and fragmentation in the region, will be examined.

Jeremy Lecomte
Goldsmiths University, Centre for Cultural Studies

GENERIC SPACE // Model / Abstraction / Organisation

Drawing on my thesis project on the development of generic space in contemporary Europe, this presentation will focus on three different aspects according to which Rem Koolhaas’ famous theorisation of “the generic city” may be extended (R. Koolhaas, 1994).

The first aspect concerns models and modelling. The practical and theoretical models architects use and conceive have dramatically change. No longer corresponding to the prescriptive and deterministic models of Modernism (Le Corbusier, 1935) ; no longer merely relying on the post-modern descriptive turn (R. Venturi and D. Scott-Brown, 1972) ; “the generic city” displays some interesting connexions with the critical utopias imagined by the radical movements of the 1970s (Archigram, Archizoom, Superstudio, Constant Nieuwenhuys…).

The bold opposition of Bruno Latour’s definition of objectivity according to “correspondance-without-adequation” and of François Laruelle definition of modelling according to the notion of “adequation-without-correspondance” will then help us to focus on specifying the kind of abstract relation this generic model can have with the immanent real of contemporary cities (B. Latour, 2012 ; F. Laruelle, 2011).

Finally it would be argued that the suspension of the correspondence theory of truth in favor of generic abstraction may help discovering and defining the kind of topological continuum affecting not only urban space but contemporary culture at large (P. Sloterdijk, 2006 ; C. Lury, L. Parisi and T. Terranova, 2012).