Presence Experiences - the eventalisation of urban space

John Pløger

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    Cultural events are, as part of an urban development strategy, about (symbolic) representations, but for the human beings participating in the event it may include acts of in/visibility (anonymity versus expressivity) and different articulations of meaning or subjectivity in space. A particular kind of event that cities are not so interested in supporting an unorganised or spontaneous event, even though they give cities the image of tolerance. All such singular events have the potential of shaping what is going to happen in a real contingent situation because they are affected by circumstances. Such events are attractive to the participants because of the possible outcome of being situatively placed within virtual connectivities and assemblages, or as in focus here, the attraction of the eventalisation of space and presence-experiences. Following Michel Foucault on ‘eventalisation’ and Hans Martin Gumbrecht on ‘presence-events’, I focus on subcultural and subpolitical groups trying to capture urban commercial spaces and to reverse or reveal their symbolic meaning. Using the oppositional youth group Pirate Parties, I argue that it is exactly the eventalisation and the presence quality of space that make these events a desired experience and the qualities of the presence-experience more desired than, for instance, the political content of the event. Why it is so is theoretically and philosophically explored by discussing the expressive signification of such events. If expressive and presence qualities should be experienced as emotional, sensate, and cognitively important, the how of the eventalisation is important. Different aspects of the eventalisation of spaces—such as the subject qualities, or singular multiplicity, of circumstances—are discussed here that point to the vital and virtual qualities of presence-event spaces and the eventalisation of urban space
    TidsskriftEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
    Udgave nummer5
    Sider (fra-til)848-865
    StatusUdgivet - 2010

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