Activity: Talk or presentation › Lecture and oral contribution
Abstract: Affects and assemblages: Reassembling the aesthetics of urban space
Affects and assemblages are Deleuzian notions related to aesthetics and spatial territories Deleuze & Guattari . In recent urban geography and urban studies these notions are increasingly gaining more impact (Amin & Thrift 2002, Pile 2008, Farías & Bender 2010, Andersen & Harrison 2010, Thrift 2008). What happens to aesthetics and how does it change the existing social and geographical understanding of urban space? The paper sets out to reintroduce aesthetical aspects of affects and assemblages in urban space. It presupposes urban space as a continuous state of becoming where affects and assemblages produce subjective feelings and emotions (Pile 2009)
Recently, urban experience designs tries to evoke affects through affects and assemblages. A Danish example is the Carlsberg city in Copenhagen and a New York example is The High line in Chelsea, New York (Samson 2011). Thus the paper raises the questions where to locate aesthetics when planners and architects, wishes to design for aesthetical experiences and sensations rather than forms and objects.
The paper will proceed through a brief outline of the recent use of assemblage and affect in urban studies, planning theory and cultural geopgraphy. On this backdrop the paper states that affects and assemblages could serve as key notions for the reassembling the aesthetics of urban space.
Thus, I suggest a less formal understanding of urban space and aesthetics, proposing an understanding of aesthetics as a ‘throwntogetherness’ (Massey 2005) of perspectives bridging for instance the social and cultural experienced space investigated by the geographer and urban sociologist with the material and formal aesthetics of the architect and urban planner.
If planning and urban design should cope with Deleuzian notions of affects and assemblages, a broader cross-dispiplinary field of study is called for.