Imola, I-love-U .5 Rebecca Meredith, Auge: Non-Luoghi

Luoghi non Luoghi, Alberto Di Cesare, 2007

Il non-luogo è il contrario dell’utopia: esso esiste e non accoglie alcuna società organica”. (M. Augé, Non-luoghi, introduzione a una antropologia della surmodernità, Elèuthera, Milano 2005).

Auge Non-Places

Big Cities size of highways that lead to airports and “historic” centres. tv and computer now mark the hearth and hermes, the protector of exchanges takes hestia’s place as goddess of the hearth.

-Individual is connected to devices and lives in intellectual, musical or visual environment independent of his immediate physical surroundings.

-Empirical non-places = circulation, consumption and communication

-Anthropological place = social bond (rules of residence), collectivist (place of worship)

-Degree of sociality and symbolization in a given space

-Globalization today = homogenization and exclusion, egalitarian world = recognition of frontiers

-awareness that we share a restricted space that we treat badly

-Education today is our utopia

-Global world is made up of networks, a system defined by perameters that are spatial, economic, technical, scientific and political.

-Paul Virilio (l’espace critique, city is disappearing) virtual metacity. Global versus local, inside v. outsid, system v unstable

-Fukuyama, system v history, global v local, erase of frontiers of conflict v dissent from system

-city-world reduces world-city

-Barriers: private towns, districts, city quarters

-Consumption by codes and special cards, global world = discontinuity and interdict

-dominant aesthetic is cinematic long shot: satellites, aerial shots = “global view,” high office blocks, residential towers, space, tv

human migation had “natural frontiers,” starting with the horizon. Response frontiers usually means peace (xv)

frontier = language. frontier is a threshold

technology making omnipresent center which makes urban/non-urban meaningless, system/historical, global/local , aesthetics, art, architecture have international presence

-Tschumi, Nouvel in Paris, Gehry, Renzo Piano – global-local, worldwide recognition, not local

Rem Koolhaus: “Fuck the Context!”

-Architects who would argue the opposite are making denials

-Large scale urban architecture seems to speak of the future of planetary society of transparency, losing – past winning – future, temporal language spatial, symbolic relations code, effects reach artist in structured screens. reality, artists exacerbate problem, before: cultural trait: material and immaterial

Goal – diffusion, evolution. Human race objectively interdependent, more difficult to distinguish exteriot/interior, here/elsewhere, (virilio) global-interior/local-exterior

-Thus harder to figure borroughs influences on exchanges, wealth/poverty is no longer a developed/undeveloped world relationship

-South to North migration

-architecture, design, fashion, cuisine = luxury

-Marcel Mauss – Sociologie and anthropologie

-De-territorialization, virtual metcity

-scattered, isolated mixed-race indivisable come back together and reinvent, on basis of memories and improvement, common rules and rituals. They get objects from Asian market, borrowed materials and cobbled together religions/groups. What’s new is the access and new organization of the planet.

-In the arts, the gaze of the entire planet is available (humanist-leaning eclecticism). “The difficulty facing art, in the broadest sense of the word, has always been to distance itself from a society that it has to embody, nonetheless, if it wants to be understood.”

-Art today has to be reflexive and expressive if it wants to show us anything we do not see daily on TV or in the supermarket (XXI)

-Artists will today look to non-places, enigmatic character of objects, put a spotlight on media by rejecting sham and mimicry. (XXII)

-convergence, technology

-“anthropology of the near”, “armchair anthropologist”, “practicing ethnologist”, theoretical anthropologist

-Historians who would looks at anthropology are still not anthropologists

-ethnology is contemporary of narrative and narrator of event.

-Ethnologists are turning to Europe/”near” instead of overseas.

-Gerard Attabe’s importance to stairwells

-Ethnology: what the people we see and speak to tell us about the people we do not see and speak to.

-Empirical real object, social surveyor, manipulator of scales, low-level comparative language expert

-What’s important is whether there are aspects of contemporary social life that are accessible to anthropologists investigations.

-“the outcome of research is new objects of research.” Louis Dumont

-Main intellectual theme of anthropology is the question of the “other”, exotic, other of others, ethnic/cultural other, internal for system of differences such as sexes, political , economic, family, private—-> contributes to individuality

– the social begins with the individual

-Mauss says sociology studies ordinary man, who is the totality, not modern elite.

-Mauss’ totality concrete = complete individual as culture, a social phenomenon. Used the Melanesian, not a Melanesian.

-“Culture” and individuality are sometimes used interchangeably (18)

-culture isn’t a finished totality (18) while individuals can’t divorce themselves from an order that assigns them a positions (“prostitute,” “doctor”)

-Objects of over figures anthropological research is to interpret interpretation of category of other at levels which define its place and impose the need for it.

-time: perception, use of it, disposal of it

-before idea of progress and grand narratives that explain. now a doubr whether history has meaning.

-usefulness: people today need to know about the time period in which they live

-Pierre Nora (“lieux et memoire”) documentation of our lives helps us see into the present, whether we’ve changed.

-the acceleration of history present quickly the past

-Interdependencies/world system, overabundance of events, not tragedies or economic/historic/sociological events (23)

-Its not that the world lacks meaning but that we feel an intense daily need to give it meaning (24)

-supermodern = excess, and excess of space

-Longer life expectancy connects our life history with History

– change of scale in modern age: transport, going to the moon, images on tv in our home

-false familiarity of small screen tv and viewers and big scale history.

-Postmodern anthropology’s reductivist method: field to text, text to author

-Certeau: multiplicity of individuals (ultimate in connectedness) versus average of individual (abstraction)

-Marcel Mauss: “healthy” men is the most alienated because he agrees to exist in a world defined by relations with others.

– The inhabitant makes the place their private world/geography

-Interpretation is not to know but to recognize: to be made accessible to discourse, a diagnosis, in terms that are already established (37)

-Terms of the discourse are spatial even if origins of the discourse are diverse

-the image of a closed and self-sufficient world is nothing but a useful and necessary image: not a lie but a myth

-Average man displays a vulnerability and permeability to his immediate surroundings (Mauss) and since ethnologist’s object is a society precisely located in space, modern society

-consistency or transparency between culture, society and individual

-Culture as text (localized society) Island habitat helpful because its confined, with clear frontiers marking zone of relativized identity and external/foreign world.

-Handing of space means to an end but sometimes people go in reverse.

-All anthropology is other people’s anthropology of the place

-de Certeau: place = instantaneous configuration of positions.

-intellectual status of anthropological place is an ideal partially materialized, partially mythologized depending on the individual.

-Anthropological space is geometric – three spatial forms: line (route, paths) intersection of lines, and point of intersection (monumental type: religious or political constructed by certain men who go beyond a frontier of being defined by others but instead define themselves.) There is some partial overlap between the three forms

-(pg 47) Italy square meeting centers for people

-markets – with monument marking different social space, and suggesting some political control, contact, religious and political, procedures (example: sanctuary)

– Jean-Pierre Verrant: myth et pensee chez les Grecs. Village space/domestic space

– History: identity and relations in spatial arrangements. Relations also inscribed in time.

-Monument: tangible expression of permanence or duration. Continuity through the generations

-Human body portion of space with frontiers, vital centers, defenses and weaknesses, or defects. In imagination, body is a composite and hierarchical space which can be invaded from the outside.

-Metonymies: a country is designated by its capital and a capital by the name of the building occupied by its rulers

-Centralized France – politically and administratively with road and rail networks as spider’s webs with Paris at the center. Even small French towns boast to be the center for different specialities, and have sister/twin towns and historic curiosities. Making these things explicit is modern while highways bypass those same areas. “A gap is opened between the landscape’s present and the past to which it alludes.” (55) “The allusion to the past complicated the present. ” “As if alluding to former times and places were today just a manner of talking about present space” (59). Churches with cemeteries in medieval times were in the center of the city too so that death was part of active social life.

-Giradoux and Jules Romains

– Paris is a town divided into 20 arrondissments and the capital of France. no mayor until recently but instead town halls

-The arrondissments still have a lot of individual character

-Relationship with history is being aestheticized and people are leaving the city. towns–>museums and motorways etc. make it unnecessary for people to linger in them.

-If place = relationship, history, identity, then non-places are those that aren’t concerned with this

-People born in clinic and die in hospital. Transit points and temporary abodes such as hotel chains, sports squares, holiday clubs and refugee camps and shanty towns.

– Technological communication of gestures – abstract unmediated commerce – solitary individuality.

-non-place never exists in pure form. invention of the everyday, millenial ruses, relations restored and resumed

-place and space.

Place: geometrically defined by elements co-existing in a certain order, existential, experience of relations, unspoken words, term

Space: frequented place (de Certeau), intersection of moving bodies, pedestrians transform street, animation by bodies, spoken words/location, multiple connection, place v non-place. place: doing, no routes, describes journey narrative. Non-place: seeing, inventory of geographical knowledge

-Auge: place is the established and symbolized sense, anthropological place including journey, divergences, and language characterizing it.

-Space – functional conquest of outerspace designating difficult or unnamed places like “leisure spaces” “sports spaces” “rendezvous point” – non-symbolized surfaces of planet (66)

-Term space more abstract then place which refers to an event, myth or history. “Space” distance between two points, two things or a temporal expanse. A normative mass that can’t be localized. Travel fictional relationship between gaze and landscape. There are spaces in which the individual feels himself to be a spectator without paying attention to the spectacle. As if the post of spectator were the essence of the spectacle, as if basically the spectator in the position of a spectator were his own spectacle.

-tourist pamphlets show gaze, traveller’s space = non-place

-solitude as overburdening or emptying of individuality “only the movement of fleeting images enables the observes to hypothesize the existence of a past and glimpse the possibility of a future.

-Modernity as willed co-existence of two different worlds (Baudelairean modernity)

-Non-place as a turning back on the self, a simultaneous distancing from the spectator and the spectacle.

-Storpbinski “loss of the subject among the crowd – absolute power claimed by the individual consciousness.”

-Benjamin’s iron and glass architecture express his own desire for the future.


a) transport, transit, commerce, leisure: mass of relationships separate from their purposes.

b) relationships individuals have with these spaces established through mediation of words or texts

-Proper nouns and common nouns: holiday, voyage, sea, sun, cruise – have evocative force and weight–>produces image, myth and makes it work

-non-places of supermodernity are defined partly by words and texts which may be prescriptive, informative, instructive by which moral entities/institutions communicate with individuals.

-Landscape keeps its distance even if knowledge of its historical significance is made apparent by text.

-Put text over particular relationships in Chinese restaurant piece

-Local routes are vanishing fastest

– Silence, money, text, weighing things. Invasion of space by text in supermarket

-“The user of a non-place must prove his identity. He is relieved of usual determinants, becomes no more than what he does or experiences in role of passenger, customer, or driver. Passive joy of ID loss and active pleasure of role playing. (83)

-ID and relations are not created only solitude and similitude (83)

-“Everything proceeds as if space had been trapped by time, as if there were no history other than the last 48 hours of news, as if each individual history were drawing its motive, its words and images, from the inexhaustible stock of an unending history in the present” (84)

-Encounter, ID, image: the passenger in random places has the simultaneous experience of a perpetual present and an encounter with the self. Big brands can make one feel at home

-Transit/interchange/passenger/housing estate/communication (codes, images, strategies)

-Residence/crossroads/traveler/ monument(share and commemorate)/ language (spoken)

-a disturbance of rhetorical communication marks the crossing of a frontier.

-Space of supermodernity identities individual only, and only when they’re ID’d upon leaving/entering

– What is significant in the experience of non-place is its power of attraction, inversely proportional to territorial attraction–>holiday stampede to motorways

-Ethnology of solitude. The community of human destinies is experienced in the anonymity of non-place and in solitude.

Rebecca Meredith: Auge: Non-Places.