The (An)exact Urban Plan

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Abstract / Description of output

Tapping into Jacques Derrida’s reading of Edmund Husserl’s seminal essay ‘The Origin of Geometry’, these drawings present a machinic ‘anexact’ trans-media research methodology that foregrounds the durational and multiplicitous aspects of a series of data-based, dynamic urban surveys.
A digital, robotic drawing apparatus traces seventy-nine geo-localised paths of individual displacement (corresponding to the author and his students from the University of Cagliari in Sardinia) that were collectively captured via GPS-tracking smartphone apps throughout a single day in April 2017. The resulting traces redraw the fabric of Cagliari as a summative accumulation of the individual urban subjectivities of group members, rendering them as dynamic urban plans through quantized vector-based video clips.
The relayed ensemble of the drawing apparatus does not simply reproduce the original data-based urban traces: Running the dynamic digital paths through its relayed digital-analogue protocol produces the distinct effect of reinstating time-as-duration as a fundamental component of the collectively constructed multiplicities that we are attempting to represent. The resulting ‘urban plan’ is no longer articulated as a homogeneous, totalising assembled whole, but as a continuous-yet-heterogeneous occupation of the urban landscape. This hybrid digital-analogue scenario of dynamic drawing conveys the simultaneously heterogeneous and continuous character of the collectively assembled urban processes that originated it: Never static, always becoming other.
In spite of its digital foundations, two critical aspects of this media narrative emerge as ‘trans-computational elements of though’, revealed through the relayed machinic process. These aspects are anexactitude (as both the form of urban multiplicities and a tool to overcome technocratic narratives of numerical optimisation) and duration (as both an index of the continuous heterogeneity deployed collectively by urban subjects, and a counterpart to the static homogeneity of the ‘assembled whole’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-85
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018


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