Protofigurations, geometries of transindividuation

In recent years prefigurative phases of architectural or urban projects have been rising. However, in the context of prefiguration a precise definition of what could be characterized as a design methodology, a temporal space or also as a political practice, is not yet clear. Despite a certain vagueness, it is possible to identify two co-related series of operations in prefigurative processes; on one side, a mental and collective enaction through the uses of events, engagement or communication with the aim of integrating new urban or architectural systems into thoughts and uses, and on the other, a spatial or territorial enacted projection of ‘some feature of an “alternative world” into real’. These practices of inscription into a site, or milieu – both mental/collective and physical –  reinvesting the role of bodies, gestures and engagements in the process of urbanization are one cue of the return of archaic (logic) in the architectural discourse. As Jacques Lucan explained, the archaic is an apogee of phenomenological design strategies facing the current disoriented metropolis, calling for the sublime immediacy of the thing itself. Nevertheless prefigurative processes and practices of inscription are likewise identifiable in several cultures, mostly referring to foundational acts. Each entails a series of operations – gestures and application of figures – which transforms an a priori hostile given territorial structure into an operational hospitable space, re-performing a myth of origin and uniting different phases of culture (from techniques, to religions, through aesthetics, politics…). In this talk, I will discuss how such practices are able to actualize the pair alienation-invention in relation to urban and architectural design, in making reference to the system of technical analysis (elements/individual/set) of Gilbert Simondon as described in On the Mode of Existence of the Technical Object (MEOT). I will then go through the Roman practices of the Nomos (rituals and survey) in order to question their cognitive role as acts of inscription. This analysis will lead us to a reformulation of inscription figures in proposing the concept of protofiguration. Lastly, the Simondonian concept of Open Machine will allow us to define protofigures as Open Geometries, figures and gestures that permit to afford a space and to individuate information in the perception process.

Dietz, Dieter
Presented at:
Potential for an Archaic Today, Paris, France, 15 june 2018

 Record created 2019-03-05, last modified 2019-12-05

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