The Curfew of Geometry

The University of Auckland’s Owen G. Glenn Building, a.k.a. the “Business School”

In the Transparent University, the laboratory of transcendental capitalism . . .

All space is occupied by the enemy. We are living under a permanent curfew. Not just the cops — the geometry.

— Attila Kotanyi and Raoul Vaneigem, “manifesto of unitary urbanism [sic]”

For Kotanyi and Vaneigem, to circumvent this curfew of geometry we need “true urbanism”:

True urbanism will start by causing the occupying forces to disappear from a small number of places. That will be the beginning of what we mean by construction. The concept of the “positive void” coined by modern physics might prove illuminating [a positive void coefficient represents an increase in void spaces, i.e., bubbles, in the coolant of a nuclear reactor, which can lead to a positive feedback loop, an increase in core power — or meltdown!]. Gaining our freedom is, in the first place, ripping off a few acres from the face of a domesticated planet.

To construct true urban places by drifting athwart, amid or against the customary flow of the domesticated city’s circulatory system was the aim of the Situationist dérive (drift, leeway, line of flight), the more or less random exploration of a built environment — if not to reveal the city in its brute nakedness, then to rechannel its desires.

Guy Debord, “The Naked City” (1957), repr. in Simon Sadler, The Situationist City (Cambridge: MIT P, 1998) 60

So what of lines of flight for a truly Naked University, of “lines,” “gestures” and “perceptions of drift” athwart/amid/against the “customary lines,” “gestures” and “perceptions” of the Transparent University?

Mervyn Peake, “Illustration for Shapes and Sounds” [1941], Peake Studies 10.4 (April 2008): 4

Affect. Ignorance. Sharing. Fallibility. Just Talking. Breathing. Charity. Idleness. Invention. Obfuscation. Desire.


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  1. Attila Kotanyi and Raoul Vaneigem, “manifesto of unitary urbanism [sic],” Internationale Situationniste 6 (1961),in Christopher Gray, Leaving the 20th Century: The Incomplete Work of the Situationist International (1974; Rebel Press, 1998) 24ff., and
  2. Vaneigem, A Declaration of the Rights of Human Beings: On the Sovereignty of Life as Surpassing the Rights of Man, trans. Liz Heron (2001; London: Pluto, 2004) — seen here in summary, though it’s the preamble that’s most important, viz. this motto: “we can no longer make do with the liberties derived from free exchange, while the free circulation of capital is establishing a tyranny that reduces humankind and the earth to a commodity.”

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