Urban Correlationism: A Matter of Access

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    If one is to provide an alternative account for the plurality of, intentional or other, morphogenetic processes that take place constantly within the urban field, then one has to examine the intricate relationship between the field itself and our access to it. In this dividing line between ontology and epistemology, any attempt to prioritize one of the two will lead to fallacies of all kinds, which would eventually exclude our access to a world from the world itself. Ontology, epistemology and the –urban- world are put forward in this chapter. Throughout it I deal with the first of consequences that urban correlationism entails; that of the primacy of a subjective access over an archetypically malleable present. The claim that correlationism is the episteme of architectural theory and practise is expanded with an amplified version of epistemes themselves. It is through an ecology of material-discursive practices that the apparatus of architectural thinking can be traced genealogically and posited as an abstract machine catalyzing a very specific image of thought. That of a meta-subject which privileges its access to a world bifurcated in primary and secondary qualities so as to trace the transcendental elements of its own justification.
    My aim is twofold; firstly, to highlight aspects of a diffractive genealogical line which runs through modernities and dates from the first ever attempt to theoretically reflect on issues of spatial production –as is the case with Vitruvius Ten Books on Architecture-, their later interpretation and critical transformation from Leon Battista Alberti, ending up with what managed to combine both under the premise of a modernist emancipation; Le Corbusier’s definition of architecture. What is at stake here is that all the actualizations of modernity are based on the incarnation of an ideal possibility, an archetypical futurity which is somehow to be brought from a transcendent exterior to a malleable present via the manipulation of the access between primary and secondary qualities. Consequently, a fully linear and non-temporal theory of space is constituted. Secondly, to destabilize the refuge of a universal epistemological truth, one that would translate experience –more- to subjective experience –less. For that, one has to fully and openly acknowledge experience as an eventuating dramatization of each entity’s strive for individuation, contingent but not depended on its agency. There is no need for representational analogies here as each entity can never be fully exhausted in its conceptualization; the remaining non-conceptualized portion is what allows us to speak of that entity. Any form of representation, and I will claim of architectural representation as well, rests on the existence of non-elements which are essentially unable to be conceptualized, to be represented.
    Most of the theories developed within the discipline seem to ignore a quite simple fact; that a horizontally expanded experience is the phenomenon whose existence is more certain than the existence of anything else. And it is on this premise that architectural theories, for the sake of their own persistence and individuation, should shift focus from the relata of the discipline to the experiential relationships that precede them. I conclude this chapter by arguing that if any architectural theory and practice is to aim in a break from the past then it is through the focus on the contingent actuality of a virtual state of affairs. The question therefore for any architecture to come, is whether space can topologically afford and be afforded the virtual; afford the non-neutralization and the non-confinement of desire.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCritical and Clinical Cartographies
    Subtitle of host publicationArchitecture, Robotics, Medicine, Philosophy
    EditorsAndrej Radman, Heidi Sohn
    Place of PublicationEdinburgh
    PublisherEdinburgh University Press
    Number of pages19
    ISBN (Electronic)978 1 4744 2113 3
    ISBN (Print)978 1 4744 2111 9
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


    • Architectural Theory
    • Corrleationism
    • Modernity
    • Whitehead
    • Vitruvius
    • Alberti
    • Le Corbusier


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