Tag: Italy

Psycho-Geography 

This is incredible. I want to see it!

Each concrete slab in the Cretto di Burri measures between ten and twenty meters on each side and stands at around 1.6 meters tall. The enormous yet walkable fissures in the concrete mirror the old town’s streets and corridors, reconjuring spatial memories of the destroyed city while marking its status as uninhabitable ruins. In Burri’s imagination, the cracked landscapes of Death Valley that had served as inspiration for his work functioned as a kind of psycho-geography, suggesting the violence and trauma of fascist rule and industrialized warfare that he had experienced as an Italian citizen living through both World Wars. In similar fashion, the cracked white concrete of the Cretto di Burri memorializes and reifies the trauma and grief of the Belice earthquake, with the fissures marking not just the literal roads and streets of the original town but also the violence done to the land, people, and profoundly to the cultural memory of the site.

The white concrete, as a common urban construction material, suggests the pale corpse of the lost city, while the textures and fissures marking the presence and memory of the old city reveal the futility of erasing and moving forward on a psycho-geographic tabula rasa. Altogether, the Cretto di Burri beautifully responds to a moment of profound cultural grief through its pared-down, yet highly suggestive form and materiality.

Source: The Psycho-Geography of the Cretto di Burri | ArchDaily

The tenets of ‘Slow Thought’

The slow movement began with ‘slow food’ which was in opposition to, unsurprisingly, ‘fast food’. Since then there’s been, with greater and lesser success, ‘slow’ versions of many things: education, cinema, religion… you name it.

In this article, the author suggests ‘slow thought’. Unfortunately, the connotation around ‘slow thinking’ is already negative so I don’t think the manifesto they provide will catch on. They also quote French philosophers…

In the tradition of the Slow Movement, I hereby declare my manifesto for ‘Slow Thought’. This is the first step toward a psychiatry of the event, based on the French philosopher Alain Badiou’s central notion of the event, a new foundation for ontology – how we think of being or existence. An event is an unpredictable break in our everyday worlds that opens new possibilities. The three conditions for an event are: that something happens to us (by pure accident, no destiny, no determinism), that we name what happens, and that we remain faithful to it. In Badiou’s philosophy, we become subjects through the event. By naming it and maintaining fidelity to the event, the subject emerges as a subject to its truth. ‘Being there,’ as traditional phenomenology would have it, is not enough. My proposal for ‘evental psychiatry’ will describe both how we get stuck in our everyday worlds, and what makes change and new things possible for us.

That being said, if only the author could state them more simple and standalone, I think the ‘seven proclamations’ do have value:

  1. Slow Thought is marked by peripatetic Socratic walks, the face-to-face encounter of Levinas, and Bakhtin’s dialogic conversations
  2. Slow Thought creates its own time and place
  3. Slow Thought has no other object than itself
  4. Slow Thought is porous
  5. Slow Thought is playful
  6. Slow Thought is a counter-method, rather than a method, for thinking as it relaxes, releases and liberates thought from its constraints and the trauma of tradition
  7. Slow Thought is deliberate

Isn’t this just Philosophy? In any case, my favourite paragraph is probably this one:

Slow Thought is a porous way of thinking that is non-categorical, open to contingency, allowing people to adapt spontaneously to the exigencies and vicissitudes of life. Italians have a name for this: arrangiarsi – more than ‘making do’ or ‘getting by’, it is the art of improvisation, a way of using the resources at hand to forge solutions. The porosity of Slow Thought opens the way for potential responses to human predicaments.

We definitely need more ‘arrangiarsi’ in the world.

Source: Aeon