批判地理學與Neil Smith

(English See Below)

作者︰陳寧

由空間理論學者列斐伏爾提出的“城市權利”的觀念也許曾經豐富了我們對城市規劃的想像。但是我們可有發現,這個觀念在經過不斷的,盲目的重複以後,已經變成了毫無意義的口號?列斐伏爾提出對空間的重新審視,無疑在西方哲學的領域開創了革命性的先河。然而他主張的理論,即空間是在具有創造性的群體與傳統的地理因素和市場力量的相互制衡下形成的,卻一直沒有在地理學以外被廣泛引用。只要大眾對空間的概念還是由活躍於十七世紀的牛頓和康德所提倡的先驗性理論支配,我們始終還是會把空間想像為一個死寂,靜態的容器。相對於牛頓和康德,其他近代西方學者(不管是海德格爾,薩特,柏格森還是德勒茲)都一概將時間設想為一股具爆炸性,甚至可以改變時代的龐大能量。

各種理論偏見在時代巨輪的運轉下往往被迫重新評估, 牛頓和康德的理論也不例外。(may not need this sentence, doesn’t really make any sense/flow in the grand scheme of things)當年列斐伏爾與情境主義國際關係密切,因此後者對“單一城市化”的犀利批判也近乎理所當然的富有列氏理論色彩。情境主義國際所主張的烏托邦主義是實際的,而且是以集體需要來主導空間的運用。也就是說,從情境主義國際的觀點出發,空間是用來滿足群體的需要和慾望的媒體,而不是牟取利潤的工具。此外, 情境主義國際也是以現象學角度來探討空間的先驅。如果以現象學為切入點來看空間,焦點就在於不同層面的經驗,情感和觸感如何影響空間的構成。在這一點情境主義國際的“心理地圖”就非常到位。1968年5月來自不同階層的巴黎市民起義抗爭,他們激烈反對的就是在空間士紳化和空間制度化的運用下,普羅市民必須承受的漠視。 自此1968年起義以後,學者們對空間的洞見發生了改變。無論是由米歇爾·福柯提出的富暗示性的“異托邦”理論 ,還是由德勒茲和瓜塔里提倡的領土概念,這些論述都摒棄了先驗唯心主義, 取而代之的是對’強度’,歧異點和邊界的多重性和重複性的熱烈擁抱。

“批判地理學”這個術語通常令人聯想到諸如David Harvey、Edward Soja、Jeff Malpas和Neil Smith等學者,他們至今已花了數十年的時間嘗試打破西方對思維空間的固有看法。對他們來說,思維空間並不是由不同對立面的加錯而產生的實踐性經驗, 而是一種自然而然的存在本身。這些哲學家的理論徹底的改變了我們與空間的關係 – 空間由以往只是我們生活的背景變成了與我們互動的元素之一。 我們的身體,心理,情緒都會因應空間的改變作出不同的反應,而空間本身也會隨著這些反應被重新配置。透過這些學者和藝術家富創意性的探索,我們可以從另類的角度了解社會階級的形成以及各種有形無形的抗爭方式,以對抗私有化、分層化和技術官僚。

至此,我們必須談一談電影。根據班雅明的論述,電影作為視覺媒介,擁有揭示 “視覺潛意識”的力量。 “視覺潛意識”不但控制著我們的視角,更打亂我們的思維和聯想模式。所以當戈達爾說,跟踪拍攝是一種道德的行為時,他是非常有道理的。就電影媒介而言,只要時間依然支配空間 (如通過敘述展開情節以及刻劃時間的流逝),它就必定接受某種思想的規範。當敘事結構被各種的方法打破了(不論是Pedro Costa呈現真實的節奏的長鏡頭,Chantal Akerman 的體驗性時間,Orson Welles的深焦拍攝,還是Chaplin, Keaton and Tati極富空間感的“情境”等等),人類的身體才能成為空間領域裡,由其他有生命或無生命的單位組成的結構的一部分。電影不但讓不易察覺之情溢於言表,更令難以想象的空間變成真實。

Wolfen, Dark City, Colossal Youth, Assault On Precinct 13是以城市和城市裡的階級分層為主題的電影,Playtime, Two Or Three Things That I Know About Her 則揭示空間的邏輯性和在空間裡運行的建制,而The Bed Sitting Room 是對末日以後的景觀空間的描繪。這些電影將成為我們以下的討論的出發點, 讓我們一起探討如何在一個不斷剝奪和將我們無產階級化的城市裡策略性的打造空間吧。

(English)

Much has been made of Henri Lefebvre’s famous injunction to claim ‘the right to the city’, but- as one might expect of slogans that have been worn threadbare by mindless reiteration and repetition- what this would entail is not often remarked upon. What is worse, the revolution that he initiated in Western philosophy through his re-examination of spatiality and the ways in which it is shaped by creative and collective human action as well as conventional geographical factors and market forces has remained, for the most part, confined to the field of geography, and many of us continue to hold to Newtonian and Kantian conceptions of space as a ‘transcendental’, physical condition of experience- a dead and static container. By contrast, Western thought (and this holds true for everybody from Heidegger and Sartre to Bergson and Deleuze) has always privileged time as an explosive, dynamic and revolutionary force of becoming.


This legacy has not gone uncontested, and the force of events has often compelled a re-evaluation of these prejudices. The Situationist International’s trenchant critique of ‘unitary urbanism’, developed in conjunction with Lefebvre while he frequented their circle, sketched the contours of a practical utopianism, one that would actively appropriate space and divert it towards the servicing of need, pleasure and collective desire, rather than profit. Besides this, their ‘psychogeographic’ research inquired into the phenomenology of space, the ways in which concrete spaces form milieus of experience, colored by affectivity and sensation. Following the mass contestations over institutional and gentrified space in the revolts of May 1968, Michel Foucault put forward a number of suggestive notes on ‘heterotopias’, while Deleuze and Guattari followed suit with their concepts of territories, populated by intensities, singularities and refrains.


‘Critical geography’, a term that is loosely attached to thinkers as varied as David Harvey, Ed Soja, Jeff Malpas, Neil Smith and Jeff Malpas, have devoted decades of work into testing and concretizing these insights, straining against the limits that Western thought has always imposed upon thinking space as something that is ‘produced’, a field traversed by antagonisms and worked upon by practices, rather than given as a naturalized ‘there’. Through their work, the spatial background that we live unreflectively comes to the very front as something that acts upon us- physically, affectively, psychologically- as we act upon it, something through which power flows, constraining certain possibilities while enabling others. Their creative inquiries have also given us a lens through which we can perceive the materialization of class and the invisible forms of resistance that combat stratification, privatization and technocracy.


Of course, cinema, as a visual medium, has the power to reveal the ‘visual unconscious’ (Walter Benjamin) to which we have always been beholden, disrupting the associative patterns of thought that accompany it. Godard has said that the tracking shot is an ethical act, and we can only register our deep agreement with him. Insofar as cinema has always subordinated space to time (its passage and its unfolding through narrative), it has been complicit to a certain paradigm of thought. When it breaks with this narratorial structure, whether through long takes to render the rhythms of real, experiential time (as in the work of Chantal Akerman), the long tracking shots of Pedro Costa (tracking the movement of a person through an entire neighborhood), the deep focus shots pioneered by Orson Welles or the exceptionally spatial ‘situations’ developed by Chaplin, Keaton and Tati, where the human body becomes one element in a spatial field populated by other animate or inanimate bodies, cinema renders the imperceptible palpable, thinkable and livable.


Through a series of disparate films, some of which take the subject of the city and its stratification as a thematic preoccupation (Wolfen, Dark City, Colossal Youth, Assault On Precinct 13), others which reveal the logic of space and the apparatuses that operate within them (Playtime, Two Or Three Things That I Know About Her) and yet others which depict spatial practices that take shape in a post-apocalyptic landscape (The Bed Sitting Room), we will attempt to initiate a collective discussion on spatiality and the strategies that we can adopt towards it in a city in which we have been proletarianized and expropriated.

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