The heterotopical flâneur

Thanks for sending in:

Bankovskaya, S (2014) ‘A Conception of, and Experiments with Heterotopia as a Condition of Stable, Unpurposive, Everyday Movement’. Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 70/HUM/2014.

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The paper is based on the outcomes and inferences from the experiment with urban heterotopia found on the Manezhnaya square in Moscow. The main point of the experimental design (ethnomethodological in its intent) is to explore in vivo the heterotopical properties of the urban environment as the condition of this environment’s creativity and its interaction with the mobile actors. Creativity of the urban environment was interpreted as a particular kind of spatial order accumulating in counterfinal effects of collective behavior in the unique constellation –“heterotopia”. The flâneur was chosen as the most appropriate actor displaying the properties of an object and that of a receptive mobile interactant. The object of the experiment was the fragment of the metropolitan environment which combines the logic of the urban social organization (embodied in its concrete place) and the paralogy of the counterfinality of the mobilities inside this particular environment. Two modes of interaction were provoked in the experiment: first, intended, but unpurposive action observed by the passage through the ambiances of the specific fragment of the city by the flâneur, and focusing on his affective states during these actions (the affective profile of the place thus was achieved); and second, observing and mapping the flâneur’s movements as a purposive interaction with the same fragment of the environment, but in the form of dérive (observation of the movement by the means of movement). The end of the observation in movement was to focus on the flâneur’s movements and to depict his route through the observable details of the spatial/social order of the environment.


12 January 2015