Category Archives: Non-Planning

Off the Beaten Track [Holzwege]

by Martin Heidegger

The future human being is about to experience a contestation of the nature and history of Western metaphysics. Only in this contemplation, the transition to the planetary Dasein of man will be accomplished and this world-historical Dasein will be attainable as a grounded one.
Holzwege constitutes attempts of such contemplation. Outwardly, they present themselves as a collection of lectures about things that bear no relation to one another.
Thought of the matter as such, everything is in a hidden and strictly constructed harmony.
None of the paths is to be taken unless the others have been trodden. In their unity, they show a piece of the way of thinking that the author has meanwhile tried to pursue since Being and Time.

They are going astray.
But they do not lose their way.


Translation (by Manuela Koelke) of Martin Heidegger, “Holzwege,” in: Aus der Erfahrung des Denkens. 1910-1976. Gesamtausgabe Band 13. Klostermann, Frankfurt a.M., 1983, p. 91.

Life without Property. The “Groundlessness” of Anarchist Settler Movements

My recent article, “Life without Property. The “Groundlessness” of Anarchist Settler Movements” is one of many contributions to the essay collection Architecture on Common Ground. Positions and Models on the Land Property Issue, edited by Prof. Florian Hertweck and just published in German with Lars Müller Publishers / University of Luxemburg.

“The book addresses the ways we deal with land and its far-reaching implications for architecture and urban development. The last decade has seen a dramatic rise in the privatization of urban land and in speculation. Many European cities that today find themselves under extreme development pressure have virtually no land left to build on. In view of the acute housing shortage, the issue of who owns the land is therefore more relevant than ever: To what extent are we able to treat the land as a common good and guard it from the excesses of capitalism?[…]
After a number of specialist journals have already addressed the land property issue, this book aims to dig deeper by providing a historical overview spanning an arc from Henry George to the present day. Interviews with stakeholders in global models provide insights into the current handling of the issue. The book presents outstanding projects based on either a legal or spatial distribution of land and thus makes a valuable contribution to the current discussion on sustainable land policy.”[1]

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An Unoccupied and Unoccupiable Place

“Ein unbesetzter und unbesetzbarer Ort” by Nikolai Roskamm
Translated by Manuela Kölke

In La Revolution urbaine, a founding text of critical urban research, Henri Lefebvre describes the city as a “pseudo-concept” that no longer corresponds to “any societal object” (1990, 65). In the mid-1980s, Jürgen Habermas, in his essay “Modern and Postmodern Architecture” asks the question, whether the concept of the city is not outdated because it no longer keeps pace with the constant change of the urban form of life (1985, 24). At about the same time, the urban sociologist Peter Saunders speaks of the “sociological irrelevancy” of the city and its traditional determining factors (1987, 17, similarly Häußermann / Siebel 1978). The planning theorist John Friedmann formulates at the beginning of the millennium succinctly: “The city is dead” (2002, XI). Quite recently, Neil Brenner and Christian Schmid – two prominent representatives of the critical urban studies – are writing in a programmatic text about their theory of planetary urbanization: “The category of the ‚city’ has today become obsolete as an analytical social science tool” (2014, 162).

The subject of my text is precisely this useless division, this inoperable and traditional concept of the city.

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Lecture by Catherine Malabou on “TeleologiⒶ”
Transcribed from the Backdoor Broadcasting Company recording from June 9, 2017

The topic of the conference is extremely interesting, and I want to congratulate you for that. And it gave me a lot to think about. So, in the beginning I thought, I just use and old talk from my drawers on Hegel, but in fact, I decided to write something completely new, which I hope will be the basis of future work.

Why not call things by their names? Why not state it radically? The absolute other of teleology is anarchy. There cannot be any sustainable intermediary position. As it seems, it is either teleology or anarchy. If we are to take seriously the lessons of postmodernity, which is all about the ends of the ends, if we are to take seriously the conclusions of the different deconstructions of metaphysics, if we acknowledge the collapse of socialism, if we refuse to define living beings as finalized organisms, if we accept to take for granted that there cannot exist something like a historical, moral, political or natural telos, we then need to identify the space opened by such a non-existence as that of anarchy. As French philosopher of anarchy, Vivian Garcia affirms in his book “For anarchists all teleology is vain.”
The three principle domains where teleology is supposed to or has been supposed to operate are ontology, politics, and biology. How is anarchy at work in these three domains secretly or overtly dismantling their orientations? This is what I intend to explore here. The immediate problem that such an exploration finds itself confronted with, is that first, after Nietzsche and even more with Heidegger who are the first philosophers to challenge the authority of ontological or metaphysical teleology, second, after the transition accomplished by libertarian radical political movements from traditional anarchism to what is now called post-anarchism, third, after the clear Darwinian affirmation of the biological real that natural selection is devoided of any goal or direction, that never was a coherent, consistent elaboration of the concept of anarchy able to hold these three dimensions together.
We are still currently in need of a rigorous determination first of the kind of ontology, second the kind of practical orientation, and third the kind of significant approach to life that would really allow us to genuinely to inhabit a world, to inhabit a non-teleological world. In other terms, anarchy however explicitly conceptually at work in the three domains, again, of philosophy, politics, and science, or biology is still in the shadow and this even in anarchism itself.
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