Deleuze’s Fold as Urban Strategy

Abstract: Spaces defined by their exteriority to the prevailing urban frame – here referred to as ‘urban blind spots’ – appear in several theoretical writings, with different names. ‘Voids’, ‘Temporary Autonomous Zones’, ‘terrains vagues’, arguably all share some common traits: a political potential, rising from the vacancy of the established order; as well as a radical separation from the city’s inside. Beyond the fascination they exercise on architects, can these spaces and their openness be put to work for transforming the city? Could it be that, in order to activate their political potential, one needs to rethink their relation to the city, and move away from the idea of a strict exteriority?

This question is approached against the backdrop of Deleuze’s ‘fold’, and the particular conditions of exteriority it describes. As an hypothesis to be tested, the form of the ‘fold’ may be a resource both to understand the embedded functioning of ‘blind spots’ within processes of urban speculation, and to mobilise these spaces for alternative transformations of the city.

Bio:  Francesco Sebregondi is an architect and a graduate from the Centre for Research Architecture (Goldsmiths). He studied in Paris, Rome and London. Driven by a search for alternative practices of architecture, his research addresses the margins of contemporary cities, the role of architecture as media, and the politics of ruins. In 2011, he published “The Event of Void: Architecture and Politics in the Evacuated Heygate Estate” (self-published booklet).