[ISEA97] Paper: Giselle Beiguelman – Post-Urban Cities


Newsgroups, on line chats, bookmarks, and links are terms that became popular on the Internet.They express the energy lines of post-urban cities. City of Bits,Telepolis, Cybertown, thing.net, and adaweb, are some attempts of nominating these intangible communities, which have no depth nor sunset. Alien to time fuses and independent from the concrete effectiveness of human relationships, the post-urban cities emerge confined by areas of internal flux, but they don’t circumscribe milestones. This impossibility of location on the geological and geographical ground does not imply a non-location. Internet circles in a non-topographic topology. A topology that is inscribed in the displacement of an information network, and affords the creation of points of intersection. It is precisely in these intersections that live the post-urban cities. And they are not “post” because they chronologically succeed the urban thinking, but because at the same time that they subvert our basic idea of city, they are conceivable only within the urban horizon. They are not confined to the cities ranked in the Internet’s traffic lines, although they are prolific there, where an unmeasurable amount of datastreams per second, of which a significant part still offer free or low cost access. They are dematerialized cities that redirect the vec¬tors of this end of the century’s utopias, enabling schemes where interchanges draw non-territorial maps of intelligent communities. In this kind of scenery are being placed the bets for a different sort of geography, one that could reshape the very meanings of geography and history.lt is sceneries like these that paradoxically make us think about the wealth slumbering among the ruins, where, as it was said, everything is unheard-of, and at the same time known; everything is dead, and yet unborn. Because ruins are more than abandoned places; they are the exposed scars of a past without continuity, that obstinately insinuates itself as a chance of future. They are places that have lost their physiognomy, and therefore become readable in spaces that defy the rationale of urban planning, that are independent of mark and territory references. The megapolises’ abandoned buildings contain in their structure the intuition and its impossibility. They put parenthesis between two eras: a present-of-the-past and a future-of¬the-present. That is what puts post-urbanism on the horizon of twentieth-century metropolis: its permanent experience of discontinuity — discontinuity that is made by the reframing of scales that are no longer measured in kilometers or miles; a motion that does not happen in an invariable way, according to the laws of mechanics; a kind of displacement that operates the interaction existing between the poles of the physical city and the cyberspacial city, through connections that can revalidate the senses of pertinence and of distance, of project and ruin.

  • Giselle Beiguelman (Sao Paulo, Brasil, 1962) is a Ph.D. in History and Redactor at Universo Online. From 1985 to 1996 she worked for the Historcal Patrimony Department of Eletropaulo­Eletricidade de Sao Paulo S/A. During that period she was devoted to the study of the cultural impact of electricity in the urban society. Since 1994, she has been involved with CD-ROM and Internet production. She is new media coor­dinator of “Grupo de Intervencao Urbana – Projeto Arte/Cidade” (Urban Intervention Group), a non-profit organization of cul­tural producers responsible for projects of urban interven­tions in the city of Sao Paulo. Giselle Beiguelman wrote A Reptiblica de Hemingway (Perspectiva/EDUSP/ FAPESP, 1993) and directed Intervencbes Urbanas (hybrid CD-ROM, published by Grupo de Intervencao Urbana, 1997).
    artecidade.org.br      uol.com.br

Full text p.9-10