pompeii grafitti, invert, grey

A tracing of graffiti from a column in the House of Lucretius, Pompeii (Vesuvius AD 79). ‘labyrinthus hic habitat minotaurus’, Trollope suggests, was intended to mean ‘here lives a great beast’. Presumably the writer (Lucretius) was referring to him/herself.


Psychoanalysis is quite unlike any other form of interpretation. When it is working well, the patient talks non-sense and the analyst does not listen. More at: free association, free floating attention, free plan.


Architects use architecture to shield themselves from the terrifying proximity of reality. [C. McEwan]


The stage upon which desire plays itself out.

Architecture Parlante

A challenge laid down by Claude Nicolas Ledoux (1736-1806), 200 years avant la lettre: is there an architecture adequate to the talking cure? More at: parletre

The City

A category of human inhabitation related to the reality of a way of life; not an instrumental field of quantifiable flows of money, services, resources,…, which, in any case, is nought but the figments of a quantifiable imagination. Different from other categories like countryside or fiction or wasteland, which we also inhabit. A way of life involves love and death [love-hate, enemy-friend, individual-collective, production-exchange, life-death].


Words and images collaborate, to think together what they cannot think alone.

Collective psychosis

Like Rossi’s collective memory, except instead of recuperating the enduring forms of the city (= the signifiers of the city which make our lives meaningful and make inhabitation possible), it generates the endless repetition of urbanisation (= empty signifiers).


When the motel says ‘no vacancies’ at 2 o’clock in the morning. When your life says ‘no vacancies’.


Language is a labyrinth, only you never escape it till you die.


There is only ever one path, it is continuous, you never leave it, and you never know where it is going.


The principle function of management is to alienate workers from their labour. The best demonstration of management is what is happening to students and teachers at Universities.

Meaning and Sense

Meaning is imaginary sense, sense is the landscape whose landmarks orient you for action.


That shifting murky surface, out of which sense emerges, and to which it returns.


The art of interior decoration. It conforms to the principle of it feels good.


An imaginary space. Place receives its placeness from experience, and not the other way around. [C. McEwan]. Space is a symbolic category, which means that it is – in common parlance – a component of reality. Place is a figment of the imagination of the commodity capitalist, who seeks to find a market for everything. Place is marketable. Space is not.


A critique of le plan libre and its ideologies – or – plasterboard Il Redentores, take your pick. Venturi would say ‘both and’.


What can be sold. What can be marketed and sold, at the very least, what has a web page. Commodity capitalism is in the business of making things real.


The real is that bit of reality that is always in abeyance, awaiting our attention. Lacan calls it a missed encounter with the real. Koolhaas calls it detailing: the slap-dash detail reminds us what and where the real is. It is not reality that is slap-dash, far from it: the real erupts at the edges of an otherwise serene reality. Koolhaas details the edges of reality.


The space that erupts within the fabric of the city.


A place to put an idea.


The representation of a subject within the fabric of the city.


The precondition for architecture and subjects. We know there is space because if there weren’t, we wouldn’t be (here or anywhere) to know it. Neo liberal commodity capitalism seeks to make space ‘real’ by commodifying it as place so that it can be marketed and sold. Space is not intangible, it is just not marketable. Unlike space, place has no place in architecture.


Le Corbusier, ‘There is no such thing as primitive man, only primitive technology.’

Thinking Machine

The polymathic botanist-planner Patrick Geddes was able to articulate conceptual frameworks for change, machines for thinking society|space… city|region… urban|rural…


Nietzsche, ‘I philosophize with a hammer.’


After gathering the twigs, the bird must construct its nest.


Like Baltimore (Lacan). Like Rome (Freud). Choose your unconscious.


Philip Johnson said ‘Architects are whores.’


Please leave proposals for new definitions in the comments box, and I will post them as appropriate.


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