Form, exform, and information in public space
If the urban tissue can be compared to a verbal text, how appropriate, then, do the linguistic disciplines prove in urban studies? This article briefly shows how morphology (Oliveira, 2016) and semantics (Benveniste, 1971) help us understand the city’s physical structures as well as the meaning these structures embody. Then follows a more substantial discussion of poetics (Ricœur, 1991) and its relevance to research on art in public space. An artistic intervention in public space may in fact appear as a poetic trope within the prosaic context of the city (De Certeau, 1988). Interrupting the smooth run of the urban machinery, it may re-inform what has become redundant. Thus, Marianne Heske’s House of Commons not only questions our definitions of form and exform (Bourriaud, 2016); in-forming an ex-form, it also questions the power of definition and other power structures inherent in the cityscape.
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