Visiting Scholar Seminar: Michael Stone-Richards

The Phenomenology of Space and the Critique of Urbanism : Guy Debord and the Situationist International
Seminar, 10 April 1998


Visiting Scholar Michael Stone-Richards presents his research.

The purpose of my research is to situate Debord in the context of theories which regard the city as an organic entity, and particularly so because of the extraordinary emphasis paid to the dimension of temporality in the experience of the city. I pursue a perhaps surprising path: a study of the temporality of the city in the work of Marcel Poëte and his school which uncovered some telling structural analogies: the common rejection of the modern city constructed to facilitate the movement of the car, an analysis presented in terms of a common evaluation of the curve over the straight line; the use of new styles of maps and mappings to depict the dimensional experience of the city.

My argument, and this is the second aspect of the research, is that the phenomenology of urban space and temporality draws upon a philosophy of space that is not first and foremost to do with construction – for which reason there could not be, ultimately, any Situationist architecture – but with the relations between individual movement and buildings as temporally layered schemas. It is in this light that a systematic account of social memory in the work of Debord must be pursued.

Michael Stone-Richards is Assistant Professor in twentieth-century European art in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University.

Michael Stone-Richards was a Visiting Scholar at the CCA in 1997-1998.


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