The Space of Potential: Presence, Non-Presence and Potential in Aldo Rossi’s Analogical City

Cameron McEwan*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In this article, I approach the concept of presence by linking Aldo Rossi’s analogical city with Paolo Virno’s ideas on potential, non-presence, and presence. The first part of the article reflects on Rossi’s analogical city. I focus on what Rossi calls the “removal in space” of Palladio’s architecture in a painting by Canaletto; and a note in Rossi’s A Scientific Autobiography where Rossi describes the “void” of drawing, which I interpret in the register of non-presence and potential. The second part of the article focuses on Virno’s idea of potential and act, and the relationship of those categories to presence, non-presence, and critique. I focus on Virno’s lesser known book, Déjà vu and the End of History, in which Virno argues that the temporal aspect of “splitting” opens a space, a void. In the third part, I transpose Virno’s ideas onto Rossi’s and read them together. I argue that the analogical city articulates the possibility for thinking about the city, the subject, and the world otherwise. It may lead to a more egalitarian and critical architecture of the city.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-93
Number of pages3
JournalInflection: Journal of the Melbourne School of Design
Volume08
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

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