Exercises in Urban

an ogino:knauss project




Exercises in Urban Reconnaissance

Exercises in Urban Reconnaissance is a toolbox to examine and disentangle urban complexities. It is the result of the fragmented and rambling activity of the oginoknauss collective and its individual members, which produced across the years a constant drift among different languages, perspectives and disciplinary approaches to the urban. Started as an anthological project resuming dérives, seminars and artworks, it turned into a compendium of ways to investigate the urban, its territories, its meanings and interpretations.

EX takes the form of a collection of sixty-four different definitions of the word “city”, each based on a different concept or disciplinary approach, each accompanied by a related exercise for a spatial/conceptual exploration according to that specific perspective. True and complex in itself, every single definition of city is also simultaneously partial and unable to fully explain its object. The word “city” is adopted here more as a catalyser and a provocation than an object in itself: the essential irreducibility of the complexities it implies and reconnects is exactly the only possible focus of the project.

In this interactive web device the sixty-four keywords are arranged and displayed as a circle encompassing the urban field and delineating a cognitive territory open to exploration and discussion. The definitions are linked each other in the text and in the website, allowing the reader/explorer to circumnavigate and intersect the multiplicity of connections between morphological, cultural, economical, political, psychological (etcetera…) factors influencing urban life, determining its form and defining its discourse.

The sixty-four keywords serve as the starting point for as many exercises proposed to the reader, challenged to observe, assess and represent the urban context from a specific perspective, and to single out particular elements, rhythms or systems concurring in the production of the overall urban identity. Each exercise considers the necessity of maintaining a holistic gaze on the complexity of urban reality. At the same time, each suggests the adoption of a specific vantage point to bring depth and contrast to vision.

Finally, each chapter is accompanied by notes, images and graphic suggestions from the authors’ travelogues. They are not meant to provide a complete elaboration, but instead to slightly suggest possible interpretations of the exercise. These are fragments from a divagation around planetary urbanization, attempts at capturing the city’s breath. They are simultaneously excerpts from a biographical account of interests and passions, and lived and productive experiences. Some of these explorations have been fully developed, others are merely a draft or something imagined.


Exercises in Urban Reconnaissance

An ogino:knauss project

Text: Lorenzo Tripodi
Editing: Paul David Blackmore
Graphic design: Manuela Conti
Web development: Sergio Segoloni


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