Territories of Intertextuality: A Transurban Perspective on City Form
Tutor: Jean-Louis Cohen

Since ancient times, cities have never ceased observing each other, as patterns and structures have been displaced across borders and oceans. The seminar will consider how most large cities contain fragments borrowed from others: Roman layouts have shaped Versailles and St. Petersburg, while “little Parises” have proliferated in Latin America or the Balkans.

Rather than tracking dubious “influences,” the history of these borrowings and translations will be considered on the base of concepts developed in literary theory, such as intertextuality, and on the base of their geometric principles. Whereas Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter had attempt to theorize the relationships between urban fragments by using the notion of collage, explored by Cubism, the seminar will investigate the potential of frottage, introduced by Surrealism.  Cities analyzed, either as sources of these migrations of urban forms, or as their recipients, will be among others—and in alphabetical order—Amsterdam, Berlin, Bucharest, Buenos Aires, London, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, St. Petersburg, and Vienna.