The Life of the City
Space, Humour and the Experience of Truth in Fin-de-Siecle Montmartre
Could the vitality of embodied experience create a foundation for a new form of revolutionary authority? This project, culminating in a book published with Ashgate in autumn 2014, aims to re-assess the early urban avant-garde movements that sought to re-imagine and reinvent the experiential life of the city.
Developing a new theoretical analysis of the relationships between biological life, urban culture, and modern forms of biopolitical ‘experiential authority’, the project traces the failed attempts of Parisian radicals to turn the ‘crisis of authority’ in late nineteenth-century Paris into an opportunity to invent new forms of urban commons. A comprehensive account of the spatial politics of the literary, artistic and anarchist groups that settled in the Montmartre area of Paris after the suppression of the 1871 Paris Commune, the project analyses the reasons why laughter emerged as the unlikely tool through which Parisian bohemians attempted to forge a new, non-representational biopolitics of sensation. Ranging from the carnivalesque performances of artistic cabarets such as the Chat Noir to the laughing violence of anarchist terrorism, this project aims to offer a timely analysis of the birth of a carnivalesque politics that remains highly influential in contemporary urban movements.
"Weaving together important historical research with the latest geographical thinking around non-representational approaches and the importance of affect, Brigstocke's book is an important event in cultural understanding ... This book will prove essential reading for all those interested in the city."
(Prof. Kevin Hetherington, Open University).