Taina Rajanti

Senior researcher, Arki group, Media Lab, University of Art and Design Helsinki (FI)

The Art of Studying Wormholes. Exemplary instances of social production of space in post-fordist society

My basic question is what happens to how space is acted and experienced by social actors in their everyday practices, how is space produced and formed in postfordist society?

The traditional paradigm of space revolves around the concept of   'place' and a basic dichotomy of the familiar, known, human, local; and strange, unknown, inhuman, global. In the postfordist world the known and the unknown are intermingled everywhere without concrete borders, the unknown and strange is included in the places themselves. The paradigmatic spatial dichotomies cease to be relevant.

Instead, the spatial paradigm of postfordist society is 'wormholes', possibilities of jumping from one reality to another. The space is made up of the unknown punctured by sudden familiar places, networks of interaction and action that are not constructed on geographical proximity.

Wormholes are fantastic - but so is postfordist production in general. Material and immaterial intermingle, immaterial and imaginary become material elements of our reality. Postfordist production and technologies bring about a dissolution of things, places and experiences into intensities, flows and velocities, which are fundamentally material and non-human. How to study these "intensities, movement, meaningless flows and temporality"? How to capture precisely the flowing, moving and temporary character of postfordist production of space?

Taina Rajanti is Senior Researcher at the Helsinki University of Art and Design in Medialab, Arki-research group. She is Doctor of Political Sciences from the University of Helsinki with the thesis "The City is the Place of Man - A Study of Urban Life-Form"; and her main interest of research lies in the interface of urban anthropology and political sciences. She has studied the social production of space and spatial practices, and has also specialized in the works of Walter Benjamin, publishing articles and papers on the subjects. In addition she has worked at various Finnish Universities teaching sociology and as a researcher in cross-disciplinary international research projects dealing e.g. with embedded car-dependency, planning of urban green spaces and providing digital tools for citizen and city interaction. She has also stayed as visiting researcher at the universities of La Sapienza, Rome, University of Turin and University of Genoa. Her other interests include children's literature and William Shakespeare's plays, on which she has published essays.