This City and Another


  • Juhan Maiste



order, chaos, art, another, différance


The article examines the notion of city in its two expressions. In the first, reader is introduced to the analytic method and its Vitruvian source. In the second, several possibilities of phenomenological approaches are weighed and the Cartesian cogito discourse together with its cognitive framework is re-conceptualized and a new approach is posited. In the Classical conception of time, its beginning was an indivisible entirety (apeiros) that Chaos separated from, then with the help of gods, moon, stars, and planets were born from the Chaos. The precondition for the Renaissance school of perspective and for plans of the ideal city, is order and geometry that helps man to create his own world, to give an idea a form and signify man-made things. The author attempts to extend the genius loci, a notion previously employed by Christian Norberg-Schultz, based on preceding work in the tradition of classical  phenomenology from Immanuel Kant and Martin Heidegger onward, the semiotic aspect of perception found in Yuri Lotman’s work is integrated with the phenomenological thought of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Paul Ricoeur.  Also, Jacques Derrida has a prominent place in the text, the author owes him the primary example – treatment of the University City in its visible and hidden extensions. Together these extensions express the difference between two poles of knowledge – united in the notion différance.

Juhan Maiste is professor and Head of Department of Art History at the University of Tartu. As a prolific writer he has authored a large number of of monographs and articles on architecture, classicism, cultural heritage, the philosophy and poetics of art history. Also among his scholarly interests have been Estonian and Livonian manor architecture, the phenomenon of park landscapes as well as the work of Johann Wilhelm Krause. In addition to teaching and research, professor Maiste curates the publication of the Baltic Journal of Art History.


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