The word does anomaly come from the Greek ἀν and ὁμαλός, that is to say ‘not equal’, that does not conform to the general rule, the norm, the habitual behavior. In the area of the physical sciences, for example, it represents any variation with regard to a model of reference, in linguistics it indicates the irregularity in the conjugation of a verb, in astronomy it designates the particularity of the movement of a star.
What meaning and has use the word anomaly when the subject of the speech is the human being? Which is the model of reference who has legitimacy to be used as term to define what is anomalous? The one who does define, in every situation, the limit between an anomalous behavior and ‘the not anomalous’ one, an anomalous idea and ‘not anomalous’?
The word anomaly has a narrow relation with the word normality – that comes from the Latin norm, the set square that was serving to measure if the angles were straight – and with the word it rules – her rēgŭla that it was serving to plan lines, of there the figurative meaning of rule-. Some questions arise:
And if curved lines want to be planned? If there is discovered that the ideas prove not to be measurable?
It is evident that in the infinite ways of living through the life there are no rules or absolute and real procedure. It is evident that any person who assumes the right to define which are the valid ideas and which are the correct ways hides, behind the falsehood of the morality and the good of other one, the defense of personal prejudices or the privileges of a corporation. Often this behavior hides the disability to live fullly through the life on the part of some.
The cities have managed to be the key place in which our modern life develops, after the almost total conquest of the space and consequent destruction of the nature on the part of the man. The contemporary city, his organization, his form, are the reificación of our ideas.
How is the arbitrary concept of anomaly projected in the spatial area? How does the will to conform to the rules established by a fictitious majority, form the city?
Looking at the geography of a metropolis anyone, one notices that the result of the projection is always the same one: mute islands, confined spaces, barriers. On the one hand the spaces of the exile – materialized in jails, psychiatric structures, camps for the nomadic peoples, centers for persons who have decided to live in another country, centers for minor or major, all places in which a group of persons restrict others to living / dying, always losing the freedom, on the basis of beginning, ideas or personal prejudices transformed into acts of restriction and estigmatización – and the hidden spaces – the popular neighborhoods, the smelly zones, the zones of border, the lost areas of the cities – places in which the persons are indirectly obliged to the isolation, to hide his anomaly, persons who do not want to use the set square to measure, that want to live planning curved, personal, rash lines.
For other one there are the spaces of the voluntary and unconscious exile – residential blocks with safety chambers, malls, hypermarkets, fitness clubs, resorts – that reveal the inability to live fullly through the life on the part of an increasing number of persons, that from the first years of what is called an education – or the obligatory school – they have moved away from his own center. A mechanical and constant search of an anesthesia to the life, to the contradiction, which is precisely what characterizes the life.
Life and contradiction that they require anomalous spaces, that they should question in an obscene way the current norm. Human spaces, of meeting, refuge, experimentation, test, disorganized, chance, naïf, visceral, dark, acráticos, vague, questionable, nomadic, carnal, cathartic.
Author of the blog Perspectivas Anómalas
Barcelona, January 2016
Viaje en el espacio físico de la ciudad, las ideas que lo crean, la materialidad que lo compone, las excepciones y desviaciones que proponen posibilidades nuevas.
Wayward Wandering es teórico de la arquitectura. Colabora con varios medios en el ámbito del pensamiento crítico y es consultor de la Universidad de Edimburgo en el área de las artes y la arquitectura.