What does it mean to get lost?

In order for someone to get lost, this pers-one needs to have a pre-established direction or aim. One gets lost when the path from A to B “disappeared” or got “confused” from one moment to the other; furthermore, one gets lost when one has a pre-constructed path from A to B, when one thinks of space in terms of A and B. The structure that distributed/codified space fades out the moment we get lost. Being lost presupposes a beginning and an end. The conscious feeling of being lost follows a bipolar and linear logic that codifies spaces as finalized entities within themselves. One, as a user of the city, goes from point A to point B, and thinks of oneself as a unit separated from the city. There is a pre-established logic of the configuration of space, a stratification of directions and points of arrival. The moment we get lost in a city we feel anxious, we fear to be in the “wrong” direction that leads “nowhere”; suddenly the path was disrupted, fragmented in a multiplicity of spaces. Between A and B there are n(An-1  Bn-1). There is no univocal space, and getting lost shows that.


What if we were not to think of the space in the city as a network of paths but rather as a plane of consistency in Deleuzian terms, where intensities and becomings occur? If we think of the urban space as a rhizomatic one, a space that has no hierarchical structure, no beginnings and no ends, we then can think of new ways of living the city in terms of territorialization and de-territorialization. The city as a rhizome has no “logical” structure, it is multiple in the true sense of multiplicity “[…] any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other, and must be.” There are multiple paths to get to B, and getting lost opens these paths. Broken directions are a glimpse of a rhizomatic model. A rhizome can be perpetually mapped, it cannot be traced. “A map has multiple entryways, as opposed to the tracing, which always comes back to the same”.

Getting lost shows the crack of the structure, allows the broken directions. It gives us a glimpse on a chaos-mos constructed by lines and intensities. Loosing one-self means to de-structure a preconceived self that was built on the basis of power relations, loosing space means to de-codify it in terms of power, of centralization. Being lost means being in between. “Between things does not designate a localizable relation going from one thing to the other and back again, but a perpendicular direction, a transversal movement that sweeps one and the other away, a stream without beginning or end that undermines its banks and picks up speed in the middle.”




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