Online Seminar: “Space Semiotics. Design, architecture, urbanism, landscaping” (April 17th, 2023)


+ Isabel Marcos and Carlos Farate | Why Thom? What’s Territorial psychoanalysis (Significant Design), France & Portugal

+ Claudio Guerri | Why Peirce? (Buenos Aires University), Argentina 

Monday 17th April 2023

16:00 – 19:00pm (Paris time GMT + 2)

Conference Zoom Link

NOTE: There will be two conferences, each consisting of one hour followed by half an hour of discussion between all participants. In this first meeting, the organizers will present their own points of view on these subjects to initiate the presentation and discussions.



Isabel Marcos & Carlos Farate

The objective of this article is to develop an heuristic dialogue between psychoanalysis and Thomian semiotics (René Thom, Fields Medal 1958) in order to build the theoretical foundations of a new interdisciplinary domain: territorial psychoanalysis. The key concept of the approach is the notion of border, taken simultaneously as threshold and boundary in an inner and outer intersubjective “double-boundary” (Green, Bleger) that acts on both the psychic (individual) and the physico-symbolic (urban) stances of human experience. The concept of psychic trauma (Pitié) and socio-cultural trauma (Salpêtrière), apprehended from the original Freudian theorization reworked by Ferenczi, Balint and other psychoanalysts, makes a bridge, enacts ‘sinthome’, between subject and inhabited space, through a topology that binds, unbinds and rebinds, in ‘après-coup’, Real (fragmented/atomized sensual body, dysphoric space/rejection), Imaginary (ego splitting/symptom, repulsive attractor/dam) and Symbolic (psychic change and site transformation). Finally, the concepts of psychogenesis, morphogenesis, vortex, symptom/gradient, vacuum, border, pregnancy and salience issued from each of the disciplinary fields constitute the epistemological foundations of territorial psychoanalysis.


Claudio Guerri

This is a legitimate question that we can ask ourselves in a context where the Saussurian-Greimasian dyadic verbal sign is still dominant. However, for those of us who work in Architecture, Design, or Morphology, we cannot avoid taking into consideration the Vitruvian triad of three aspects: firmitas, utilitas and venustas, which after 2000 years has not been overthrown. The alternative would be  a proposal made by a well-known architect at the Kaunas Congress in 2017: “Vitruvius and Alberti propose triads, Greimas a dyad… let’s eliminate construction!” I argue that the triadic logic: Design, Construction and Habitability, adaptable to all Design disciplines, takes into consideration the Peircean categories Firstness/Form, Secondness/Existence and Thirdness/Value. On the other hand, it is well known that Peirce, the father of logic-based semiotics, never carried out any analysis using his own classification of signs. 150 years after his first proposals, I consider it valid to propose a semiotic operative model – the Semiotic Nonagon, as an effective tool for qualitative research. In turn, I will use the semiotic nonagon to consider the agentive capacity of the three graphic languages: Perspective (conic projections), Monge system (orthogonal projections) and TDE Graphic Language (relational projections) as a new third language.

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We can answer your questions about our seminar on April 24th at 16:00 (Paris time). Send us your questions by April 23rd to the following email address:

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