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Speculative rhythmanalysis

Rhythmanalysis is a method developed by Henri Lefebvre and Catherine Regulier to grasp the rhythms of everyday life in urban space through an embodied and historicized approach. The researcher basically uses her/his/their body to feel, sense, and join the rhythm while developing critical consciousness of its historical origins. Speculative Rhythmanalysis is a derived method that heads towards a progressive view of history, speculating on possible situations that do not exist yet but are very likely to exist if the underlying contradictions increase their tension.

This method has been developed for a book chapter that speculates on the future of the hyperconnected city. The chapter includes a design fiction on the privatization of public space, personal artificial intelligent agents, and the future of work.

The story depicted through dialogues within the chapter illustrates a dystopian future where citizens’ movements and social interactions are heavily monitored and controlled by a digital, omnipresent system. This system, represented by a personal assistant named Aleph, dictates the protagonist’s daily life, from waking hours to social engagements and work tasks. The narrative unfolds in a hyperconnected city where citizen points affect one’s social status, and every action is scrutinized for compliance with city algorithms. A sudden blackout disrupts this monitored existence, leading to a rare face-to-face interaction among neighbors, revealing the deep surveillance and control exerted over their lives. The blackout serves as a catalyst for questioning the protagonist’s reality and the nature of freedom in a surveillance-dominated society. This fictional narrative serves as a cautionary tale about the potential consequences of pervasive surveillance and the loss of privacy in future urban societies.


Firmino, R; Van Amstel, F.M.C; Gonzatto, R. F. (2018). Every breath you take: Captured movements in the hyperconnected city. In: Christoph Lindner and Miriam Meissner, The Routledge Companion to Urban Imaginaries. Routledge, London. DOI:

Categories: Methods & Tools.

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