The Funambulist

Monthly Archives: April 2011

Yesterday’s Huffington Post published an interesting article entitled Cloud Architecture  written by Carla Leitao, well known professor of architecture in New York and co-principal of the office AUM Studio with Ed Keller. Within this article, she advocates for an architecture that would be inspired by the cloud or the fog, as much for its blur than for its ability to reconfigure continuously its shape than it can actually be said to be… Read More

After having evoked a very literal vision of camouflage yesterday (see the article), the book entitled Camouflage written by Neil Leach in 2006 and published by the MIT Press, proposes a more philosophical way to interpret such notion. In this book, N.Leach interprets camouflage as a phenomenological survival strategy or masquerade that  questions the notion of the “self” and the “other”. It can be said to be a sort of treatise of… Read More

In 1942, after the United States entered the second world war and fearing the Japanese threat on the Pacific coast, an entire aircraft plant and airport -the Lockheed Burbank- has been camouflaged to escape from sight to potential Japanese airplanes. It is interesting to observe that, in order to do so, the US army had to ask for the help of Hollywood studios -WWII is probably the beginning of a long history… Read More

The last decade would have seen Europe experiencing a very important wave of xenophobia that are modifying our institutions in their very essence. As two current examples, Hungary is modifying its constitution in order to declare Christians as “normal citizens” and Italy and France are threatening Shenghen space to know who will have to take care of 20 000 Tunisian emigres who just fled their country. In this context, French alternative press… Read More

The following letter has been written by French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard to Arakawa and Madeline Gins in 1997. Their answer is readable in the fantastic book Reversible Destiny: We have decided not to Die published by the Guggenheim Museum in the same year. Dear Friends, Could one perhaps call your antidestiny architecture “antibiography”? Would the distribution of time between beginning and end be neutralized? Would the possibilities reserved for childhood remain open… Read More

On August 6-7th, in Rovinj (Croatia) will be held an incredible symposium organized by Alissa Andrasek and Bruno Juricic entitled Speculative Materialism. During two days, amazing speakers (Reza Negarestani, Ed Keller, Usman Haque, Francois Roche, Wolf Prix, Tom Kovac, Alissa Andrasek and so much more…) will expose one by one, how their work are more or less generated by materialism philosophy. Closer from now, my friend Andri Gerber, professor at the Ecole… Read More

picture: The donkey, the dwelling place and the rock by Laura Adams Armer extracted from Architecture and the Burdens of Linearity by Catherine Ingraham. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998. In 1992, Catherine Ingraham wrote a short essay entitled The Burdens of Linearity for the Chicago Institute of Architecture and Urbanism. Six years later she published a book with the same name that brought back this essay under the chapter’s name. The… Read More

pictures: Stephen Walter (above) and Sohei Nishino’s (below) maps of London Maps, in our imaginary, carry much more objectivity than they actually do in reality. We can probably explain that by the reliability that we put in them in order to locate ourselves in a city or in a country. However, just like the architect plan (another kind of map), maps are actually a form of representation that is characterized by just… Read More

all images are extracted from the book Pro Domo by Yona Friedman. Barcelona: Actar 2006 The understanding of Yona Friedman‘s work can be said to be disturbed by its popularity. His Ville Spatiale, just like Constant’s New Babylon, suffers from its architectural formalization that is immediately categorized as a 60’s megastructure that simply allows a second level to the existing city. Those prejudices are not helped by the fact that Yona Friedman… Read More

In the following essay, I would like to expose my interpretation of The Trial as written by Franz Kafka published after his death in 1925 and then adapted in a film by Orson Welles in 1962. The images in this article are extracted from this movie. The Trial carries all the characteristics of a dream. The fact that Joseph K. is in bed in the first line of the novel –he is… Read More

The Supurban Project is a thesis project in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s B.Arch program by Nick Axel (who now lives in Santiago, Chile). Located in Phoenix, Arizona it questions the status of suburbia as a inanimate grid by designing a megastructure inspired from the 70’s that breaks this grid and reactivate neighborhoods by linking them together and implementing new public spaces. One of the reasons of existence of Suburbia was in fact to… Read More

The following excerpt is the first lines of the novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami which describes the main character’s “journey” in an elevator so slow that he does not know if it goes up or down to eventually access a long neutral corridor of which the doors’ number do not follow each other. Somewhere between Kafka and Wong Kar Wai… Thank you Martin for the… Read More

After his very beautiful Manhattan Oneirocritica (see previous article) which was proposing a model of New York City including all the mythical buildings that were never built, Fredrik Hellberg makes me the honor of coming back on The Funambulist with one more brilliant project. His story DRAWING A KIMONO  新在英国日本国大使館 (A new Japan Embassy in London), introduces a narrative in which the guardian of the Embassy wears a Kimono that recounts the… Read More

A while ago, I published an important amount of images produced in 1972 by Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis, Madelon Vreisendorp,  and Zoe Zenghelis for their thesis at the Architectural Association. Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture, despite the reunification of West and East Berlin, remains an extremely powerful icon of the current urban design’s ideology. I never got the chance to publish the integral text of the project, owning a very… Read More

It became almost an habit on the Funambulist to publish projects created within the frame of the Unit 15 at Bartlett. This unit is lead by Nic Clear (see his manifesto) and the concerned project here has been created by the video virtuoso Paul Nicholls. His project, Royal Cabinets introduces a building of the British Royal Mail that stands like a wart on a Canary Wharf (London) office building. Two ideas of… Read More

picture: Joe Sacco. The Fixer. London: Drawn and Quarterly 2003 In 2009, Saskia Sassen was organizing a symposium at Columbia University entitled, Cities and the New Wars (see previous article) that was gathering intellectuals such as Stephen Graham or Eyal Weizman who presented brilliant lectures about how cities are affected by urban combat. Cities are the new battlefields for two mains reasons. The first one is related to the fact that many… Read More

Danish firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) just won the urban competition for the Master Plan of the Stockholmsporten, a new district in the Swedish capital city. Beyond the recurrent romanticism for the countryside in the city and the mythology of a tamed and benevolent nature that can be observe in almost every competitions now, what is striking in the project is the presence of a gigantic reflective sphere in the middle of… Read More

picture: Pickpocket by Robert Bresson (1959) On May 17th 1987, Gilles Deleuze gave a lecture at the FEMIS (most famous school of Cinema in France) that will remain famous. Talking to the students, he elaborates about what does “having an idea in cinema” means and what is an Act of Creation. The integral text in French and the videos of the lecture in French subtitled in English are available at the end… Read More

Zagreb Society of Architects, Think Space, after organizing a brilliant competition entitled Urban Borders (see the winners in a previous article), now launches another competition called Geopolitical Borders. This is a good opportunity for architects to question the notion of map and to explore the subjectivity of what we usually forget as being a creative way of representing the real. The jury is composed by the well known Teddy Cruz who is… Read More

I very recently watched for the first time (I know I know) Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa (1950) and was stunned by the introspection of cinema it constitutes. Here, it is probably important to notify purists that I will reveal important details of the movie, so people who would have not seen it yet, and who would keep an absolute innocence about it should not read what follows. Rashomon is a metaphorical movie… Read More