The Funambulist

Monthly Archives: May 2011

Upcoming this week (June 2nd and3rd), is a probably very interesting symposium organized by the Center for Design and Geopolitics at the University of California – San Diego. The symposium is entitled Designing Geopolitics and include various speakers such as Ed Keller, Manuel de Landa, Benjamin Bratton, Geoff Manaugh, Teddy Cruz and Hernan Diaz Alonso (both of them being in the same panel, believe me or not !). Here is the schedule… Read More

Modernist Architecture is characterized by a thaumaturgic (talent of miraculously curing) ambition which would heal the “diseases” of individuals and society. Although this ambition appears as obsolete and slightly ridiculous nowadays, after several decades of post-modernism that constituted in denying any other power of architecture than a merely aesthetic one. However, my thesis, that I have been developing though a reasonable amount of articles on this blog, is that architecture does certainly… Read More

picture by Anthony Suau TDR journal published by the MIT Press just released its summer issue in which one can read an interesting article written by Tamara Underiner (professor at Arizona State) about a Caminata Nocturna (Night Walk in Spanish), strange event taking place every week in the Mexican countryside. Her article Playing at Border crossing in a Mexican Indigenous Community…Seriously in fact describes a Mexican indigenous community which weekly reconstitutes the… Read More

I did not have much time to write long articles lately…I apologize for that and leave you with one of the most beautiful illustration of a funambulist I know. This beautiful illustration has been created by Russian artists/architects Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin (see previous article) extracted from the just as much beautiful monography: Brodsky & Utkin: complete works. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2003.

It now became an habit on the Funambulist to follow one of the (too) rare fair and interesting idea competition organized by the Zagreb Society of Architects and curated by Eva Franch: Think Space. The first competition was entitled Urban Border with a topic proposed by Shohei Shigematsu and I got to publish the winners’ project Demotown designed beautifully by Jesse Honsa & Gregory Mahoney. The second competition, Geopolitical Borders (see previous article)… Read More

Arne Quinze continues his obsessive beautiful work on the tracks of Tadashi Kawamata and Yona Friedman. This new installation will be soon visible at the Lousiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk (Denmark) from June 1st to October 2nd. My Home my House my Stilthouse & my safe Garden is an investigation of the notion of domesticity and neighborhood. Each “building” is, as always, architecturally recounting its own fragility and self-construction.

One of the element that created modernism is the introspection accomplished by artistic disciplines for what they really are, followed by the expression of such look on itself. This introspection has been set in motion much before the XXth century, notably in painting (and very likely in literature too). My weak knowledge would place Rembrandt and Velasquez as precursors, respectively with the Artist in his Studio (1628) and Las Meninas (1656) which… Read More

“Are intolerable: High courts, cops, hospitals, asylums, school, military service, press, TV, the State and primarily prisons.“ Groupe d’Information sur les Prisons In my last article about Antonin Artaud and Vincent Van Gogh, I was evoking the issue of psychiatry being society’s mean of “suiciding” some of its undesired components. Today, I want to evoke an issue that is similar to some extents. I recently read that France has currently 65 000… Read More

In 1947, one year after having spent nine years in psychiatric hospitals, Antonin Artaud published a beautiful book as an apologia of Vincent Van Gogh, “suicided by society” like every other visionaries that has been categorized as mad. Artaud, fifteen years before Michel Foucault, affirms that madness has been created by psychiatric medicine and not the other way around. He accuses doctors and Van Gogh’s brother Theo, to have, not only ignored,… Read More

After writing a (too) short article about war and the city, now is one about too books that, each in its way, question the relationship of Art and War. The first one is entitled Rituals of War. The Body and Violence in Mesopotamia and is published by Zainab Bahrani for the great Zone Books (distributed by the MIT Press) in 2008. The book starts by this powerful sentence, War is organized violence… Read More

After the video of David Harvey (see previous article) here is the RSA Animate video for Slavoj Zizek‘s speech at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Zizek’s lecture, First as a Tragedy then as a Farce is associated with his book of the same name (2009) and is now well known by the public but the brilliant illustration of the RSA Animate makes it very didactic, concise… Read More

It seems to me that there are two kinds of true horror. There is the absolute relentlessness of the real that is felt through the built-up realms of rationality. However, there is another type of true horror, the one that escape from this rationality and belong to the domain of dream. No need here to dissociate dreams and nightmares as this terminology is only specified retrospectively when the dream is over and… Read More

“If, in middle-eastern tradition, gods deliberately allow themselves to be killed left and right by enemies, humans, or themselves without any prudence as to their future and eventual extinction, it is because they find more significance and benefit in their own corpes –as a concrete object of communication and tangibility among humans- than in the abstractness of their divinity. At last, as corpes, they can copulate and contaminate.” Negarestani Reza. CYCLONOPEDIA. Complicity… Read More

Almost exactly 140 years ago, in March 1871, Paris was declaring its independence from defeated Napoleon III’s France and creating, for three months, what Karl Marx called the only real socialist society of history. I already evoked this historical event through the writings of Blanqui (see the essay Processes of smoothing and striation of space in urban warfare) and the book written by Kristin Kross about Rimbaud and La Commune and soon… Read More

I already evoked in a previous article the very good website Arena of Speculation edited by Ahmad Barclay, Nina Kolowratnik, Tashy Endres. This website gathers and edit articles focusing on the territoriality of the Palestinian struggle. In this regard, the last one, released on May 1st is a text written by Gaza activist, Sami Kishawi who mix personal memories, history of the Rafah crossing (the access point on the border between Gaza… Read More

The DMZ Game is a project I should have published last year, but for some practical reasons, that is only now, one year after it has been first presented that I am able to introduce it. This Undergraduate Thesis project has been designed by Won Sok Choi for a studio at Pratt tutored by Yael Erel and Christoph Kumpusch, studio that had already produced the beautiful Circus designed by Guillermo Bernal (see… Read More

This project is probably the most problematic that I got to publish so far. In one of the most current articles, about the book Camouflage written by Neil Leach, I evoked the chapter entitled Sacrifice in which he recounts the tale of Master Manole who imprisoned his wife within the wall that he was building. This architectural narrative (which was presented as a book and made it to the finals of 2010… Read More