The Funambulist

Monthly Archives: July 2011

photograph by Julia King In last February, the NY Times wrote a (bad) article about a very interesting skyscraper in Caracas, the Torre de David,  that seems to carry a good analogy with the current Venezuelan situation since Hugo Chavez has been elected since 1999. In fact this 150 meter tall building is currently hosting about 2500 squatters who find in it, a good way to dwell in this housing crisis time…. Read More

picture: still from The Trial by Orson Welles (adapted from Kafka) The article Power, Violence, Law, written by Antiphon on Critical Legal Thinking in 2009, establishes the relationships that those three notions maintain between each other. It quotes Walter Benjamin who wrote that violence both founds and preserve the law by respective processes of insurrection -that violates the law but retroactively justify it-  and establishment -that implement the law for their own… Read More

…withdrawn at the author’s request (December 22nd 2011)

Whoever has seen the result of one of the hundreds of urban idea competitions probably noticed the popularity of projects that introduced urban farms that most of the time consist in overlapping fields on floors one by one with at best (or at worst, I guess) a sexy aesthetic (both for the tower and its representation) as a selling strategy. Those projects are clearly in accordance with the elaboration of a new… Read More

image from BLDG BLOG I recently ran into a three years old article that Geoff Manaugh wrote for his BLDG BLOG about the peculiar legal status of the town of Baarle-Hertog. In fact, this city embedded into Dutch territory is fragmented into several pieces of land that belong to respectively Belgium or Netherlands. Because those territories are situated in the center of the Schengen space, this fragmented legal status does not imply… Read More

CORUSCANT — Obi-Wan Kenobi, the mastermind of some of the most devastating attacks on the Galactic Empire and the most hunted man in the galaxy, was killed in a firefight with Imperial forces near Alderaan, Darth Vader announced on Sunday. Those sentences are extracted from an article of the very popular liberal newspaper, the Galactic Empire Times after that Darth Vader announced the death of the enemy number 1, leader of the… Read More

About three weeks ago, The Funambulist and Dpr-Barcelona both released reflections about Aristide Antonas‘ last project, the Zizek Residence, giving their interpretation of this house of seclusion for one to step back from the world in order to work and think. While Ethel Baraona Polh and Cesar Reyes were writing about the notions of heterotopia, networks and envelopes, I was myself questioning the architectural model of the Ivory Tower and evoking the… Read More

It took me a while to decide to publish this article as my appreciation for the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum, Savage Beauty is as great as my inability to write something consistent about it. In fact, the exhibition manages well to maintain this feeling as the fascinating work is counter balanced by some flat quotes from McQueen himself that do not help us to interpret his work in a… Read More

The fourth chapter of the Guest Writers Essays series is written by Fredrik Hellberg whose amazing projects at the Architectural Association have been published twice here (and one more soon to come). His Manhattan Oneirocritica was bringing to life all the glorious monuments (Gaudi, Rudolph, Superstudio etc.) that have been designed for New York yet have never been built, while his project for a Japanese Embassy in London was drawn directly on… Read More

First of all, I would like to say that this article is not an indictment against the three “new” episodes (I, II & III) of Star Wars; on the contrary of a lot of people, I think that those films brings something extremely interesting to the saga, which is the retroactive construction of a myth (I still remember my shiver in theater at the end of the Episode III, when we observe… Read More

The very useful tumblr Concrete Rules and Abstract Machines recently chose an excerpt of the course Gilles Deleuze gave about Spinoza in the wonderful University of Vincennes in 1981. I copied this excerpt below and its original version in French.  This short text questions the notion of body and outline as interpreted by the Stoics that can be considered as a base for Spinoza’s question What can a body do?. The sentence… Read More

picture: The History of Landscape by Huang Yan The word, Shanshui in Chinese by associating mountain and water signifies landscape. The beautiful book Shanshui: Poetry Without Sound edited by Peter Fischer & the Kunstmuseum Luzern (Switzerland) in collaboration with Ai Wei Wei  and published by Hatje Cantz gathers an important amount of Chinese contemporary artists that deals with the notion of landscape at the same time than questioning the subject of the Chinese… Read More

Nick Learoyd (of Plagiarism is Necessary), was kind enough to bring my attention on a very recent project created within the frame of the Diploma Studio 6 (see previous article) at the Architectural Association tutored by Liam Young (see previous article) and Kate Davies. This project which allies both an interesting narrative and a beautiful representation has been designed by Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu and has been entitled GravityONE. His project, which I invite… Read More

The third chapter of this guest writers essays series comes from a regular of The Funambulist, Martin Byrne (see previous articles 1, 2, 3 & 4 or see below the essay) whose projects always take their essence from the notions of decay, dirt and human emancipation. In the following essay, he explores the neologisms of kipple and gubble invented by Philip K. Dick in his literary work. The Funambulist Papers 03 ///… Read More

picture: The Void by R&Sie(n) 2005 In 2009, the South African film District 9 popularized a type of cinema that is interesting to question and put in relation with architecture: the docu-fiction. In order to please a broader audience, District 9  unfortunately gave up the technique in the middle of the narrative to come back to a more Hollywood-like type of movie, but the effect remains interesting in what it manages to… Read More

During the 1930’s, the United Kingdom wanted to reinforce its defense system against the growing antagonism that would end up in the Second World War. That is how they invented the RADAR (RAdio Detection And Ranging) but before such achievements, they experimented an architectural system on the Kent coast that would allow an early warning of potential enemy planes and bring an idea of their directions. Those monumental sound mirrors were reflecting… Read More

There is always something highly disturbing in the dehumanized interest architects can have in elements of tragedies when the latter does not concern their world. However, what happened to those trees in the province of Sindh in Pakistan during the 2010 flooding that killed about 2 000 people, must have surprised even the inhabitants of this region themselves. In fact, in order to run away from the water, an amazing amount of… Read More

Last May, The School of Law at Birkbeck College (London) organized a Disobedience Workshop to which I would have personally loved to assist ! One of the panel, written by Dr. Lucy Finchett-Maddock  has been transcript on the excellent Critical Legal Thinking and Lucy was kind enough to allow me to transcript it here as well. Her text can also be introduced by what might remain as the most famous book about… Read More

The second guest writer for this essay series is Nikolas Patsopoulos, Greek architect and who recently graduated from the post-professional Master in Pratt Institute with his thesis project Parallaxis, that I have been publishing earlier on. In this address to Francis Fukuyama, famous for his thesis that the neo-liberal capitalist system constitutes the “end of history”, Nikolaos mixes descriptions of the European revolts and Arab revolutions with ideas from authors like David… Read More

Donatien de Sade (1740-1814), more famous for his title, Marquis, is the author of one of the most subversive literature work of history. His name even enters the common vocabulary by being associated to a pathological behavior that takes pleasure in one’s suffering: sadist. However, this word has lost a bit of its original inspiration from Sade’s work since then. What the Marquis de Sade describes in his books, is not so… Read More