The Funambulist

Monthly Archives: January 2012

I recently wrote an article doing the inventory of resources one can find about this very special weaponized architecture that constitutes the barricade; that was before I read the book The Insurgent Barricade (University of California Press, 2010.)  written by Professor Mark Traugott as a series of (chronological) essays around this notion. M.Traugott, in an obsessive will for historians to determine an invention date for each technology, – as he recognizes it… Read More

Revolution in Cairo (January 2011) Photo by Mohammed Abed / AFP-Getty The following text is an abstract I wrote last August as a response to the call for papers organized by Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory (see previous article). I am neither a doctor in anything nor knows much about law but my paper was selected to participate to the forum. Unfortunately I did no have enough money to go all… Read More

Drawing by Alexander Brodsky & Ilya Utkin The Faculty of Architecture and Spatial Design at the London Metropolitan University is organizing a call for papers to participate to a symposium in November 2012 entitled Architecture and the Paradox of Dissidence. Keynote speakers already include Alexander Brodsky (see previous article), Keller Easterling (the author of Enduring Innocence), Felicity Scott (see previous article) and Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss. Although it is not written as such… Read More

King Kong meets the Gem of Egypt / Partially Buried Wood Shed. Image from Field Trips: Bernd and Hilla Becher / Robert Smithson. Porto: Museu Serralves In the chapter Threshole of the great book Formless: A User’s Guide, (Zone Books, 1997) Yve-Alain Bois addresses more specifically architecture to illustrates this concept created by Georges Bataille. I hope to make a review of the whole book sometimes soon, but for now I would… Read More

The magnificent movie Der Himmel Uber Berlin (strangely translated into Wings of Desire) released by Wim Wenders in 1987 is an ode to our humanity via the testimony of the weight of the bodies, but also the weight of life and history (in the individual and collective sense) that facilitates the enclosing of the self and the defiance of the other. As a taxi driver thinks in the film: Are there still… Read More

Since I left India where I used to live for a while, I wrote only one article about the multitude of interesting architectures that can be seen in this country. The book Steps to Water: The Ancient Stepwells of India written by Morna Livingston and published by the Princeton Architectural Press is a good excuse to come back to it. Stepwells are indeed one of the most fascinating typologies of Gujarati and Rajasthani… Read More

After the re-opening of Liberty Square following our numerous requests to the New York Department of Buildings (see previous article), whownspace started a new action to reclaim a public space that has been closed since September when it became known that the first occupation would precisely happen on this space: One Chase Manhattan Plaza. Since 2009, this space has been declared as a landmark and therefore requires a prior notice before any… Read More

Strangle Poise Lamp from the Red Goods collection by James Chambers (2010) After a month of absence on the Funambulist, the guest writers series is coming back with its 18th opus written today by Esther Sze-wing Cheung, principal of ESC Design and currently working with the Reversible Destiny Foundation (Arakawa/Gins). Her essay, entitled Twin (Technology / Art Induced) Architectural Daydreams is a mind peregrination triggered by two pieces of art she recently… Read More

The human swarm in Dante’s Divine Comedy by Gustave Doré Regular readers of the Funambulist have read about Eugene Thacker at least for the Cyclonopedia symposium he organized at the New School with Ed Keller and Nicola Masciandaro and the lecture he gave to it, Black Infinity; or, Oil Discovers Humans. In the following essay published by Culture Machine in 2007, he explores the notion of swarm, not only to the behavioral… Read More

Cover of the Routledge Edition of Purity and Danger Following my last post in which I was referencing few items that are helping me to write an essay about the landscapes of insurgencies, here is another one coming from another field of exploration but much closer to the topic that one might think at first sight. Purity and Danger is a book written by British Anthropologist Mary Douglas in 1966. This work… Read More

Barricade during the Paris Commune in 1871 I am currently writing an essay about “landscapes of insurgencies” across which the architectural typology of the barricade is, of course, predominant. This post will not be elaborating about this topic, since I am doing it in this essay, but rather gives a set of references specifically for the example of Paris  from the revolution of 1830 to the students and workers general strike in… Read More

It has been said many times that the most beautiful ballets are the ones that makes us forget the weight of the dancers’ bodies. With Pina Bausch, on the contrary, dance becomes a vehicle of celebration of this weight in its interaction with itself, the others’ and the environment. The film Pina by Wim Wenders (2011) is remarkable in this regard. It offers to the spectator another point of view on four… Read More

‘‘Life should be lived on the edge of life. You have to exercise rebellion: to refuse to tape yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge – and then you are going to live your life on a tightrope’’ Philippe Petit The Funambulist is one year old since it replaced the boiteaoutils. The following project, Highlines… Read More