The Funambulist

Monthly Archives: February 2012

One should not restrain Gaza’s economy to the simple clandestinity, and by extension, one should certainly not assume that every inhabitant of Gaza is involved in the resistance against the Israeli blockade they have to suffer from.  That is to say that the photos in this article do not depict the common life that people of Gaza experiences every day. However, such economy does exists and allows the importation of goods from… Read More

“audiocassette“ cover for i-phone 4 I am always happy to have non-architects participating to this guest writers series (see the essays by Lucy Finchett-Maddock, Maryam Monalisa Gharavi and Raja Shehadeh) and that is the case again this week thanks to Linnéa Hussein and her essay Old Media’s Ressurection. She recently finished her Master in Film Studies at Columbia University and will  soon start a PhD in the same discipline. She was also a… Read More

Australian Artist Stelarc recently gave a lecture at the Architectural Association in London entitled Circulating Flesh: The Cadaver, the Comatose and the Chimera. For about an hour an half, he allows us to explore thirty years of his work entirely dedicated to the human body, its abilities, its limits and its potential voluntary transformation via technology. From his work in the 80’s in which he was hanging his body with hoists directly… Read More

Factory Fifteen (see previous post) just released their new film that they shot during Liam Young and Kate Davies’ Unknown Fields 2011 in Chernobyl (Ukraine) and Baikonur (Kazakhstan). Gamma is a sort of short pseudo documentary depicting a future in which numerous zones of the earth needs to be deradiated after a decade of nuclear war.  As always in a capitalist world, this kind of public health operations are achived by private… Read More

Perry Hall: Tidal Empire (Coral Painting), 2011. Oil, acrylic and custom paints filmed live using a RED Epic digital cinema camera. Carla Leitão dedicated her monthly contribution to the Huffington Post to a short conversation with American artist Perry Hall who brought to painting as well as other mediums, a whole new materialist approach that confuse mean and content in a fascinating expression of paint for its physical property and behavior. By… Read More

New German Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia by FAR Frohn&Rojas (2009) For the second time, I find the architectural behavior of FAR (Frohn & Rojas) highly debatable. The first time was when they started to sell in series their plans of the Wall House they designed in 2004 to be reproduced anywhere in the world. This second time focuses on the proposal they made in 2009 for the new German Embassy in Belgrade… Read More

Exceptions to Environmentalism: Industrial Harbour Avilés Our friend from Deconcrete, Daniel Fernández Pascual wrote this week’s guest writer essay in which he questions the idea of sovereignty on territories that remain legally blurry. Indeed, the paradigm of the two-dimensional map cannot be enough anymore to describe lands (sky, underground, space, other planets etc.) whose sovereignty had never necessitated to be discussed in another way than theoretically in the past. Our era opens… Read More

Mangold Tom and Penycate John, The Tunnels of Cu Chi. New York: Random House, 1985 The Tunnels of Cu Chi is a book written by Tom Mangold & John Penycate in 1985 focusing on a specific aspect of the Vietnam war which lead the U.S. Army to loose it. The technological and human asymmetry was nevertheless striking but such subterranean complexes allowed the Viet Cong to organize a strong resistance against the… Read More

Abu Dis, Judith s., December 2003 The Israeli women of MachsomWatch who struggle against the colonial apparatuses of movement control in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, have monitored in photos and videos the physicality of their government/army’s politics and thus assembled an important data base. Their Israeli citizenship allows them indeed to observe more closely the actions of the military as well as the implementation of various obstacles that have been… Read More

Seher Shah Object Relic This week’s guest writer is Alexis Bhagat., co-author with Lize Mogel of An Atlas of Radical Cartography (Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Press) whose  upcoming Spanish publisher is nobody else than our friends of dpr-barcelona. Alexis’ essay is written in the form of questions to the artist Seher Shah who already kindly agreed to write her responses in another guest writer essay that should be released soon. In… Read More

I recently posted a note about the Béla Tarr retrospective that the Lincoln Center organized in New York. This occasion gave me the opportunity to add to Damnation and the Harmonies Werckmeister, a third movie from him that fascinated me both for its content and its technicality: The Turin Horse. The Turin Horse refers to the horse that Nietzsche one day saw being beaten to death by its master and that he… Read More

Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra In their Treatise on Nomadology, Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari introduce their concept of Holey Space (see previous article) by the following injunction: Metallurgical India. Transpierce the mountains instead of scaling them, excavate the land instead of striating it, bore holes in space instead of keeping it smooth, turn the earth into Swiss cheese. Deleuze Gilles & Guattari Felix, Treatise of Nomadology – The War Machine in A… Read More

Few days ago I wrote an open-letter to Patrik Schumacher in reaction to an article he wrote in which he doubted that architecture could be a site of radical political activism as well as affirming that architects are neither legitimised, nor competent to argue for a different politics or to ‘disagree with the consensus of global politics’ . This letter was followed by an impressive sum of comments which, for most of them,… Read More

Document from the ‘Plan Local d’Urbanisme‘ of Paris  illustrating the fragmentation of the complex in many property lots This article constitutes the third and last part of a series about this Hausmannian social housing complex in Paris : – Read Part 1 – Read Part2 As I wrote in the first part of this series, this 19th century Proletarian Citadel has lost its identity as a whole and became fragmented into many… Read More

This article is a sequel of a first one written on January 7th 2012. I would like today to follow yesterday’s assimilation of what I called a Proletarian Citadel within Paris to a solid mass incised by two streets and punched by a multitude of more or less narrow courtyards. While walking on the roof of this mass, one could imagine being actually on the top of a fantastic subterranean complex looking… Read More

Photograph by Yann Arthus-Bertrand I recently rediscovered a collection of documents that Martin Le Bourgeois and myself had collected and produced, almost four years ago, about a very interesting group of housing buildings in Paris’ 18th arrondissement (district).  Situated at the intersection of the rue Eugene Sue and the rue Simart these blocks had been built in the second part of the 19th century during Haussmann’s transformations of Paris in order to… Read More

PLAYGROUND Harskamp/Reek by Jeroen Hofman (2011) Socks Studio just released an interesting article about the Potemkin village of Marnehuizen in the North of Netherlands, which was built inside the military base Marnewaard in order to simulate and train military attacks in urban environment. This fake village is one more on the list of training settlements that trains the various armies of the world (see this (too) short previous article); however, this one… Read More

The Turin Horse (2011) The Lincoln Center Film Society in New York starts today a retrospective of the films created and directed by Béla Tarr (see previous article about Werckmeister Harmonies) several months after the Hungarian filmmaker announced that he will now stop making movies. The Turin Horse is his last movie and introduces the life of the horse that drove Nietzsche to his madness after he saw it being beaten to… Read More

Truth, Power and Knowledge by Daniel Lauand Dear Mr. Schumacher, Today, I read the article that you wrote two days ago for The Architectural Review and I felt the urge, the necessity to send you a response as such rebuttal would almost constitute a manifesto since your discourse seems the exact opposite of the one I am defending on this platform. I won’t insist too much on your heavy undelicateness as a… Read More

SIWARD: What wood is this before us? MENTEITH: The wood of Birnam. MALCOLM: Let every soldier hew him down a bough And bear’t before him: thereby shall we shadow The numbers of our host and make discovery Err in report of us. SOLDIERS: It shall be done. Shakespeare William, The Tragedy of MacBeth, 1611 This very short text which opens the scene IV of the Act V of The Tragedy of MacBeth… Read More