The Funambulist

Monthly Archives: June 2012

Carceri d’invenzione by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1750) For the last ‘episode’ of this series of articles around the work of Michel Foucault, I would like to evoke the second favorite Foucauldian concept (the first one being the panopticon) that architects like to use, the heterotopia. As a matter of fact, this term, dropped in the architectural discourse became almost an argument in itself like an incantation – and I plead guilty about that… Read More

Although this title is very ambitious, the following article will only focus on Michel Foucault‘s reading of a specific architectural typology, the hospital, and even more specifically, the “physical” hospital rather than the psychiatric institution for which he also dedicated a lot of his work. In October 1974, Foucault gives a few lectures at The Institute of Social Medicine in Rio de Janeiro. The third one is transcribed under the name The… Read More

The last ‘episode’ of this series was based on a text in which Gilles Deleuze was referring to a chapter of Discipline and Punish in order to analyze Michel Foucault‘s interpretation of the power as a strategy rather than a possession. From this chapter, entitled The Body of the Condemned, we can extract a shorter excerpt that will be the topic of this article; we can call it The Political Technology of… Read More

Panopticon plan by Jeremy Bentham (1791) In the last ‘episode’, I was evoking the will of Michel Foucault to be considered as a cartographer. In a text written for the journal Critique (dec 1975), Gilles Deleuze proposes an analysis of the book Surveiller et Punir: Naissance de la prison (Discipline and Punish: The birth of the prison) under the title: Un Nouveau Cartographe (A new cartographer). Through this text, Deleuze introduces Foucault’s… Read More

Drawing by André Masson for Georges Bataille’s journal: Acéphale (1936-39)  “Mon Corps, Topie Impitoyable.” With these words, Michel Foucault starts his radio-lecture for France-Culture, The Utopian Body in 1966 (English translation transcript and French original radio version below). Those four words have been translated in English by “My body, pitiless place” but it does not commute its meaningful vibrancy when pronounced verbally. Without understanding French, you can still probably fathom the inexorable… Read More

Potere Operaio (Worker Power) in the late 60’s Italy In 1977, Anti-Oedipus -written by Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze in 1971- is released in its translated American version with a preface written by Michel Foucault. Through this short text, Foucault praises Anti-Oedipus, calling it “a book of ethics” as it proposes a non-totalizing subjectivity to interpret the human body and its social involvement. As always, he is interested in the relations of… Read More

Today, I would like to start a series that will attempt to do for Michel Foucault what I managed to do with Gilles Deleuze in June 2011: an entire week dedicated to the philosopher with one article a day. For this occasion, I would like to open a new category in the blog’s archives, listing the articles dedicated to Foucault. In fact, this kind of series is as much an opportunity to… Read More

Bridge supplemented by sand bags to protect its users against snipers in Sarajevo. Photograph by Abbas (Magnum) The book Sarajevo Za Pocetnike (Sarajevo for beginners) written by Bosnian author Ozren Kebo has been translated into French (Bienvenue en Enfer: Sarajevo Mode d’Emploi) but not into English. I thought that it would be a good idea to translate some short excerpts here however bad my translating skills might be. This book is a… Read More

When I first watched Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer about four years ago, I wrote an article about it that would have deserved a deeper analysis. That is why I decided to re-watch it today and write a bit more about it. This film introduces a near future in which a young Mexican farmer facing the militarized privatization of water resources on a daily basis and who see his house destroyed by a… Read More

In 1961, for her first exhibition, Niki de Saint Phalle shot her paintings on which several little bags of paint were bleeding on the canvas when they were pierced by the bullet. Maybe Enki Bilal got inspired by such a performative art for his character of Opus Warhole (see previous article).

District B13 Ultimatum, directed by Patrick Alessandrin (2009) After a photographic and an historical interpretation of what I called for this series’ purposes, Fortress Paris, this third part introduces its cinematographic (literal) adaptation of this topic. The film Banlieue 13 (District B-13) and its sequel Banlieue 13 Ultimatum materializes to the extreme, the policies of exclusion of the Parisian proletarian suburbs. In these movies, the suburbs are surrounded by a high wall… Read More

Following the last article about Fortress Paris, I would like to introduce the book Paris sous Tension (Paris under tension) written and edited by Eric Hazan, director of one of my very favorite publishers, La Fabrique. The book is written in French, and I will quote extensive excerpts in this article but I will also try to summarize in English their object. Its various chapters explore Paris from 1814 to its contemporary… Read More

This article is the first one of a trio which will investigate the architectural elements that makes Paris, a contemporary fortress. The Boulevard Périphérique (highway ring) around it, marks its geographical limit and embodies the latter in a solid barrier of low porosity. Of course, the city walls are not as evidently militarized than its 19th century ancestor, the Thiers fortifications built in 1844 on the same route than the current Périphérique… Read More

Claude Cahun- I Extend My Arms (1931) Part of what I am interested in this guest writers essays series, is the difference of narrative style between my guests’ texts. Some of them are very academic and some others, like this one, are much more personal in the way they constitute a manifesto. In this regard, I will try to write my introduction in a similar personal approach than the one chosen by… Read More

Hans Poelzig as photographed by August Sander San Rocco Magazine is calling for paper for their fifth issue which is entitled Scary Architects. In a skillful mix of humor and seriousness, the magazine’s editors propose, not only an abstract of what they would like their new issue to be about, but also a small historical exposé on who could be called a scary architect, in recent and ancient history. From Phalaris to… Read More

Visualizing Palestine is an open collective which attempts to demonstrate graphically the injustice to which the Palestinians are subjected to in the current apartheid -or colonization depending on whether you consider the territory Palestine/Israel as one sovereignty or two. After an historical document on the hunger strike to support Khader Adnan who was doing one to protest against his detention in an Israeli prison without having been charged with anything, they just… Read More