The Funambulist

Monthly Archives: April 2013

Original Scheme of Fleur Agema’s Prison project as she imagined it in 1999 Few days ago, Daniel Fernandez Pascual posted a very interesting project on his fantastic Deconcrete. Entittled Closed Architecture, this book created by Jonas Staal is exploring in a very interesting way the architecture thesis project of a woman called Fleur Agema, who since became a member of the Dutch Parliament on the list of a party that is unfortunately… Read More

Reversible Destiny (Mitaka) Lofts – In Memory of Helen Keller /// Photograph by Shingo Tsuji (2013) When I visited the Reversible Destiny Foundation‘s Mitaka Lofts (see previous article) in Tokyo last year, I encountered one of its resident, Shingo Tsuji, who is an also an architect (Chiasma Factory) and was kind enough to make me visit his apartment. Since then, we became friends, and I recently “curated” him a small reportage about… Read More

Photograph by Leyland Cecco/Al Jazeera Two days ago, about 650 runners participated to the Right to Movement Palestine Marathon. This race, open to both genders and both local and international participants, was taking place in Bethlehem (see the map of the race below), along what the city has the most precious in terms of building heritage (the Church of the Nativity) and what it unfortunately has of the most violent (the separation… Read More

As I mentioned in one the most recent articles,  I was feeling odd never to have dedicated a full article to the fascinating machine invented by Franz Kafka in his short story In the Penal Colony (1919). This machine is probably the most famous torturing apparatus of the history of literature; even Le Marquis de Sade does not seem to have created such an elaborated piece of equipment (see previous article). The… Read More

Utagawa Hiroshige – Ocean off Satta (1858) (detail) I have recently visited the exhibition Edo Pop at New York’s Japan Society and so much beauty made me feel compelled to write something about it. This exhibit gathers about fifty ukiyo-e (浮世絵) prints from the Edo era including an important amount of works by Masters Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa (Ando) Hiroshige as well as others from 18th and 19th century. What fascinated me… Read More

We see them so many times every day that we barely pay attention to them anymore. However, those little symbols of gender differentiation constitute the operative symbol of a society that was built upon the strict separation of the male and female genders. Of course, we could start by the obvious, observing that the typical and ubiquitous bathrooms’ doors symbols shows, for the sake of immediate understanding, a woman wearing a dress… Read More

Aleppo, January 29, 2013. (Reuters/Zain Karam) As an introduction to this article, I would like to say that I have been hesitant to write the latter as many of the thirty eight photographs posted by The Atlantic on February 20th 2013 (thank you Guilhem) carry enough visual power to bring to them the noxious pictorial fetishism that Western society (at peace mostly) have contributed to develop and exacerbated. Seeing a fighter of… Read More

Ubiquitous Site – Nagi Ryoanji by Arakawa + Gins (1994) “If persons are sited, why do philosophers inquiring into what constitutes a person, or, for that matter, into the nature of mind, rarely, if ever, factor this in?” “Philosophers considering persons as sites would be obliged to develop a person architectonics. They would, I am afraid, have to turn themselves into architects of sorts.” Page 5 Some of my readers are maybe… Read More

We continue today to explore the “cruel designs” that collects each piece of architecture or objects that have been specifically designed to assess a hurtful power upon the body. Many people know the main characteristics of the Mayan Pyramids as the steepness of their steps. Such a steepness is proper to religious architecture in the symbolical effortful approach to transcendence. However, it also had very “down to earth” killing function in times… Read More

The panopticon in its totality / assembled photographs by Léopold Lambert Last week, I had the opportunity to visit the former Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The building is particular as it was one of the first prisons to implement the panopticon scheme invented by Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. This scheme is not fully applied as what is actually visible from the center of the building are the ten… Read More

The following text was written by the recent augmented reality pamphlet Orwellian published by my very good friends Ethel Baraona Pohl and Cesar Reyes of dpr-barcelona and dedicated to the work of George Orwell. The three other authors are also good friends: Daniel Fernández Pascual (Deconcrete), Evangelina Guerra Luján (The Nomad) and Paco González. See the full book on dpr-barcelona’s website Too often when we evoke the work of George Orwell, we… Read More

Architecture of the Sky (Milan Trade Fair Building by Massimiliano & Doriana Fuksas) versus Architecture of the Earth (Japanese playground photographed by Munemi Natsu) This article will be somehow similar to the text Architectures of Joy I wrote in 2010 and to which I often referred this week; however, this time, I would like to oppose a Spinozist architecture to its antagonist. It is important to observe that attributing the status of… Read More