The Funambulist

Monthly Archives: January 2011

It’s always a pleasure for me to publish projects from my old undergrad school, the Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris. The following project, Hybrid Lifestyles has been designed by Costantinos Caropoulos-Alefantis, Dimitra Papageorgiou & Stephanos Roimpas in the 4th year studio tutored by Marie-Therese Harnoncourt and assisted by the talented Adrien Durmeyer.

Following Daniel Fernandez Pascual’s recommendation on Deconcrete, I recently watched the movie My Winnipeg by Guy Maddin (2007) which fascinated me for its surrealist construction. Between a Chris Marker‘s pseudo-documentary and 2046‘s ambiguity between memory and fantasy, this film elaborates the portrait of the Canadian city of Winnipeg by its narrator’s dream and memories. What makes this city so specific according to the narrator is the largest Freemason Temple in the world,… Read More

The New York Times published today an article about the Qatar based international channel Al Jazeera. Once again (see the article I wrote last summer about the NYT lying in their report of the Gaza Flotilla attacked), this article is a perfect example of American Press’ service to the Imperialist ideology. The New York Times is considered in the United States as a “liberal media” but what it illustrates is the very… Read More

There is a type of publishing which is going on in France (and probably elsewhere as well) that particularly triggers my enthusiasm; it is what I call Instant Publishing. A certain amount of intellectuals and authors refuse to write about current events as the lack of distance and information can led them to judgment mistakes. However, other intellectuals are excellent for reacting to think about “what is happening” and are thus able… Read More

If you live in Harlem, you may be familiar with this series of pieces of design on Lexington Avenue and 124th street in New York. Designed in smooth forms and placed over the exhaust grids of the subway station, those benches could have been a great idea to provide homeless people with a place to sleep on, the exhaust locally providing some heat which can be life saving in cold winters. Instead… Read More

Spinoza by Jorge Luis Borges (traduction by Richard Howard, César Rennert) The translucent hands of the Jew Work in the penumbra, crystals & the evening, dying, is dread & chill. (Evenings to evenings are equal.) The hands & space of hyacinth Waning in the confines of the Ghetto Almost do not exist for the man so quiet Who is dreaming a clear labyrinth. He’s not perturbed by fame, that reflection Of dreams… Read More

Al Jazeera and The Guardian have revealed the contents of about 1700 diplomatic correspondence and meetings’ minutes between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Government between 1999 and 2010. The main revelations (so far) have been coming from negotiations organized in the second part of 2009 in which the Palestinian Authority proposed incredible concessions to the Israeli, especially in terms of territory as Palestinians would had conceded the quasi-totality of East Jerusalem… Read More

Two years ago, Greenpeace UK launched an idea competition (see also the video after the break) to fortify the piece of land they acquired in order to prevent a third runway to be built on London Heathrow Airport. The idea was to build an architecture that would prevent the accomplishment of construction. Most teams designed some sort of bunkers (see here and here) or towers (see here), but the Medellin (Columbia) based… Read More

Just like for Martin Byrne, it is a pleasure for me to publish for the third time a project by 陈欣阳 (Chen Xinyang) at Pratt. After her Space Monastery/Prison and her Underground City, this new project is the result of her thesis about Useless Architecture. Its title, New Yorkers’ New Walk To Work beside providing a beautiful alliteration, announces clearly what the project is about: a narrow elevated walkway full of useless… Read More

Parallaxis (name given as an homage to Slavoj Zizek’s book The Parallax View) is a second project from the post-professional Master Thesis Studio at Pratt Institute. After Martin Byrne’s project, this one has been created by Nikolaos Patsopoulos based on a research about capitalist architecture. Nikolaos started his project by observing that the Seagram Building by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe has been the XXth century’s architectural paradigm by constituting a perfect… Read More

For the third semester in a row, my good friend Martin Byrne designed a remarkable project (see his Space station and his local NYC slaughterhouse) at Pratt. This time, this project is the achievement of one year of research work on a thesis which was investigating the feral potential of architecture. The project that applies the conclusions of this research starts from the observation of IBM recent advertising for “a smarter planet”,… Read More

Reading the French Press who ignored Tunisia’s dictatorial regime for years and pretend to care now that the Tunisians went down in the street to overthrow this same regime, watching the American Press which discharge its daily racism and ignorance, reading various papers around the world which continues to affirm that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a symmetrical war, I am wondering which Press can we trust. Not only all those important Press… Read More

An article written by Slavoj Zizek will be published next week in the London Review of Books. In it, the Slovenian philosopher explains why he thinks that the debate around Wikileaks is not turning around the right questions. In this short essay, he elaborates about truth, tact and the unquestioned issues of Representative Democracy. Once again, he helps us to think beyond the surface of things or more simply, to see this… Read More

The Thai multi-disciplinary design studio Supermachine Studio (founded by Pitupong Chaowakul in 2009) has designed and built the temporary installations for the Big Mountain Music Festival in Thailand. The architectural vocabulary used expresses its ephemerality in a similar way of what the French collective EXYZT is used to produce or, to stay in Asia, Kolkata’s Pandals during Durja Puja. Thank you Camille

You is a beautiful installation created by Swiss artist Urs Fischer for the Gavin Brown’s enterprise in 2007. The contrast between the white exhibition walls and the hole dig by the artist manages to maintain an interesting dialog between dirt and pristine.

This last 29th of November, I posted a short article about Chinese Artist Ai Wei Wei being under House arrest for having publicly declared that he will destroy himself his art studio and celebrate this act. In fact, his studio, after having been encouraged to settle in Jiading (Shanghai) by the Chinese Authorities was sentenced to destruction for a discrepancy with the building permit. One would actually suspect those same authorities, not… Read More

Within the frame of my post-professional thesis, Weaponized Architecture, Bryan Finoki was kind enough to answer my questions. Bryan is the editor of Subtopia, one of the most important and crucial research platform about militarized spaces and their biopolitical implications. Bryan Finoki’s work is an excavation of the politics of space that underwrite the nature of the contemporary city.  In response to a pervasive culture of fear, secrecy and constitutional sabotage, he… Read More

As I wrote in a recent article, I might write several articles in a near future about the brilliant book The Power of Inclusive Exclusion (see previous article) about the structure of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. The following text is an excerpt of the chapter wrote by Eyal Weizman, entitled Thanato-tactics that attempt to  deconstruct the logic of the targeted assassinations of Palestinian leaders by the Israeli Army. Not… Read More

Architect’s Brother is a very beautiful series of photographs by artists Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison. The architect, here, seems to be God and his brother seems to have been in charge of setting up the World at its creation. You can see the rest of the series on their website by clicking this link.

The Radio Program Les Nouveaux Chemins de la Connaissance that I regularly mention on this blog just released five hours of broadcast about every texts published by Spinoza but the Ethics (as the Ethics usually covers up the others with its genius). Of course all those other texts, whether they have been written before or after the Ethics are eventually all premonitory or retrospectively referring to it: Links towards the broadcasts –… Read More

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