Moderated by Caroline Filice Smith
Title of the Event/Island: Violence, Segregation, and Solidarity
Location of the Event/Island: 97 Kenmare St New York
Date of the Event/Island: Wednesday the 21st of December; 3-5 pm
Although statements of solidarity and non-violence can be heard at most General Assemblies and Occupations across the country; the urban and architectural typologies found within the Occupy LA camp defaulted into normalized zones of exclusion and segregation [ie:the gated community]. This ideological break between statements of inclusion, and the physical reality of segregation, implemented by arguably the most ‘radical’ of the camps inhabitants, begs the following question: Why, when it came to urbanism, and architecture, did even the most ‘radical’ revolutionaries immediately default into the typologies most directly connected to/embedded in the system they are trying to overcome. I [Caroline Filice Smith] will do a short presentation on the typologies of urbanism and architecture found within the occupy LA camp, how this physicality stood in opposition to the movements larger ideology of being ‘horizontal, democratic, transparent, and participatory’, and how this disjunction continues to affect the community structure at Occupy LA. Then we will discuss and speculate on what other alternatives could have been, and what the physical possibilities of an open, participatory and democratic architecture/community are given a climate of increasing militarization from outside forces [ie: the architecture of anarchism within a police state]
On the road is a novel written by Jack Kerouac, in 1951- published in 1957, on a 120-foot long roll of semi-translucent teletype paper. This scroll allowed Kerouac to continuously feed a typewriter and write without interruption for three consecutive weeks a single-spaced text that he later edited by pencil.
On the road attempts an American version of the French- or at least European- flânerie, the aimless experiential wondering in the urban phenomenon, here organically operated in the scale of the continent, where each state is a neighborhood to cross, a threshold and a destination simultaneously. Kerouac puts together- on that continuous scroll- a stroll across the United States, for a lack of a better word or a real equivalence in English of the word flânerie-, where one is allowed not to know or even not wanting to know where he is heading. America unrolls in the four parts of the book, plus one in Mexico, as a series of rooms with no transitions, no corridors, no hallways, becoming a distorted palace of Versailles where one changes direction only when there is no more depth to expand upon, no more rooms to visit in that direction.
This synthesis is a guideline of particular topics and themes around the portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa and his heteronyms, as they were suggested and discussed by Carla Leitão during the event “Archipelagos 01”. This synthesis is not an essay nor an introduction to the work of this poet writer. This text does not contain all the important aspects of the delivery which can be seen in the video of the same event.
Fernando Pessoa had more than 70 heteronyms (including orthonyms). Four of them, and then Fernando Pessoa, the orthonym, are particularly popular and important to understand his work and cultural context. Some heteronyms are related to each other in some fashion and will engage in conversations with each other. Pessoa did astrological charts or created biographical data, including accurate birthdates for several heteronyms. Many heteronyms and orthonyms have an intrinsic, interior contradiction.
One of Pessoa’s main known poems, has more than 20 great translations and is called Autopsicography.
(the one below from Richard Zenith)
If you’ve ever seen a dog twitch and start in one direction, then leap a step in another only to finally bound away in a third direction, you’ve seen a glimpse into the Dostoevskian man’s mind. He is no wolf, because he is domesticated, yet neither is he a sheep, because he resists his domestication. Perhaps a dog is not even an apt metaphor, but man himself, as he is of the few creatures to be aware of the strangeness of his condition while also being acutely aware of his mortality and all that it entails.
In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s pivotal novel (essay, expose, pseudo-biography?) Notes from Underground, we are allowed a deeper insight into the feralized mind that he creates, and acts as a loose framework for a number of his later characters. One might contend that this model reflects the insights into the recently birthed modern man that Dostoevsky himself holds. And as a testament of being produced during a state of transition within Russia and society at large, the insights he provides are at once conflicted and cogent. It is unnerving and liberating, filled with depth and marred by shallowness, brilliant and mad:
The life and work of Antonin Artaud is so rich that there seems to be hundreds of different approaches on what can be said about them. Michel Foucault, for example, was greatly influenced by Artaud’s related experience in psychiatric hospitals as well as the problematic power exercised by doctors. Deleuze and Guattari, as we will see later, based their book Anti-Oedipus on his concept of body without organs. Several architects saw, in his very spatial description of his Theater of Cruelty, an architectural embodiment of surrealism. His translation of Through the Looking-Glass as an anti-grammatical attempt about Lewis Carroll and against him also constituted the topic of various academic papers.
Those approaches are not the one discussed in this paper which proposes instead, to give a materialist reading of Artaud’s work. Before going any further, I would like to define here what I mean by “materialism” since this word has been connoted in recent history. By “materialism” I understand a philosophy of immanence that envisions the world as a whole entity, liberated from any exteriority –God or whichever other transcendental figure- in which everything is continuously included in processes of interactions within the matter.
On November 22nd, we held the first event of Archipelagos, Four Architects / Four Writers which followed the only rule of this series, consisting in dedicating 50% of the time to an open conversation between everybody present. This post proposes to release the video of the four research reports as well as the audio track (sorry, we have been experiencing technical issues with the video) of the conversation that followed. I will then publish one by one the texts that were either read or used as a base of presentation.
The Future Past symposium draws together five young architectural graduates and a group of interested attendees to discuss the possibility of using the past to re-imagine a future. It is a free event, open to all and with no affiliation to an academic or research institution.
Following the only rule of Archipelagos, the speakers will only each give a short, five-minute talk on their views about the topic, in order to dedicate at least two hours for a broader discussion between all attendees. The open forum of the debate, and the differences of opinion already within the participants will aim to seek out both the agreed terms for the hybridisation of the past, and those areas where there is friction.
Several of my upcoming next posts will be dedicated to the first event of Archipelagos which occured on November 22nd. However, before doing so, I would like to call for the creation of new “islands” in these archipelagos of dezinstitutionalized knowledge. If you are willing to organize events of this kind, you can click on the page (see in the menu above) dedicated to them and apply from wherever you are in the world. The only common thread that will link all these islands together can be found in the process of those events, which should be triggering a discussion between the present people rather than composing a traditional hierarchical scheme based on a knowledge holder and a more or less passive audience.
In order to so, Archipelagos’ events/islands should dedicate at least 50% of its time to an open conversation with the people who showed-up. Once you organized your event, you can fill the form on the Archipelagos’ page and I will communicate about it on this blog. I very much look forward to receive some propositions. Thank you.
Pessoa, Dostoevsky, Kerouac and Artaud in one portrait
I am very happy to announce the first event of Archipelagos that I introduced few weeks ago (see previous post). This first gathering will trigger a conversation around literature as four architects, Carla Leitão, Martin Byrne, Sofia Krimizi and myself will briefly present a paper about four authors, respectivally Fernando Pessoa, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Jack Kerouac and Antonin Artaud. Those short presentations will be followed by an exchange between everybody who will have came in order to create an interesting conversation. While preparing this event, we also figured that a good way to maintain this discussion’s casualness -which pretty much constitute the spirit of those events- we will propose to people to bring their drinks.
This event will occur on November 22nd at 8:00PM at 170 Tillary Street in Brooklyn (closest subway stations, Dekalb Avenue (Q,R,B), Jay Street (A,C,F) and Burrough Hall (2,3,4,5)). Since the space is not so big, we would like to have an idea of how many people will actually come; you can thus RSVP at the following email address (replace the the capital letters by symbols): archipelagosDOTfunambulistATgmailDOTcom
I will do my best to film the event and post it afterward on the blog as well as publishing the four presentation texts. We look forward to see you there.
« Ces noms que j’habite s’organisent en archipels. Ils hésitent aux bords de je ne sais quelle densité, qui est peut-être une cassure, ils rusent avec n’importe quelle interpellation, qu’ils débordent infiniment, ils dérivent et se rencontrent sans que j’y pense ».
Édouard Glissant, Traité du Tout-Monde
In about a month from now, the Funambulist will launch an additional platform of reflection, transmission and discussion of knowledge entitled ARCHIPELAGOS. This platform will consist -at least as a first step- in a series of regular events in the same spirit than the one developed on this blog. As an example, the first event of ARCHIPELAGOS will be a short essay reading by four architects about four literature authors followed by a discussion between them and whoever who will compose the audience.
The goal of those events is to propose a free, convivial and desinstitutionalized sessions of sharing knowledge and interpretations on subjects that exit architecture yet keeps it as filigree within the discourse. Ideally the space of these events should change for every session in order to avoid a form of reinstitutionnalization. I will be therefore interested to know if some people potentially interested by those events own or know a space on which we could host one of each of those sessions.