Carceral Environments: Introduction

Contributors:

Published

Welcome to the fourth issue of The Funambulist Magazine. It is dedicated to the description of various forms of incarceration, as its title suggests, but through their common characteristics, its editorial line also intends to make a broader point about architecture’s violence on bodies. If we define a wall as a thick surface that participates in a scheme of organizing bodies in space, we can see how the wall is the most elemental component of architecture — through this definition, even floors and ceiling can be interpreted as walls. Of course, we invented physical means to cross walls: we call them doors and windows and we, as bodies, are used to exiting a room through them without thinking much about it. Yet, what separates any closed room from a prison cell is specifically the individual capacity for a body inhabiting it to exit the space. In cases of quarantine, curfew or other exceptional legal measures, bodies are given the unfortunate opportunity to see how the walls that, a moment earlier, were protecting them, turn into more or less temporary carceral limits.