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Bodies, Space and Power

The Funambulist is a research platform written and edited by the French architect Léopold Lambert. The webpage is a rich source of interesting material on the relations between bodies, design and politics, including the podcast Archipelago and thematic pamphlets for sale/download. Lambert explains the name of the platform:

“Its name is inspired by a wondering/wandering on the line as architects’ medium. A line on the white page splits in reality two milieus from one another and organizes politically the bodies in space. The act of walking on the line (funambulist means tight-rope walker) is an act of subversion of the traditional role of the line/wall.”

Following the upsetting news about Sandra Bland’s arrest, this post on The Funambulist from June 16th is made all the more relevant, shedding light on how racism is played out through control over bodies in certain spaces, in this context the swimming pool:


“Two recent events involving the policed/militarized evacuation of a swimming pool based on the ethnicity of the swimmers have recently came to light. 1. McKinney, U.S. /// On June 6, 2015, in McKinney, a suburban town of Texas, a group of African American children who were celebrating the end of the scholar year by organizing a pool party in the local swimming pool were evicted from it by the police. Some of them were arrested and insulted, and one Black teenager girl was violently assaulted by a White police officer before being crushed onto the ground by the same officer for long minutes. We can suspect that we would have never heard of this sickening event if it was not for a clear video showing the totality of the assault — in this regard, it is crucial to see that the cut images massively shown in the press reflects less the violence of the assault than do the long minutes of the video during which the young woman, sobbing, had her face in the ground, the police officer pressing his weight on her back. I am adding here a small map of what I believe is the spatial context in which this racist assault occurred (I found it through a few information found in articles, as well as from the visual indications of the video itself), since the aim of this article is to understand these two events through the spatial politics at work in both situations — a situation that I do not know specifically in the policed neighborhood of Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, but that evidently do not escape from the structural racism the characterize the relationships between the American forces of police and Black bodies.”

Read the whole text on The Funambulist



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