Library / Audio

e-flux journal #92

In ten seconds, how many synonyms can you think of for the word “power”? And then, just when you thought that you finally got the hang of how the power structures around you function, they seem to be coming undone. But are they really coming undone, or is the current that’s pushing and pulling at them not much more than a massage, a way to keep them up to date that stays only on the surface and is not able to touch the center. What is feminism, precisely? What are feminisms today? To answer these questions and myriad others, the next two issues ...

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The ‘Widow Colony’ in Delhi: Female Bodies as Vessels of Remembrance

This conversation is the last one from the series of podcasts recorded on the US/Canadian West Coast. Kamal Arora brings us to Delhi where the research for her dissertation is set. From an introduction about female bodies navigating at risk in the public space, we focus more specifically on one space, called ‘the widow colony.’ The widows are women who saw their husbands killed during the 1984 massacre against the Sikh population consequently from the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Together, we examine how the physicality of this urban village partially determine the politics of its daily organization and ...

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Making Films, Making Myths

This conversation was recorded in October 2013 with Camille Lacadée a moment before she filmed the installation she designed with François Roche for the Retrospective Pierre Huyghe at the Pompidou Center. The particularity of this podcast is that the editing was kindly made by Camille herself who ‘saved’ it from the atmospheric noise that surrounded us when recording it. This conversation constitutes a casual account of the creative process that she and her partner, François Roche, use in order to create works at the intersection of cinema and architecture. The recurrent element of these films (see below) could be seen in the ...

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Thinking the Volume: Subterranean, Atmospheric and Oblique Territories

For many years, Stuart Elden has thoroughly examined the concept of territory. In order to enter into this quasi-exhaustive research, I invited him to talk about the idea of volumetric territory, both in general and in the specific case of the occupied Palestinian territories. We borrow the notion of “politics of verticality” from Eyal Weizman in order to describe how sovereignty enforces itself onto subterranean, surface, and atmospheric spaces. Later, we use the work of Paul Virilio and Claude Parent and their architectural concept of oblique to challenge our common perception of territories in their flat cartographic interpretation. Finally, we discuss ...

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Gendered Violence in Bathrooms, Streets, and Prisons

In this conversation, Sophia Seawell and I examine how violence unfolds on bodies through the conformity to the normative category that has been attributed to them. We look at this problem particularly in terms of gender, continuously perpetuated by bodily performativities that often manifests themselves spatially. In this regard, opening the door of a gendered bathroom and its semiotics constitutes for many of us as a deliberate acceptation of the gendered that has been attributed to us. Sophia’s research is particularly oriented toward bodies that have undertook to transgress performativity by adopting the one of the “opposite gender” to their normative attribution. ...

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Documenting the Undocumented: Carceral Architecture and Migrant Bodies

In this conversation that occurred before her presentation at New York’s Left Forum, Tings Chak and I discuss about the historical and contemporary racialized treatment of migrant bodies in North America and Europe. Refused, expelled, marginalized, or detained, the migrant body is a precarious one. Through Ting’s upcoming graphic-essay book, we talk about carceral architecture, in particular the one that embodies the numerous migrant detention centers in Canada. What does that mean at a legal standpoint to be incarcerated not for punishing reasons but for administrative reasons? How does architecture unfold violence upon bodies through its very physicality? What would ...

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Economization of Life: Biopolitical Feminism & Chemical Infrastructures

This conversation with Michelle Murphy is divided into two parts: BIOPOLITICAL FEMINISM: The first part introduces Foucault’s concept of biopolitics and applies it to forms of economization of life particularly in relation to female bodies. Paraphrasing Foucault, Michelle affirms that governmental capitalism needs for “some must not to be born so that future others will live more consumptibly, productively in the logic of macro-economy .” She thus unfolds the political history of regulation and ‘marketing’ of reproduction and contraception that organizes such an economization of life at a scale of a population. Further, we discuss of Michelle’s concept, “The Girl” as the problematic current vessel of ...

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Economic, Demographic, and Biological Politics of Detroit

Nick Caverly received me in Detroit a day after I arrived in the city whose population and economy has been drastically shrinking for the last decades and is now populated with a multitude of ruins and empty lots. We discuss about the governance of the city that is now piloted by an “Emergency Finance Manager,” who reduced public service to a worrisome level, mostly detrimental to the most impoverished populations of the city. We also talk of the newcomers in the city, the white “creative class,” which, despite a commendable optimism tends to develop an imaginary that omit the existence ...

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Formulating Outrage: The Language of Political Struggle

Mimi Thi Nguyen is the first guest with whom I spoke twice for Archipelago (listen to our first conversation). This conversation was originally motivated by some unformulated concerns that I experienced during the campaign #bringbackourgirls in April-May 2014 in reaction to the rapt of 276 Nigerian young women by Boko Haram. I therefore meant to ask a few questions to Mimi, as well as converse with her about the crucial importance to formulate problems in ways that won’t make our questions legitimize that against what they want to challenge. The arguments we expose here emerged from Mimi’s long-documented research about supposedly ...

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Geographies of Race and Sex in Jazz Age New York

This conversation with Fiona I.B. Ngô focuses on her book, Imperial Blues (2014) that develops a discourse around the simultaneous suppressive and productive aspects of race and sex through a travel in the various geo(chrono)graphies of New York in the 1920s. We talk of the various signs (bodies, objects, spaces) created and worn to reference the imperial vision of that that it is not. We also converse about the movement of bodies, at a transnational level, as much as at the level of the body dancing (“the cops are here, let’s play a waltz!”) without forgetting the movement between various neighborhoods of New ...

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Manufacturing Rightlessness: The Camp as a Legal Fiction

This conversation with Naomi Paik exposes the arguments she develops in her forthcoming book currently entitled Rightlessness (2015). In it, she uses three historical examples of camps administrated by the United States in their efforts of manufacturing rightlessness for bodies it wants to exclude from traditional judicial channels. We begin the conversation by talking of the logic behind the late 1980s discussion about symbolical and financial reparations to Japanese American citizens who had been incarcerated in the infamous camps from 1942 to 1945. Naomi then describes the legal and physical existence of a camp in Guantanamo holding HIV positive refugees having fled the ...

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Militarization of Territorial Planning in Cold War USA

Contributors Léopold Lambert, Joe Masco
This conversation with Joe Masco can be seen as the third archipelic episode of what I like to call “counter-history of the American suburbia.” After talking with Olivia Ahn about the suburban house as a gender making apparatus, and with Karen Tongson about processes of queering the suburbia, Joe and I converse about the territorial strategies at work in the creation of suburbia itself. The strategies were very much informed by both the propension of capitalism, as well as the militarized prospect of a large-scale nuclear attack. Joe explains how an imaginary of fear — similar to the one we currently ...

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