Index of Titles Filed Under 'Geopolitics'

PublisherThe Funambulist2014
This conversation is an introduction to the research conducted by Greg Barton for his thesis at CCCP (Critical, Curatorial & Conceptual Practices) at Columbia University. This research is essentially focused on Diego Garcia island situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean, a territory that was never decolonized and remains under British sovereignty. The island hosts a US military basis that was used for its geographic location during the cold war, the first Gulf War, and now the so-called “war on terror.” Similarly to Guantanamo’s Camp Delta, a legal narrative had to be produced in order for the basis to operate ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2016
This conversation addresses an important aspect of Merve Bedir’s work (along with Jason Hilgefort at Land+Civilization Compositions) regarding the architectural and linguistic dimension of Turkish politics regarding the 2.5 million refugees the country currently “hosts” — the very notions of “host” and “guest” are the first things discussed here. Through the description of several sites of either appropriation or dispossession/detention by and of refugee bodies in Istanbul and in other regions of Turkey, we try to think of the architect’s political role and responsibility, remembering however that we must always doubt of our own actions when they have such drastic consequences. Merve ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2016
“The definition of an ominous optimist is someone that goes through bad days in his life but is still optimistic for the future” says Mat Randol in “Ominous optimist ft. the solar system.” Such an affirmation synthesizes well the tone of this conversation with Mawena Yehouessi & Steffi Njoh Monny, respectively founder and editor-in-chief of the online platform Black(s) to the Future. In it, we discuss about the political role of science fiction and speculative visions for the African diaspora through humor and (terrestrial and extraterrestrial) gravity. Steffi Njoh Monny, as in Steffi Graf — same name, same date of birth, only twenty ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2015
This conversation is the second one recorded live at Studio-X Amman Lab (the first one being with Rahel Aima & Ahmad Makia). Recorded with Dena Qaddumi, it attempts to propose a struggle narrative for Palestine that is not focused on Jerusalem to which many of us contribute, thus participating to a debate mostly focused on the 1967 war. By examining the spatial politics of Jaffa-Tel Aviv, Dena attempts to show that similar “ethonocratic” logic of segregation are also at work in an environment admittedly less militarized. This logic also incorporates the same capitalist mechanisms of gentrification at work in other cities ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2015
Lucie Bacon and I had this conversation only a few days after she finished her second field trip in Bosnia-and-Herzegovina where her research took her to study the European Union politics of “externalization,” i.e. the ‘subcontracting’ of its (anti-)migration policies outside of the Shenghen Space. Lucie has visited some asylum centers, where numerous migrants wait to be granted their legal status, and detention centers, where migrant bodies are imprisoned prior to their expulsion. She collected numerous testimonies from migrants themselves, but also organizers, activists, administrative officials, etc. and tell us about them in this discussion. We also talk about her ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2015
This conversation with May al-Ibrashy is the last one of a series of twelve recorded in the Levant and Egypt. In it, we discuss the current political situation of Egypt after the 2011 revolution and the 2013 military coup d’état. As she writes, “my new motto [is] if you’re not confused, you’re stupid.” Trying not to fall into stupidity, we thus attempt to question the various problems that creates such a confusion, in particular when it comes to heritage. In this regard, the fire at the Institut d’Egypte that burned thousands of documents in December 2011 is exemplary of a political ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
Hana Tajima and I recently sat down to talk about one aspect of her work as a fashion designer. Some of the clothing she designs have the particularity to incorporate the hijab (islamic veil) that currently suffers from an absolute lack of discursive complexity and contextualization. Our conversation is organized in such a way that we first describe the hijab only in its physical characteristics, as “a piece of clothe.” Once we have a grasp at its objectal properties, we then proceed to intensify it with the symbolic and political position it carries voluntarily and involuntarily within a given context. ...

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Publishere-flux2017
Every December, dictionaries and language societies across the globe identify the “words of the year”—words that resonated widely during the previous twelve months. In the mid-2000s, these lists were populated with words like “contempt” and “quagmire,” “ambivalence” and “conundrum.” A few years later, dominant words included “trepidation” and “precipice” and “fail,” “vitriol” and “insidious” and “bigot.” The OED’s word of the year for 2012 was “omnishambles.” 2016, however, was for OED the year of “post-truth.” Merriam-Webster selected the word “surreal.” In the wake of Brexit and the US elections, Russia’s annexation of the Crimea and Turkey’s disregard for journalistic freedom, ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2013
Lucy and I start this conversation around the legal strategies at work in contemporary India. Between the eminent domain, legal reminiscence of the colonial era used by state-backed developers, and the immanent domain that informal settlements constitute for their own survival in the city, we discuss about how law and its spatial practices can be used as political strategies. We also evoke William Burroughs’s fictitious territory of the Interzone as the place of suspension of the law, the thickness of the diagrammatic line designed by legal architects, a liminal space where one can deliberately inhabit, but where others are forced into. Lucy completed ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2015
This second conversation with Alex Shams is entirely dedicated to the context in which it was recorded, Palestine. Through five significant fragments, we attempt to describe a non-exhaustive account of the Apartheid landscape created by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The first fragment consists in the segregated roads, in particular the viaduct and tunnel of the Israeli settlement of Gilo, nearby the place of this conversation. The second and third fragments are the Palestinian villages of Nabi Samuel and Al Walaja that both became enclaves, surrounded by the apartheid wall built by the State of ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2015
This conversation is the first one of an Archipelago series in the Western Balkans. Recorded in Sarajevo with Selma Porobić, it introduces the historical context of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the ethnic cleansing of the Bosniak population by the Serbian militias, and the 2 millions displaced people inside and outside the country. Twenty years after the Dayton Peace Agreements, many refugees have not yet returned, often because of local and regional strategies discouraging if not preventing this return. The second part of the conversation addresses the geographical position of the Western Balkans, at the gates of “Fortress Europe,” where many ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
This conversation with Karim Kattan introduces the art residency he recently created in Jericho. Entitled el-Atlal (the ruins), this residency allows us to discuss about the political strategy that this Palestinian cultural project intends to adopt and, beyond it, also the concept of ruin in Palestine, as well as this very particular place in the Jordan Valley, a “central margin” as Karim says, between Jerusalem and Amman and the Northern and Southern part of the country. Jericho is at a key moment of its extremely long history, experiencing urban and cultural developments that simultaneously allows it to foresee the future of Palestine and also threatens its fragile ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
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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PublisherThe Funambulist2015
This conversation with Ana Dana Beroš — the last one of the Western Balkans series — addresses the two main migration routes to access “Fortress Europe,” the road through the Balkans, in particular through Croatia from where we recorded it, as well as the road through the Mediterranean Sea. We begin by describing the current means undertaken in Croatia in order to facilitate the route of refugees, as well as the obstacles encountered. In the second part of the conversation, we use Intermundia, the exhibition/book curated last year by Ana Dana to address the status of the Italian island of Lampedusa, considered as ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
This first conversation with Alex Shams (the second will occur in Palestine this coming February) takes for site the Iranian city and the politics of gender exercised in it, both under the regime of the Shah and during these last thirty-five years in the context of the Islamic Republic. We start by establishing the framework of our critique and the traps to avoid — the example of Mehran Tamadon’s recent film Iranian (2014) being illustrative for this matter. Alex takes us then in his research articulating both the ideological/imaginary and the physical/urban context of gender politics in Iran. This includes a ‘chapter’ about the 2009 green ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
In this conversation, Miriam Ticktin and I talk about the problematic characteristics of discourses and legislation that particularize figures of innocence. Suffering and sick bodies are particularly subject to this process that distinguish innocent subjects from their necessary corollary, guilty ones. Miriam unfolds for us this aspect of her work regarding migrant’s claims for humanitarian exceptions and asylum in France. We talk of the role of the medical expertise in this context, as well as NGOs and other humanitarian institutions’ self-claim of “apolitical” function contrasting their particularism for suffering women or children for instance. We ends this conversation with the illustrative example of ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
Olivia Snaije and I begin this conversation by discussing her multi-faceted work of journalist, editor and translator. We then converse more specifically about the book she co-edited with Mitchell Albert, Keep Your Eye on the Wall: Palestinian Landscapes (Saqi Books, 2014). This book gathers a series of essays and photographic work curated around the question of the Apartheid Wall in Palestine (see below). We evoke most of its chapters, one by one, and extend the question raised by Malu Halasa about the problematic aestheticization of the Wall to the very exercise of photographing it. Olivia Snaije is a journalist and editor based in ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
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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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
In this conversation, Derek Gregory shares with us a few aspects of his simultaneously broad and precise knowledge of the ways war function. We examine together the current so-called “war on terror” in which the United States and their allies have engaged since 2001. Derek distinguishes three spaces that need to be produced in order for war to operate physically and apparently legitimately. We first consider a drone as an object crystalizing both the paradigm of contemporary war, but also the vessel of all wrongly posed questions that perpetuate the status quo. All disciplines are mobilized for war: geography, technology, architecture, law, ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2015
This conversation with Dror Etkes addresses his work with organizations monitoring the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, in particular through the NGO he created in 2012, Kerem Navot. We begin by conversing about the very name of this organization, telling the story of the biblical character, Navot, against whom King Ach’av plots to steal his land. We then examines both official and non-official Palestinian land seizing by the Israeli army and settlers. These takes over are always characterized by their justification by a legal narrative claiming their legitimacy. We particularly insist on the agricultural function of most land expropriated ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2016
This conversation with Taysir Batniji evolves around one question: what is being a Palestinian artist, or rather, in what consists the delicate and complex negotiation between the urgency of a 70-year-old situation of systematic oppression and the necessity not to be essentialized by it. Between curators and critiques that often oscillate between judging his work as propaganda or thinking that it does not embody the victim’s narrative, Taysir reflects on Palestinianness and, in particular, its relationship to time. We discuss this dimension of his work through episodes of his life between Gaza and Paris, as well as through some of his artworks (see ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2014
As discussed in the previous conversation with Alejandro Grimson, Argentina is built on a myth of Europeanness, thus concealing its indigenity from its national narrative. This conversation with Axel Lazzari introduces us to the historical and current political situations of the indigenous populations in Argentina. We begin by addressing the very terminology we use and the power of naming as a means of control. Axel then provides us with a short account of the European colonization of the indigenous land, subsequently enforced by the mapping of the territory. We look at the three historical maps below to understand the controlled ...

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PublisherThe Funambulist2015
In this conversation with Ana Džokić, we address the local politics of space and architecture in the capital city of Serbia, and former capital city of Yugoslavia, Belgrade. We use Ana’s carrier as an architect to explore the evolution of the way the city is inhabited from what she calls “wild city” at the end of the 1990s (recalling two other Archipelago conversations in Mexico City and Cairo) to the most recent capitalist development (in particular the Belgrade Waterfront project). We also questions the role of architects and its evolution in this politics, from the position of technocrat to the one that orchestrates conversation about ...

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PublisherSaraba2010
First a caveat: the story of the delta is tricky. One fraught with a rigmarole of details and bilious emotions, but must still be told nonetheless. We owe it to ourselves, to literature and, most of all, to humanity. And what is the best way to dispel this ambiguity: to begin by saying that the tale is rather a simple one. The details are numerous, disorganised, recurring. The Delta is the nexus of the Nigerian economy and the fulcrum of our existence. The Niger Delta is a gift as well as a curse, our plague as much as our pride. The game ...

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Ruben Pater, working under the name Untold Stories, describes his work as creating “visual narratives about geopolitical issues” and creating “new relations between journalism and design”. He most recently is the author of the book, The Politics of Design, where Pater explores the cultural and political context of the typography, colors, photography, symbols, and information graphics that we use every day. In this conversation, I talk with Ruben about the book and the relationship between design and journalism, showcasing his process as the artifact, the importance of studying design outside of the traditional Western canon, and why he still calls himself ...

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