Exception and the rebel body: the political as generator of a minor architecture

World Press Photo of the Year 2009

Pietro Masturzo, Italy

From the rooftops of Tehran, June

Lucía García de Jalón Oyarzun

Juan Miguel Hernández León
Filippo del Lucchese

A definition of the political may be posited – based on the works of Giorgio Agamben in his “Homo Sacer” series – as a body’s capability for action (or absence thereof). Consequentially, it is the individual that is taken as a starting point; but said individual must necessarily appear in a liaison with others, and it is here – in its simultaneous condition – that its operational potential may be found. Even in its own definition, the bodily movements which tie it to the rest are already apparent; the action (or lack thereof) starts from the bodily self, but is – in its own occurrence – interwoven with the fabric of commonality.

The spatiality which is inherent to the body is understood as a complex topological extension grasping at every instance the sensible world; and simultaneously reflecting and allowing for crossings, ties, intensities, densities, proximities etc. which together add up to the experiential fabric in which it is embedded. This personal spatiality, when resonant with others, creates the communal spatiality the comprehension of which constitutes the principal goal of this work; also, it has developed into the reference framework for new intervention strategies in contemporary space.

The aforementioned analysis is carried out from a collection of exceptional cases or situations, found throughout History, in which a link may be found between political issues and a development of an idiosyncratic communal spatiality: medieval Central European carnival as a space for ambiguity; the Parisian Cours des Miracles; the path leading to Foucault’s “Great Confinement”; colonial expansion and the destruction of the outside world; North American Segregation as a case of duplicated reality; and, finally, post-democratic spaces or the continuation of May 1968.