The work of Arakawa and Madeline Gins is usually approached through art theory, philosophy, or even sciences; yet, rarely is it examined through the underlying, yet powerful, political dimension of their groundbreaking work. This presentation will first attempt to demonstrate how all designs are calibrated on a certain idea of what a body is, almost always reinforcing societal normativity and its violence in doing so. It will then illustrate the ways through which Arakawa and Gins designed architectural projects that fundamentally subvert such normativity and, as such, can be read as one of the rare examples of revolutionary political architecture.
Léopold Lambert is a Paris-based, trained architect who collaborated with Madeline Gins in 2013–14. He is the editor-in-chief of the print and online magazine The Funambulist, dedicated to the politics of space and bodies. He is the author of Weaponized Architecture: The Impossibility of Innocence (DPR-Barcelona, 2012); Topie Impitoyable: The Corporeal Politics of the Cloth, the Wall, and the Street (Punctum Books, 2015); La politique du bulldozer: La ruine palestinienne comme projet israélien (Éditions B2, 2016); and States of Emergency: A Spatial History of the French Colonial Continuum (forthcoming, 2019). He has been the recipient of four Graham Foundation grants between 2014 and 2017.