displacements: an x’scape journal is an architectural & editorial project working to face in an integrated way the two essential aspects of any critical practice: knowledge and action. In order to do this, displacements opened its first call for written and/or cartographic essays, projects, or any other editable formats, working in and from the ambiguous relationship between law and architecture.
Understanding the nomos as a social process inseparable from the production of a common spatiality means that the relationship between law and architecture appears as a constituent social practice in which bodies, customs and territory materialize in landscape. When exception turns into rule a zone of vagueness and indeterminacy appears, a zone in which the possibility for criminal displacements lies. Displacements born out of the need to operate in and from that area of ambiguity defined by the post-democratic contemporary exception.
Crime allows us to detect and understand the workings behind these new contemporary legal zones. Zones which are the result of an ongoing reconfiguration process between the bodies, practices and dispositifs forming them. To be able to analyze and act on them, it becomes necessary to look beyond scalar, disciplinary or historical divisions, from an expanded concept of landscape able to assert its ecological, political and social complexity.
In This is Not a Program, the french journal and philosophical collective Tiqqun faced their critical project as nothing other than a science of crime. There is no possible theory to understand the workings of our contemporary world, only experimentation, for “one is never initiated into an apparatus, only into how it works.” An apparatus read as a productive enframing of life, an optimization of processes in search of economical and technical efficiency. Only through crime we can fully grasp the strategies and dispositions of the actors that configure the apparatus. Through crime, we become an intensive presence in a space in which every detail surrounding us comes to life: crime becomes a critical tool of knowledge. An instrument that, far from being reduced to an act or a moment implies a condition of existence, a permanent form of presence that radically changes the way we read, act and tranform space. Against a space with perfectly defined and referenced coordinates that make possible the illusion of an outside view, the eye beyond the body of discipline and order, there arises an idea of a produced common spatiality in which we discover ourselves enmeshed, not just placed.
This transformation in the understanding of space is a constant in most of our contributions. Courses and charts for a present day Ulyses. Philosopher Pablo Bustinduy helps us frame this change in The Empty City, setting the tone for several essays working on the relation between the production of space and its political dimension. While Kaveh Alagheband writes over the concept of exception in architecture Mateo Fernández-Muro wonders on the passage from exception to inception, Léopold Lambert offers us a cartography of a fictional NY Commune and Ana Medina considers the relation between physical space and revolutionary acts. Meanwhile Natalia Matesanz looks back into the affective spaces of May’68 to build a model of the dissident city, a reflection on the instruments we use to capture and understand the real that also defines Victor Cano’s Cartografías Criminales. Cooking Sections’ Dietary Confinement shows how imprisonment is not made only through walls but through different modulations in our access to the sensible. Other imprisonments and exceptions come up: the involuntary prisoners of landscape in Nature’s Paradox resonate via Koolhaas with Marta Rabazo’s study of the spatial anomalies around the Death Strip of the Berlin Wall. The relation with the normal and the everyday is also addressed by Antonio Gallud and Juan Tuset through the cinema, by Chanel Dehond through science-fiction and by Rui Morais e Castro through the art of Dan Graham. An everyday that brings forward the problem of scale as we realize that, to build it, we need to become geopolitical as both Victor Lledó or Zooburbia show us in their work, and how, the other way around, the daily life of a community becomes a complex mesh of laws and norms as in Katherine Melcher’s Disruptions. Different methodologies arise as well, from the spatial forensics of Joaquín Juberías in his analysis of the Warsaw ghetto or Janet Yoon’s Fluidities of Arrangements onto the different readings of Aby Warburg or Walter Benjamin in works like Pedro Bustamante’s or the Atlas de Paraísos by Sergio Cobos. Economy, which has a background role in many of the articles, comes to the fore in this article as well as in Davide Ferrando’s Bubblescapes. Finally, reflections on the discipline, its core strategies and its problems are brought on by the work of Eduardo Rega and The Judge-Less Trial of Architectural Things, the Making City + Productive Housing project by Posconflicto Laboratory in Guatemala and in our first displaced dialogue with Rafael Beneytez.
displacements: an x’scape journal was born a year ago inspired by one idea: broaden the scope of the dialogue. This expression meant for us to bring beyond the walls of the 1N5 classroom the strategies we had implemented in our courses and research at the School of Architecture of Madrid for the last five years. This broadening meant becoming multiple. Multiplying our language. What for many people will seem downright crazy—publishing work in different languages intermingled within the same pages—, for us became simply a necessity. Multiplying our spaces: displacing our actions while being ourselves displaced. And of course, multiplying the (f)actors. That is why we want to thank here all the authors who have contributed to this first number of displacements: an x’scape journal. Working with them has been a true pleasure and opportunity for all of us. We hope that the joy we have felt during the preparation of this number has somehow spilled over its pages.
Finally, but most importantly, we want to dedicate each and every second, word, line and world within this first displacement (and all to come) to Darío Gazapo and Javier García Benítez. Darío gave us life. Plain and simple (if there is something simple about that). He opened up our world in disquieting and indescribable ways and taught us, by sharing the best of everyday landscapes, to go on. As Darío closes this number disguised as Tarkovski’s Stalker, Javi opens it. Through drawing he rendered infinite the power of a line, a carving, a gesture… Also a gesture, turned mythical voice in his throat —ar—, drew up for us a universe broader than our imagination.
Both have made us what we are.
To both we are eternally thankful.