12 December 2011

Article: Teddy Cruz, "Mapping Non-Conformity: Post-Bubble Urban Strategies"

The "Unsettling Visuality" issue (7.1) of bi-lingual English and Spanish visual arts journal e-Misférica comfortably houses amongst its various pieces on such subjects as Latin American visual culture, experimental neighbourhoods in Bogotá and Haitian tent geography, the article by urban architecture scholar Teddy Cruz, "Mapping Non-Conformity: Post-Bubble Urban Strategies". Using the malleable and thoroughly breached borders between San Diego and Tijuana as a complex case study, Cruz provides a forward-thinking commentary on the intersections between urban planning, the localisation of architectural creativity and designing space as political act.

Cruz travels between personal reflection (didactic and manifesto-esque, taking the suggestive format of numbered and italicised paragraphs as its opening and closing remarks), an absorbing narrative of movement which shift between and through these urban borders, and a situational analysis of four particular incidences of mobility which frustrates the strict demarcation of borders between these two spaces. In doing so, he strikes a refreshing balance between rational pluasibility and motivated revolutionism, and underlining this is the critical question: where can we find architectural practice (praxis)? His answer: in the "dismantling of the LARGE by pixilating it with the micro: an urbanism of retrofit", which requires, first and foremost, a re-evaluation of the geopolitics of jurisdiction and property.

"The linear rigidity of the artificial geopolitical boundary, which has 'flat-lined' the pulsations of the living complexity of the natural, is transformed back into a complex set of porous lines perpendicular to the border, as if they were small leakages that began to percolate through a dam...punctur[ing] the boderline in our fictional cartography..."
All the back issues of e-Misférica are also free to access online, as well as their current issue "Performance ≠ Life".

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