The affective politics of Gordon Matta-Clark’s Conical Intersect.

by thomasdekeyser

It has taken a while, but my article discussing the implications of the American artist Gordon Matta-Clark’s Conical Intersect for the (non-representational) geographies of architectural has finally been published in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. Gordon Matta-Clark started off by performing illegal building cuts into abandoned buildings, offering visitors a dream-like, yet disorientating experience of architectural life, while opening up our imaginations of what architectures-to-come might entail. It has been slightly off my radar since my PhD pays little attention to activities unfolding outside of the realm of ‘subverting’. Still, I recommend you to have a look – it features some of Marc Petitjean’s amazing images of the work. You can find it here.


Here is the abstract: This paper contributes to a burgeoning concern with the ‘critical geographies of architecture’. The central argument is that recent architecture–geography encounters – inspired by non-representational approaches to material mutability and affective inhabitation – are failing to connect with socio-political framings of the architectural. In this light, the paper aligns Gordon Matta-Clark’s architectural artwork Conical Intersect (1975) with the Deleuzo-Guattarian axiom of micropolitics and macropolitics to re-insert the architectural subject as a microtexture of political forms imbued with (1) asymmetrical assemblages of material volatility, (2) restricted capacities of ‘dwelling or being with’ architecture and (3) bounded notions of living affectively. I suggest Conical Intersect foregrounds architectural space as a meeting of dreamworlds and institutional effects. In its piercing of that space of interaction, the artwork produces an architectural form freed from the conventions of legal and physical constraints to suggest the potency of alternative modes of living with and living in architecture that should be of primary interest to critical geographies of architecture and beyond.