Book+ Review │ Yee Ting Lau: Crossing the line
In this day and age, we are not far from being informed of social and political issues through the multi-facets form of media. The Funambulist has proven itself to be an ambassador in raising awareness, as well as amplifying the fine print in mainstream media. Their aim to deepen understanding and discussion in matters that affects humanity on a global scale, sit them at a position as visionaries for future conversations.
The Funambulist is a printed and digital magazine completed with a blog and a podcast (Archipelago). With “Politics of Space and Bodies” as its subtitles, it shows aspiration in bridging different aspects of design with the world of the humanities through critical articles based on its bimestrial topic. Written by contributors around the globe, the team behind the magazine are made up of passionate personnels in the field of philosophy, anthropology, history, geography, human rights, etc.
Founder Léopold Lambert shared his vision for the magazine at The Funambulist presentation at Kubrick on 13 Oct, 2016. Rooted in the podcast Archipelago, he set off to learn in depth through conversations with his interviewees to explore conflicted bodies against restraints and violations by architecture in a broad sense. With contributors specialising in a range of topics, he has picked the articles without a dominant narrative. It is his passion to make academic studies approachable through different form of journalism to all audiences, without excluding those who did not come from an academic background.
The magazine’s layout and design is minimalistic, placing the article as its essential component. With the magazine’s progressive development, visuals are beginning to play a bigger part in referencing writers’ piece, as well as a form of info-graphics. There are also a few occasions where photography and illustrations take the main stage as a prominent piece ( See examples in Issue04 Carceral Environments). The magazine’s structure was partially based on administrative guidelines and Lambert’s editorial decision. It opens with a letter by Editor-in-chief, Lambert himself introducing each issue’s topic. Followed by articles by guest contributors around the globe outside of the issue’s topic, moving onto issue’s focus in the form of articles, transcripts, and finally end with students’ submission related to the monthly discussion in the magazine.
The Funambulist is definitely the first magazine of its kind. It’s a welcoming clique, which is unusual in the first place. It has proven that academia can be available to a broader audience through articles organised and edited by topic. It encourages everyone to be informed, which paves ways and smooths roads for changes to come. To a reader like me who is alien to hefty research and scientific papers, some passages in the magazine runs on the borderline of being typical academic-writing-ish, but for the most part, articles are comprehensive and to-the-point. Effort in switching up lengths of essays is to be seen, and it helps reading the magazine in small doses each time. I appreciate Léopold and the team’s discomfort in the ivory tower and their refusal to stay there. Instead, carrying as much as they could with them to share with those who haven’t set foot in one.
Yee Ting Lau
Dried off from being “soaked in salt water” ( a Cantonese slang, look it up, it’s there on the WorldWideWeb ),Yee Ting returned to Hong Kong 4 years ago. She prioritises having a book in her bag over anything, even her smartphone. Together with her partner-in-crime, Ben, they run http://come-intothefort.com/ to share their creative endeavours and lifestyle influenced by over-analysing everything. Aspired to make geek the new chic.
is a bimestrial printed and digital magazine complemented with a blog and a podcast (Archipelago) edited by Léopold Lambert. Its subtitle, “Politics of Space and Bodies,” expresses it ambition to bridge the world of design (architecture, urbanism, industrial and fashion design) with the world of the humanities (philosophy, anthropology, history, geography, etc.) through critical articles written by long-time collaborators as well as new ones.
Many aspects of The Funambulist’s editorial mediums remain free and in open access (books, blog, and podcast) and readers who enjoy the forms and contents of the platform are invited to consider purchasing or subscribing to the magazine as a form of support for this form of production of knowledge.
Audio Recordings of the Presentations of The Funambulist in Tokyo and Hong Kong