#HacerPlaza — #GatherThePavement


The image shows 12 children playing in Prospect Place, Brooklyn. With chalk they have multiplied the pavement, they have turned it into a multidimensional field of relations and possibilities. The pavement, through its coarse but receptive horizontality, becomes fundamental actor in their game. Also temporal organizer, for we can imagine the rhythm of the game set by the use of the street by moving cars. Meanwhile, the parked ones create temporal boundaries, limits that become also in-between spaces for regaining one’s breath, for one-to-one exchanges. A boundary that becomes post of observation of the world unfolding within… Non-human bodies, cars, pavement, also the buildings, though not visible on the picture, we know the architecture of those Brooklyn streets. Not too tall houses and large windows that connect inside and outside in a constant dialogue that breaks any regulatory division between the private and the public. And of course, the children’s bodies, in this precise instant they are set in almost a perfect circle, but each of their positions implies an arrow of movement they are about to trace: flying with the arms opened, bent down, hands in the pavement, ready to start running, turning over oneself as a spinning top while following the movements around… And what about the nomos, the habits, the uses, the norms ruling this setting? They are inscribed into their movement as well. Into the rhythms of their game , both given by the negotiated nature of their pavement-board, but also by the time of day. Their activity is part of a background temporality, an everyday continuity. And we have Schmitt’s exception as well, for they have created a sphere of sovereignty in game. They are masters of this bounded space. They control its possible movements and rules through the constant renegotiation of their action. And so on… Just as Georges Perec did with his Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, we need to exhaust these situations. Perform their anatomic study through a kind of spatial forensics in which bodies’ agency, common disposition and constant materialization unfold.

Extract from the paper presented at the
Law&Boundaries Conference at SciencesPo.