Applied Topology

[Image: One of Gordon Matta-Clark‘s many “building cuts“].

If you’re in the Bay Area on Thursday night, September 6th, and interested in continuing the discussion that opened up with Breaking Out & Breaking In: A Distributed Film Fest of Prison Breaks and Bank Heists, I will be giving a talk at the UC-Berkeley Center for New Media called “Applied Topology.”

[Image: Another type of “building cut” from Rififi].

In the words of the event description, “Applied Topology” explores “burglary, tunneling, and urban perforation… discuss[ing] the city as seen—and, more importantly, used and misused—by people other than architects and urban planners.”

Ultimately asking if spatial crimes such as breaking & entering and burglary have anything to offer urban theory, “Applied Topology” explores an alternative, even illicit, understanding of how the city can be used and operated. From Gordon Matta-Clark to the tunneling crew of The Bank Job, from the Mole Man of Hackney to L.A.’s notorious “Hole in the Ground Gang,” how does applied topology—the forced introduction of unplanned connections, perforations, holes, tunnels, and cuts—transform our relationship with architectural space?

These themes are also part of a forthcoming book I am writing for FSG on the burglar’s relationship to the city, or crime—and its prevention—as a peculiar lens through which to view the built environment. In all cases, expect bank vaults and border tunnels, “strong rooms” and Nakatomi Space, criminal gangs and 3D-printed lockpicking kits, as we approach architectural space through the eyes of those who would misconnect or undercut it.

The talk kicks off at 5pm and is free and open to the public. It will be in Sutardja Dai Hall, in Banatao Auditorium.

3 thoughts on “Applied Topology”

  1. I recently saw a movie on TCM called Harry and Walter Go to New York that involved tunneling to rob a bank.

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