Des corps dans la Nuit
Gender dynamics, normative transgressions, solidarities and self-defenses.
21.02.2022 - 25.02.2022, HEAD – Genève x EPFL

Des corps dans la nuit analyzes the materiality of nocturnal spaces -its sensory, programmatic, atmospheric or separative qualities- and how they participate in the perpetuation of the capitalist and patriarchal domination matrix. During this workshop, we will unravel the night’s western imaginaries as a space-time of fear, insecurity and abnormality, producing a gendered polarization of bodies and urban spaces. Through feminist/queer methodologies, we will explore the night as a possible place to renegociate domination patterns. We will explore spatialized and spatializing subjectivities to outline how night spaces support these violences and to thwart them. The transformation of our bodies’ environment -from clothing to the street- will be a vector for a possibleresistance through space. We will delve into protection, spectacularization, disappearance, disturbance as strategies of performative self-defense, on the surface of the skin, through the lived sensory experience of a gendered body in its constructed environment.

The workshop will propose the elaboration of a theoretical framework (bookclub, collective discussions), a site analysis (in time, in space, in relation to subjectivities and social positioning), and a projectual intervention at scale 1. Through clothings, prostheses, gestures, spatial devices or body positionings, we will imagine performative strategies thwarting the studied dominations. We will realize an iterative projectual work around a series of streets in Geneva, case study of the workshop. 

“By freeing the bodies from the clothes that hinder the gestures, by deploying the movements, by diverting, deviating the use of familiar objects (umbrella, pin, brooch, coat, heels), by reviving muscles, by exercising a body that lives, occupies the street, moves, balances, the feminist self-defense establishes another relation to the world, another way of being. By learning to defend themselves, the activists create, modify, their own body schema - which then becomes in the doing the core of a political conscientization process”. 

Dorlin, Elsa. Se Défendre: Une Philosophie de La Violence. Paris: Zones, 2017:57.

Des corps dans la nuit is a workshop organized by the interior architecture department of HEAD - Genève in partnership with the architecture section of EPFL. Supported by the DRAGlab EPFL, it emerged from a discussion initiated within the working group Des Corps Dans La Ville of the Maison de l’architecture Ile-de-France

Artwork: Gabriel Vuillemin
Paule Perron, Julien Lafontaine Carboni


Julien Lafontaine Carboni (iel) is an architect. They graduated at ENSA Paris-Malaquais and currently end a PhD research at the ALICE Laboratory, EPFL. They published in several architectural, philosophical and anthropological journals such as Architecture and CultureTabula Rasa and Plan Libre. They investigate non-visual epistemologies to thread spatial histories; bodies, gestures and words enact and perform spatialities, implying other forms of historicity concealed by the architectural disciplinarization. Thus, their aim is to replace architectural political agency in gestures themselves, while proposing a critical architectural historiography and theory. They are activist within the DRAGlab at EPFL.

Paule Perron (she) is an independent architect. Since she graduated from the ENSA Paris-Malaquais, she has been developing a practice between research and project to question the perpetuation of domination patterns through the study of mutual influences between spaces and bodies, especially focusing on gender studies. She recently co-founded minor, a collective practice, while teaching at HEAD — Genève as an assistant for both the Interior Architecture department and the Domotopie FNS research project. She currently coordinates the Des Corps dans La Villeworking group at the Maison de l’architecture Ile-de-France. Her work has been published and exhibited in various magazines and institutions such as Plan LibreArchitecture d’Aujourd’hui and the Villa Noailles.