Color is Politics

Dr. Stephen Luis Vilaseca

“The phenomenological approach to space and the lived body reveals the two to be inseparable.” – Félix Guattari, “Space and Corporeity”

For French thinker and activist Félix Guattari (1930-1992), the built environment and the body are components of the self that exist parallel to one another. Buildings form who we are just as we constitute constructed space. Change to one will elicit an alteration in the other. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the case of Tirana, Albania. Edi Rama, mayor of Tirana from 2000 to 2011, used color as a political tool for social transformation. He literally painted the town in order to inspire a renewed sense of belonging. In the video for Ted Talks, Rama explains that a French EU official rushed to block the financing for the painting because the colors did not meet European standards. Rama threatened to hold a press conference denouncing the EU…

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