Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen
This article uses an adjusted Marxist base-superstructure analysis of the late Zaha Hadid’s bmw plant in Leipzig to connect neoliberal architecture with the structural transformations in logistics that have taken place over the past four decades through the introduction of the container and the implementation of just-in-time production. Hadid’s bmw plant is analysed as a spectacular expression of the dream of logistics somehow surpassing the mode of production by transforming all fixed capital into circulating capital, producing “ultimate profit machines.” The article thus contributes to the development of a critical cultural theory that “returns” to capital and situates cultural objects such as architecture within broader socioeconomic contexts. It does so by mapping the complex relationships between an economy “infused” with culture and an architecture that has become instrumental to the workings of the post-Fordist economy and taken the form of an architectural spectacle.
This article explores the securitisation of urban space through a series of photographic and video performance works made in the British context. After introducing a number of security trends through the work of photographer Henrietta Williams, the chapter explores the documentary photography series Amber Alert (2012) and The Camera Never Lies (2009) by Giles Price as well as Jill Magid’s performance and video project Evidence Locker (2004). These works share a strong interest in securitised architecture and space and the ways in which they affect us as individual and collective subjects. These works do more than just represent the transformation of cities in the name of security that has characterised the past decades; they also trace effects of, as well as possible responses to, this process from the perspective of the individual and citizen. Focusing on the experience of and agency within urban space, works such as those analysed here reflect the new reality of the securitised city as “surveillance space.” Regarding them as a form of practical theory and research, I demonstrate here how works of art can contribute genuine insights to the debate concerning the proliferation of security and surveillance technologies in cities worldwide.
This chapter analyses two works by Brazilian director José Padilha, a documentary,Ônibus 174 (Bus 174), and a feature film, Tropa de Elite (Elite Squad). Ônibus 174 (re)tells the story of a tragic bus hijacking that took place in the wealthy southern district of Jardim Botânico, while Tropa de Elite is a more conventional narrative about a crack police squad attempting to combat drug gangs. The works contribute in startlingly contradictory ways to debates surrounding that which Loïc Wacquant calls the shift from the “penalization to the militarization of urban marginality.” Both respond to the fact that in Rio de Janeiro, the hegemony of the prison as the state-sanctioned means of dealing with insecurity and violent crime has been destabilised by alternative, more rapid, and more lethal practices, which I suggest indicate a shift towards a version of what Gilles Deleuze terms the “society of control.”
Since the 1990s, Malmö’s Lot 30:40, situated near the railroad, has been left in a state of decay. Formerly an area with allotment gardens owned by railroad employees, this is now a disused field, with a scattering of fruit trees harking back to the now-vanished allotments. The site is occasionally maintained by its owner, Jernhusen AB, but is left largely unmanaged and unscrutinised. The site appears as a mix between terrain vague and overgrown garden, but is used by city residents as a recreational area. Sometimes homeless people set up tents and cook there, but this exceeds the limits of what the owners will abide, and the temporary homeless residents are made to leave. The area is in a state that defies usual descriptions and thus offers an urban space in which activities are not defined in advance. Malmö’s Lot 30:40 can be seen as existing in a fluid state since it has not yet taken definite shape, yet with its disordered state, it simultaneously offers some relief as a space that defies change and embraces the disordered.
Samantha L. Martin-McAuliffe
Although catastrophising is not a term commonly employed within architectural discourse, it is extensively analysed in medical research, especially within cognitive science. The basic premise of catastrophising is that individuals develop absorbing, and ultimately consuming, thoughts of catastrophe. Once this condition becomes the predominant or even default mode of thought for a person or group, a sense of paranoia deepens. Paranoia, in its most elemental sense, is a type of anxiety. But as most of us can attest from our own experiences, anxiety can lead to unreliable thoughts, especially when it surfaces in situations in which danger is not a genuine or realistic threat. It is important to mention that while the spatial context of anxiety is often tacitly acknowledged, such as in the term agoraphobia, it nevertheless remains understudied, especially within architectural history. This contribution considers how architecture participates in the drama of human anxiety and suspicion. A recurring theme in this analysis is that of containment: the attempt to deflect or prevent harm through the deployment of (passive) defences, in particular concrete bunkers. Using the plethora of bunkers built by Enver Hoxha’s communist regime in Albania as a case study, this chapter ultimately examines how man-made interventions that are specifically designed to reassure communities paradoxically manifest conditions in which insecurities are acutely realised.