In this post, I am going to reflect on an article that I think is related to our class.
Before this article, I’ve always thought humble bollards were made to dissociate vehicles and pedestrians. It’s generally not an easy task to connect an unobtrusive cylinder(or rectangular) shaped column to a heavy subject like anti-terrorism. However, after reading this article, I’ve learned that fortifications could manifest in the simplest forms, for instance : throned garden bushes that encloses a mansion, or buildings with only one entrance. Moreover I’ve also learned that architects don’t want you to know that you’re being physically limited.(This triggered some interesting questions : So is Aesthetics also a tool used by political entities? What is the role of aesthetics in a Biopolitical state?)
The evolution of fortification is truly fascinating to me, as it reflects some of the most remarkable qualities of the human race – such as resilience and vigor, both are crucial human attributes that aids the advancements of the commonwealth. From gigantic visible fortifications (like the great wall in China) that can be easily targeted, destroyed and surpassed with modern technology, contemporary fortifications have taken a different route and chose the form of simple objects. Present fortifications blends so unsuspiciously into our day to day lives, not only our enemies find them difficult to locate, modern citizens for the most part aren’t even aware of their existence. Knowing that people of our time, including myself is conditioned and modified by theses infrastructures (physically and mentally), without even knowing about it is an alarming thought.
When I say alarming, I don’t mean to say that government regulation or infrastructures are inherently negative, I only think it’s alarming because so much of our reality is built and derived from the past, and yet so many people are ignorant to the continuos interaction between the past and the present . And thus I’m emphasizing the importance of history within the context of Biopolitics and architecture.
One can see the link between history, Biopolitics and architecture through 911. After the terrorist attack on 911, both the government and the people learned to modify their anti-terrorism strategies accordingly. And yet decades after, despite knowing the exact date, descriptions and literal impact of the event, people become estranged with the physical modifications made years ago. I think this is due to the human tendency to adapt to their environment, since human beings settle quickly, they are also prone to overlook their physical environment(unless they are an architect). And this is precisely the reason why Biopoltical architecture intrigues me so much. Architecture in this case, becomes two things – first a subtle expression of government control, and second an embodiment of collective historical experiences.