September, 2018, in Places

Brent Sturlaugson onthe supply chains of architecture” and “networks of materials, energy, power, money“. To wit;

In describing some of the processes by which coal mined in Wyoming comes to supply a coal-fired power plant in Georgia, which in turn provides power to a nearby plywood manufacturer, I have sketched only the most basic components of the supply chains of a single resource and single commodity. And likewise, in tracing how the profits from energy generation and product manufacturing can then be deployed to influence electoral politics, which in turn affect our national policies and personal lives, I’ve offered but a glimpse

Shannon Mattern (as part of her self-described “urban data and mediated spaces” beat) examines “the hardening of American borders and the spread of new technologies of recognition and identification that are changing the way we appear to one another.” Particularly “In Trump’s America“.

Ultimately, laying out “a final object lesson, which proposes a new way of responding to the border, an embodied transnationalism“.


re: “The Dark Matter of the Security State”

The forms that need to come to light are the lived contours of the security state — the moving edges, vectors, and territories that have an everyday presence…What elements of the security architecture could never be summarized on a powerpoint slide? For the security state is not only a scalar leviathan—that which would never be domesticable anyway, even if Congress did put its little minds to it. It is a series of relationships

In light of recent news re: NSA and Snowden’s leaks, Demilit argues for the mapping of the “dark matter” of the NSA + security apparatus

‘Pillar of Cloud’ and Wrecking Gaza

Using evidence drawn from the IDF’s own Twitter feed and public statements, along with their own on-site visitation, James Marc Leas and Theresa McDermott document how civilian infrastructure is targeted by Israeli military in Wrecking Gaza.

In the cases investigated, Israel’s destruction of civilian property appears to have provided no military advantage. Damage to civilian property was disproportionate and the IDF website admits that some of the attacks were in reprisal. In all of the cases reported here, interviewees reported that no Palestinian fighters were in the property bombed by Israeli forces. Consequently military necessity does not appear to be available. Further investigation is needed into the apparent violations. The International Criminal Court should conduct the investigation

Via CounterPunch here

Cities as Theaters for Conflict : “militarized subarchitectures…spatial deposits of political contest”

Bryan Finoki (seen below doing what can only be called a boffo act of public speaking as performance, in 2010 at University of Michigan Taubman College) at the Future of Urbanism conference.

China, USA, Cuba and Guantánamo

“Cuba’s involvement with China has been intensifying for more than a decade, as Russian influence has receded. The Chinese have built an amusement park and sold fleets of buses. They have been granted use — if our intelligence can be trusted — of a large signals-intelligence base on the outskirts of Havana near the airport, a giant electronic ear-horn right off our shores, the price we pay for renouncing any involvement with a country so close. There is the sheer geopolitical weirdness of Guantánamo’s being there, too: the Chinese and the Americans operating on the same island, off the coast of Florida. Guantánamo was supposed to be gone. It’s holding on like the Castros.”

Not surprised why. But this jumped out at me, as something I din’t know as fact before but which seems illustrative. via John J. Sullivan’s recent piece for NYT Sunday Magazine, A Prison, a Paradise: Cuba on the Brink, But of what?.

Early in the essay he references the notion of querencia or “the place where you are your most authentic self“. The online edition includes a fantastic slideshow ft the work of Andrew Moore, a photographer who has spent more than a decade traveling to Cuba.

`Gitmo North’ closed; saving approximately $2.5 million annually

“I hope that unit in Kingston will be, I don’t like to use the word destroyed, I’d just like to see it flat. No more likely trace of that holding. I don’t wish anybody to be there.”

So said Hassan Almrei an ex-detainee of the facility.

A ‘second geography’ of logistical spaces, scientific management and the ‘age of anxiety’

Three recent essays published by Mute explored the connections between surveillance, national security and logistics-driven production.

In the first Logistics and Opposition, Alberto Toscano examines the anti-urbanist presuppositions of insurrectionary anarchism.

For my purposes however, what is paramount is what this logistical view of post-Fordism tells us about the character of antagonism, and specifically of class struggle. Narcissistically mesmerised by hackers, interns and precarious academics, radical theorists of post-Fordism have ignored what Bologna calls ‘the multitude of globalisation’, that is all of those who work across the supply chain, in the manual and intellectual labour that makes highly complex integrated transnational systems of warehousing, transport and control possible. In this ‘second geography’ of logistical spaces, we also encounter the greatest ‘criticality’ of the system – though not, as in the proclamations of The Coming Insurrection , in the isolated and ephemeral act of sabotage, but in a working class which retains the residual power of interrupting the productive cycle – a power that offshoring, outsourcing, and downsising has in many respects stripped from the majority of ‘productive’ workers themselves.”

Further he argues that the inherent urban character of logistics as a mode of production suggests that anti-urbanist visions of post revolutionary space/time are in fact counter-productive. Drawing from a 2010 essay by Mike Davis, Toscano believes that our utopian future perhaps lies in cities themselves.

In the second What the RFID is That?, Brian Ashton zooms in on the microscopic technologies surveilling and shaping working lives. Although scientific management was a product of the late 19th century Ashton contends that contemporary capital’s ability to gather, archive and correlate information on the worker/consumer is simply the logical extension of that old idea. Whether at the human scale a la RFID chips, employer provided workplace badges, drug test, computer monitoring or at the larger scale a la Echelon or other government projects for data-mining all he concludes:

As the welfare state model of social control is being dismantled, the need for other forms of control increases. The hegemonic structures are there to encourage us to interiorise the control mechanisms – the prison, the factory, the asylum and the school, for example. As sketched out in this article, capital and the state are using technologies like GPS and RFID to back up the already existing mechanisms of control”

Finally, in the third Anxious Resilience, Mark Neocleous explores how the neoliberal state’s production of generalised anxiety…produces subjects that fit perfectly with the needs of capital. Provactively, Mark wonders:

I want to suggest that the management of anxiety has become a way of mediating the demands of security. It has done so within a broader logic of endless war. We have been told time and again that the War on Terror is a war like no other: this is a war without end, a permanent state of emergency, a peace which is also war. Because of this, the ideas of war and peace have been increasingly subsumed under the logic of police and security. Might we not think of the age of anxiety as a form of police power deployed for the security crisis of endless war?

Even more interesting he goes on to make the arguement that the spread of the concept of resilience or  resiliency is “Central to this process“. Implying then that all the talk amongst design professionals in recent years of the need for resilient urbanism et al., may perhaps be a less progressive (politically at least) notion than as generally articulated.

Military environmentalism and militarized landscapes

In Defending Nation, Defending Nature? Militarized Landscapes and Military Environmentalism in Britain, France, and the United States  the authors develop a nascent history of landscapes used to prepare for war and national defense.

They write that:

In this essay, we expand our coverage from model pits at SENTA to the larger field of militarized landscapes…we aim to bring more sustained focus to militarized landscapes and open them up, within a three-nation comparative context, as sites of enduring importance to historians.

Throughout they examine the space between Jeffrey Davis’s notion of double erasure, and Rachel Woodward’s interpretation of khaki conservation. There is a clear path from the post, Post-Cold War notion of khaki conservation and military base as Sanctuary to contemporary military efforts to go green.

In conclusion they suggest “The shift at Epynt from Conservation Centre to Visitor Centre, with its overt focus on “Warriors and Wilderness,” may be the harbinger of a new development in military environmentalism: a move beyond khaki conservation…Among the three nations that form our study, the United Kingdom is firmly in the vanguard of military environmentalism…Our research on Britain suggests, in particular, that the personal interests and background of the base commander can be crucial.

Refining the use of habeas corpus

Two professors of law Joseph L. Hoffmann and Nancy J. King, argue in “Justice, Too Much and Too Expensive” that there is a need to refine and restrict the use of habeas corpus as writ or petition. The idea I will admit was shocking enough to me, that it wasn’t until I came to the end of their piece that the reasoning became clear. The reasoning grows out of their belief that the main need for habeas corpus in American legal system (to enforce federal constitutional rights even within state criminal cases) is anachronistic because

today state judges no longer resist the idea that they are required to enforce federal constitutional rights in state criminal cases. Now prisoners in every state can file both an appeal and a post-conviction petition in state court, where alleged violations of federal rights can be reviewed and, if necessary, corrected. Habeas has thus fulfilled its mission: it helped facilitate the move to a criminal justice system in which the supremacy of federal law is unchallenged.”

They then claim that excessive and frivolous continued deployment of un-restricted habeas corpus claims are an unnecessary burden (in time and cost) on the federal courts system. Therefore, Hoffmann and King suggest Congress should seek to restrict and re-define the ability or parameters of the circumstances (too only capital cases for instance) in which a habeas corpus petition could be made.

bomb the drone (or it’s reproduction)

A minor (open-source) act of insurgent citizenship and imaginative transgressions instigated by @demilit.

Step 1: Download an image of a drone. Here’s one… Or try wikimedia… Or Air Force…

Step 2: Bomb the fuck out of that drone!

Step 3: Post it to the web.

Step 4: Let us know by saving it with a tag for #demilit and/or #bombthedrone. (We encourage you to make sure it is licensed for non-commercial distribution.)

This is one example:

Editors Note: I took a slightly more meta (different) approach and used a picture I took of a laser-cut, pop-out, DIY paper airplane in the mail, modeled after a Predator Drone, I received from the demilit crew a few weeks back. And I colored (aka bombed the ‘real’ thing). When I first received the package by mail my  idea was to put it together and then film a few seconds of flight. But this “challenge” works too.

Discover more here, here and here