Yesterday, I attended to Geoff Manaugh (BLDG BLOG
) brilliant lecture at Pratt in which he introduced the Quarantine workshop
he is currently leading in the Storefront. I am very interested by this notion of quarantine in the materialization of fear and paranoia its implies. The potentiality for each building to become a quarantine station therefore a prison seems to me as embodying perfectly an ultimate state of totalitarianism. It reminds me of Foucault’s descriptions in Discipline and Punish
(see former post
) in which he depicts a middle age city infected by the Plague (see also Geoff’s article on Albert Camus’ Plague
) and the imprisonment of every inhabitants in their own house waiting for the health inspection which would deliver a license of free circulation in case of non-infection. What is really striking with this notion of quarantine is the precaution it implies. No matter if one is infected or not, if he is suspected to be, his circulation will be controlled.
Another example quarantine evokes to me is Peter Watkins’ movies, Punishment Park
on the one hand and The War Game
on the other hand. The first one depicts. in an amazing documentary imitation, the invention of a park lost in the desert used by the police to train itself, chasing in the most violent way young “voluntary” dissidents. The War Game
is also a diversion of a documentary (a kind of official one) dramatizing a country (England) living in the paranoia of a nuclear attack. Through these two movies, we can observe both violent remoteness of infected citizens (the infection is not necessarily viral) and the fear being the leitmotiv of a nation and therefore its omnipresent material of this nation’s both physicality and social relationships.