Bryan is the editor of Subtopia, one of the most important and crucial research platform about militarized spaces and their biopolitical implications.
Bryan Finoki’s work is an excavation of the politics of space that underwrite the nature of the contemporary city. In response to a pervasive culture of fear, secrecy and constitutional sabotage, he confronts what he calls the “sub-architectural” dimensions of militarism and incarceration to further expose corruption’s refuge and the contesting forces that together shape the built environment. Using architecture and geography as a prism through which to interrogate the design and political production of space, his writing is a definition of military urbanism that expands our understanding of the everyday violence of the global city’s creeping securitization. If Empire is a hidden landscape then Bryan’s documentation not only helps to reveal it, but also shows an immense counter-landscape that is emerging in its fissures and shadow.
Léopold Lambert: Whenever somebody talks about control apparatuses in the city, one immediately evokes technologies such as surveillance cameras or sensors. However those devices seem to me as representing the control much more than actually applying it. What I mean is that they do not avoid anything to happen; they just act on people’s imaginaries in order to activate self-censorship in them, aware of the fact that they are being monitored. On the contrary, architecture in its physicality seems to me much more able to organize space in order to apply a whole set of control on it. My intuition is that architecture is never innocent. By that, I do not mean that each spatiality has been necessarily thought and designed as a political weapon but rather than this status is inherent to architecture and cannot be avoided.
To which extent could you agree to that?
Bryan Finoki: Well, in a general sense you might be right, but it is also important to understand the surveillance camera’s crucial role of acting within a larger scheme of security and defense tactics designed for the contemporary post-9/11 city. On one hand, the surveillance camera does more than just activate self-censorship in people but actually works to prevent certain activities by assisting other modes of delivering lethal force. An extreme example of this would be the surveillance cameras used by the Israeli Defense Forces positioned along the Gaza border that just so happen to be coupled with robotic snipers, which together can scan and fire upon pre-tagged and categorized targets. The surveillance cam is merely part of a broader weaponization of surveillance. Surveillance is hardly this passive device that many people think it is. Just consider the UAV (drone) carrying out strikes and “targeted assassinations” in Pakistan and elsewhere. While this may be the ultimate iteration of this, surveillance needs to be seen in context of the types of violence that the camera serves as a precondition for.
Other less egregious cameras in the UK are attached with loudspeaker systems so that camera operators can vocally reprimand people they observe and deem are up to no good. And surveillance camera along the US-Mexico border and in parts of London have been put into the hands of civilians who can control them much like a game over the internet now, turning the passive cam into a whole new realm of citizen surveillance and vigilantism, not to mention the bizarre pastime entertainment implications of the technology this way. This is obviously the direction these sorts of mechanisms are moving in; roboticization, automation, “smart surveillance”, “participatory panopticonism”, and, what I might call “lethal surveillance”; in other words, turning the passive device into an active weapon.
However, in most cases still the surveillance camera is proving more effective as a detective device rather than a preventive one. It’s less about being able to stop a crime, than it is about achieving the means to archive space/time in order to go back and search out and recreate the mapping of the criminal. Of course, surveillance systems are designed with the intent of preventing crimes and acts of violence, and (more importantly) are certainly sold to us on this premise as well, but they appear more useful as a post-event device rather than a pre-event one. But, then again, I’m hardly an expert so, what do I know? However, as much as the police state would like us to believe these systems are useful in preventing crime (and without question there are times when they have been), I am skeptical. All of this rhetoric seems mostly to be in service to the politics of surveillance and establishing the legal rationales (as flimsy as they may be) for eroding privacy rights and passing laws that further empower the state’s ability to intrude into civic affairs by normalizing ubiquitous surveillance systems. Further, the rhetoric goes a long way to filling the pockets of security industry lobbyists and the companies they represent who manufacture this stuff. Much of this technology, from the tiny traffic cam to the TSA’s full body scanners, have been sold to Congress by companies who are making a killing (no pun intended) off of the Defense budget.
Yet, another angle is the video camera in the hands of the police at activist rallies attempting to criminalize the protestor, or the FBI’s surveillance of left leaning activist groups; or, in the hands of the activists themselves monitoring police activity. All of this is even more compounded by the double standards that allow video cameras to be mounted from almost every building where they can observe not only public space all the time but cross into areas of other private space invasion, while laws are routinely passed making it increasingly illegal for the public to photograph certain buildings or urban spaces because those sites have been deemed sensitive to national security. The video camera as a simple object becomes an intense nexus point in the constant spatial political negotiation of the homeland city’s production as both a site of necessary preservation as well as one of a compulsory target that helps to justify the War On Terror national security discourse. The simple placement of a surveillance camera in any place, certainly a prominent civic space, suggests a lot about not only how that space is politically perceived, but about how the state imagines it (and wants it) to be perceived. Cameras are used today to both ward off people (the homeless in office parks) as well as to attempt to prove to others that a place is safe (for tourists in Nogales, Mexico along the border).
But, with that said, absolutely, I agree with you — this obsession with “panoptic urbanism” and the iconic CCTV camera that hangs over every doorway and upon every building in the “civil” world like some empire of miniaturized cyclopean cops waiting around the corners eager to make an arrest, has become more symbolic of a quasi-theological aspiration for control than anything else. Those cameras are the new iconography of self-obsessed state power – like the church crosses and the Roman statues of old, they’ve now been made into ornamental nodes of networked and technologized power that wants to project a kind of apotheosis of itself through the security landscape. It’s not the Pentagon as God, but the Pentagon acting as if it were in control of God itself. Even more frightening is how many people buy into this type of display, and take similar faith in the surveillance camera and the security apparatus as they would in God. The U.S. has made a strange religion out of its obsession with surveillance culture. Just look at Reality TV.
Nevertheless, it’s all emblematic of the state’s desperation to create an omniscient illusion of control and an ever-expanding image of its power at a time it is highly debatable whether all of this is just a sign of crumbling state power, or in fact state power’s more crafty enhancement. Either way, from a cultural perspective it is the ‘society of spectacle’ and the Orwellian prophecy manifesting together in the pornographic micro-governance of what geographer Steve Graham calls the matrix-like spatialization of ‘architectures of control.’ It is security as space and as the spectacle itself; “security theater” as Bruce Schneier I heard first call it. On one hand, it allays certain mass fears of being infiltrated by unwanted agencies, while on the other it only engineers new mutant forms of mass-hysteria all over again by triggering what can only be imagined requiring such measures. This engineered hysteria is very linked to financial modes of coercing consumerism and all the pathologic tactics intrinsic to fear culture. It is fear itself deployed as the greatest technology, to get people to buy into the politics of secrecy and security, and ultimately the economy of war that so depends on spending and social welfare cuts, and voting away their own civil and human rights in the name of “freedom.” What better way to trample on peoples’ rights and take them away than getting them to just willfully forfeit them? Fear created and deployed as a technology this way is the real weapon of mass destruction, if you ask me.
The fact that a lot of those surveillance cameras in street corners and parking lots don’t even work (!), and that people are self-censored (as you say) by the mere suggestion is ancient psychology by now, classic Sun Tzu ‘art of war’ deception stuff. Here, architecture is but the facet for this mythological nervous system that lives and breathes within our infrastructure, watching us, preying on our every move, taxonomizing our behaviors, criminalizing our very publicness; it is a fantasy of surveillant power and of a system that dreams of keeping eternal vigil over our very thought processes themselves. It’s a manipulation of people’s sense of faith; it’s dangerously constitutive of its own kind of religiosity. The architecture here simply baits one into social obedience, conforms one into the subservience of a false market of state control, all the while masquerading as this “safe place”, taking on the appearance of safety. Architecture now is caught up in this strategy of entrapment, treating everyone now as a potential combatant. We are in effect now completely interrogated by the urban landscape.
To a very large extent, power thrives mostly because it goes unchecked and is able to propagate a simulation of itself that expands it territory far beyond its actual measure. There is a visual economy to surveillance that constantly intimidates us into voluntarily surrendering to its gaze. The hollow circuitry of the CCTV scam becomes the storage device for a culture of total complicity, from the architecture’s buttressing of power to the citizen’s surrendering to it. Many studies have concluded that all these cams do little to actually prevent crime, but in many cases only exacerbate fears and suspicion. People are therefore handicapped by the fear of crime before any crime has even been committed.
Certainly, I also agree with your assessment that the physicality of architecture is more dangerous as a form of social control because we are talking about physical space, that which inherently not only takes up a set of coordinates on the map and carves up physical dimensions of our existence, but also generally requires another political and economic landscape in order to legislate and get it built within the coded world of urban planning, construction policies, private development, institutional finance, negotiation, all of which exist mostly far out of the hands and attention of the general public, and to which public opinion is often thrown in late at the end by token protocol, and so forth. In terms of American urbanism, you might say it is as genocidal today as it was in the beginning, though the parameters and definitions have changed. Even though we are not burning down Native American communities anymore and replacing them with settlers the killing is still there just at the level of institutional racism now, it just isn’t as blatantly obvious anymore. Instead of building fair and equitable affordable housing we are swindling people through predatory lending and foreclosures and filling prisons and shutting down schools instead. Urban renewal and the great hopes of modernizing public housing in many ways has shown to be more akin to the colonial legacy of internment and proxy incarceration, all performed at the level of the institution now. All of which of course links back to the prison and military industrial complexes finding ways to profit.
Architecture as an object of power operates on many levels, as you well know, from the design of prisons to the frontlines of urban gentrification, to the psychological molding of modernist space conformity. The very architectural image itself is a document of power. The design doc and the blueprint, much like the map, by nature is an inscription of a form of power. It is, as Eyal Weizman articulates better than most, the medium through which politics happens. It is “political plastic” he says. Architecture is the materiality through which politics are reified. It is not only how we physically negotiate the landscape but how one imagines it, how one imagines it for another, and perhaps how one can also reclaim it. In this regard it is inherently colonial. It is through architecture that so many socio-economic and political legal forces are contested and spatialized, concentrated and formatted for a larger geopolitical terrain. Architecture is violent, there are a number of contexts for observing this, and while defined by a politics, or embodying of a politics, architecture is the embedding of social ordering and class divisions, and various forms of knowledge that can only be fossilized by its construction. It can also be a form of obliterating knowledge and people such in the case of urbicide. Yet, architecture is also just a technology that depends on how it is used. I am not here demonizing architecture, but only want to stress that many times it is hardly innocent.
I am also a strong believer that the boundaries and powers of architecture extend well beyond those physical spaces that have been designed and built by just architects, but also are embodied by spaces that end up more or less de facto in the urban environment; these would be seemingly inconsequential architectures, emergent spaces, default containers of power: architecture not by formal design but as the product of other agendas and actors that just give way to space production in their own processing of power through the built environment. Such spaces, as innocuous as they may be (a squatters’ settlement), or as dangerous as they are clandestine (interrogation rooms), in my mind amount to another vast dimension of physical space that rarely gets discussed; that is, this notion that the environment can be harnessed not only as a weapon but as a formatting for a larger politics of secrecy to operate beyond normal oversight. This occurs either in a very aggressive way through post-9/11 urban fortress design, or in the seamy folds of space where jurisdictions are less pronounced, in spaces of non-descript context which then can be used for the purposes of carrying out certain political objectives or crimes, like torture, for instance. These are insidious under-the-radar pawn spaces in the age of hyper-urban geopolitics; unassuming space that becomes the beacon for the distribution of power through more covert means. The landscape as a mother board, the politics of secrecy as an operating system, architecture as the coded objects of a governing spatial logic.
And, on the other side of the spectrum, everyday space as camouflage for normalizing militarization. While architecture in a formal way has always existed in some close relation to power and defense, these sub-architectural spaces (spaces that haven’t been designed for defense so much as they have been co-opted by the dominions of defense and the spatial logic of the war machine) are equally deputized to expand some notion of policing, some notion of suspending the law in favor of unilateral limitless superpower. They are spaces of exceptional power by virtue of their lack of design.
Léopold Lambert: The Situationists were affirming that the only architectural operation that could be considered as a resistance towards an institutional power is its actual destruction. Would you agree with that –which is pretty much the same than saying that architecture is always linked to this type of power- or do you rather think that an architecture that owns some resistive values in its physicality is actually possible?
Bryan Finoki: I am very curious about the notion of the subversive architect, one that uses architectural design and innovation to game the system, to get around certain political constraints, or to help recalibrate the urban environment in some way that currently operates at a level of injustice, or illogic. I love the thought of a voluntary architectural suture. I don’t think architecture is so intertwined with power that it cannot be trusted on any level and therefore cannot exist. On the contrary, I am inspired by how architects can perhaps use their skills and knowledge and the value of architecture as a political art, and as a space of urban negotiation with institutional power, to in effect bring changes about spatially on their own. It seems the architect is in a good position to at least try and force new balances of power by establishing dialogs with the existing political structures through the medium of built environ design that might be able to challenge the institution in some way.
I guess (and probably due some to the fact I am not an architect but always thought I would go on to become one) that I still have this vision of running around with a stealthy team of architectural hackers to bring some level of public space reclamation and political renegotiation through my fly-by-night urban interventions. But not subversive for subversive’s sake, rather making adjustments to the built environment that relieve space of certain blockages of flow, efficacy, and ethicality. Spaces that need to be relieved of their pulsing commodification, their innate exclusionary principles; something like architectural acupuncture where architects are in it to restore a kind of level of optimism to space, to alleviate anxiety intrinsic within modern space, and ultimately to help instigate public agency.
All of this can be done I think in the open, too. This doesn’t have to be a group of secret space hackers. But, hacking and restoring justice in a spatial sense seems a ripe job for the architect, who not only may have an opportunity to bring some sensible level of change to the landscape that the institution may be preventing all along, but an opportunity to help wrestle control of the very meaning of architecture out from under the dominant thumb of wealth division and power, defense and the politics of secrecy, which seem to colonize space without much dispute or even public awareness. I think design has a lot to play in generating new knowledge this way, enfolding the public in the process of producing their own environment, one that can also bring communities into new models of political process. It’s about architects helping to interpret space for others, so those people can then construct their own narratives through architecture; new public narratives, political narratives, devising new political structures that architecture can help stabilize.
Léopold Lambert: Your answer raises a difficult question that I still did not settle on yet, which is about the legal status of a resistive architectural proposition and thus its degree of violence. This position towards the law can be, I believe, summarized with three various examples: The first one is Teddy Cruz’s which establishes a negotiation with the institutional power, the second one comes from Santiago Cirugeda who takes advantage of the law’s tiny faults and imprecision and eventually the last one consists in an illegal status which could be illustrated by Max Rameau’s action. Those three attitudes have both benefits and inconvenience. A strictly legal action which effect is fully understood by the institution is very often long or even impossible to obtain but has the potentiality of acquiring a real stability and durability. On the contrary Max Rameau’s civic disobedience that reclaims non-occupied speculative land in order to host homeless people appears as a very efficient and expressive action but remains constantly susceptible to be suppressed by authorities. Cirugeda’s game with legality thus seems as a good equilibrium between those two positions; however it requires an extensive knowledge of the law and allows only to operate in an extremely narrow field of possibilities.
Do you have a clear attitude towards those three possibilities or are you as indecisive as I am?
Bryan Finoki: I think all are equally noble and applicable depending on the circumstances. There is no one overarching strategy, per se. If the objective is to develop a means for brokering social and economic equality through space then I think there can be a role for the architect in nearly every context, and as each scenario comes with its own unique constraints and injustices the architect would need to address those uniquely through different tactics.
Since architecture is not only a political act but is the interface through which politics is in effect practiced – this demands an entire spectrum of practices and practitioners that can navigate all of the nuanced demands of the global landscape. So architects or ‘architecture’ must constantly find ways of reinventing and re-inserting itself in striving to reclaim and redefine the political. Where I fear space has been colonized by what I called the ‘sub-architectures’ of the War On Terror, I also think that the types of architectural interventions possible here could lead to some sort of new sub-political power, that may be productive in some ways but also counter in others.
With every new context of “spatial injustice” (for lack of a better term), or “spatial violence” comes the need for a specific deployment of spatial practice that can engage it. Of course, it depends on how intensely, directly or indirectly, one wants to engage the power structure, and at what level, angle, etc. I think the three architects you have mentioned are probably all making positive impacts but are not immune to critique either, and that is a good thing. I don’t want to believe that there can be such a righteous single formula for a single notion of spatial justice or practice. It needs be learned and spatialized in the very exercising of these types of ongoing spatial negotiations with power – change and justice itself must find itself on a constantly evolving landscape. It has to be discovered as it goes.
Nor do I think that spatial justice can be merely cemented by architecture alone. Just as the military urbanists are out to take total control of the city politic through the ruling principles of security as they can be substantiated and enforced through the landscape, not only do I not know if that is even possible but I don’t think the opposite could hold true either – that a utopian space could ever, or should ever, exist by any sort of force (force in the form of spatial power). It is all about mediating the constant conflict, keeping the scales tipped on the side of fairness, building architectural devices, scales, tools and properties that can help to mediate politics equitably; accepting in order to defuse the inherent violence of the built environment. Perhaps true democracy is always one degree from collapsing and ceasing to be an open system. That is, if democracy becomes so systematic and guaranteed by a total system of justice, and the law and its checks and balances become stagnant somehow, architecturally-mechanized, if you will, then perhaps democracy ceases to exist. I don’t know. There is a certain entropy that seems essential to all progress. I come from the school of thought that democracy can only exist as it is exercised and maintained, established, contested and re-established, and this wages its own kind of battle. The politics of space aren’t so stable either. They can’t be, and maybe even they shouldn’t be, given or guaranteed. As Steve Graham asks, if a ‘secured city’ is the model, then what are we headed for? A Singapore model of restricted urbanism, sanitary capitalist space with elegant fists of iron looming in the background?
Spatial politics is its own kind of ether. I mean, it’s messy, full of gradients and ambiguity, and may not be so easily calculated by a single system of governance or any one totality as we would like to imagine it. Especially not by one that a type of architecture could ensure, who knows. Could architecture help mediate a landscape of various totalities? Maybe. A student I worked with in San Diego speculated on creating a kind of zoning system that would measure the ethics of space to force a re-examination of the spaces we’ve created and whether they are fair, or good for the whole or not. And then, to ask, could we enforce a new set of spatial standards according to their corresponding degrees of ethicality? From debates around private tolls and public restroom access to the ways neighborhoods are zoned in order to mask certain racial politics. To see a homeless person on the street then becomes not only a political or economic question, but a spatial and ethical question as well – and perhaps a way to take new forms of responsibility for urban homelessness and get serious about really trying to systemically address it. But it’s not as easy as simply zoning everything either. In fact, that can often defeat the purpose and even impede more subpolicial manifestations of progress.
While I might choose to accept for now that the real realm of ‘spatial politics’ always operates to some extent on a sub-political level, I do think there is an entire spectrum of spatial legality that needs to be mapped, more so for understanding’s own sake than any belief that the domain of spatial politics can ever be fully governed, or provide governance. It is more spontaneous and chaotic than that. A certain aspect of spatial power (and any form of power for that matter) needs to remain out of control, coming in and out of sight.
This spectrum (from the architect’s perspective) would need to look at more literal architectural provocations of social empowerment through design and building code, but would also include the ways the practice must perhaps reconstruct the course of its education, or new ways it engages communities who aren’t paying customers, and to think about the harmful visual politics and economic structuring that architecture puts into the built environment. More so, I think architects have a lot to offer outside the scope of design/build. More often, however, they play power’s stooge.
But from the point of view of this would-be spatial-political spectrum itself, I imagine it much larger by looking at everything through a spatial lens. I think what’s most interesting for me is architecture’s potential for helping to mobilize and maneuver within all of these other very connected fields of interest. The architect is already situated between the public, private, and institutional sectors of power. So, if everything can be diagnosed on some level spatially and we get everyone talking about the architectural relativity of their own micro universes and personal geographies, and see the inherent political struggle within the spatial contexts of their lives, then I think people would be more willing to acknowledge their own role and ability to help unravel and reclaim their own spaces and the public domain. Let’s face it – we are facing ever-increasing compressions of space by forces of privatization and securitization. You have to be concerned about what’s being left for public agency in all of this. People are already beginning to put together the nature of the crisis as a spatial one, which could roll the carpet for the spatial expert to help navigate the terrain. I don’t know, maybe I am glamorizing the political potential of the architect far more than I should. Maybe none of this is even making much sense!
The question for me is: how can the architect help the public to reconsider the spatial implications of its immediate world, as a diagnostic tool? Then, how can projects be initiated to link other subjects, like geography and political theory, activism, industrial history, cartography and neuroscience, education, art, social justice, etc. – overlays that can be explored to somehow make the intolerable aspects of our environment more apparent, and to call attention to critical urban issues like rampant privatization, subtle partitioning – domestic enclosure and segregation. I see architecture as a spatial device to help decode the more secret political landscape that lurks behind the built world, and one that can get people activated in the production of their own space.
I also acknowledge architecture’s complicity in constructing this uneven landscape – and the bare politicality of architecture as a cubic measure for politics. Can architecture in a sense ever be politically ungendered? I don’t know. I don’t think so. Can it even be neutral? Not sure. But I like the idea of the architect creating spaces that allow for the public to appropriate them and to retain some imprint of their own. To politicize them in their own way. And this is nothing new. Lebbeus Woods gets at all of this precisely. Anyway, I am rambling terribly now.
Léopold Lambert: You were talking earlier of those “insidious under-the-radar pawn spaces”; I tend to call those spaces heterotopias following Foucault in this regard. The interesting aspect of them is the fact that they can either be spaces of pure oppression or resistive zones. I don’t think that what happens in those heterotopias or even the fact of their existence have to be confronted by any ethics or morals; the main issue here is the fact that in some of them –the ones you were talking about- people are being forced to enter those zones.
In your opinion, is this distinction enough to recognize the oppressive heterotopias from the resistive ones?
Bryan Finoki: I am not sure. My gut reaction is it can’t be that reductive. Oppressive/Resistive, Just/Unjust, Public/Private, etc., yet I find myself falling into this type of dualistic trap all the time in my own reasoning, so it is a very good question. I think there is violence in the very paradigm itself: that is, the enclosing, privatizing, the perverse hierarchicalizing of space, the camp-ification, and the suspension of the law itself that Agamben describes. Why are there resistive zones in the first place? Because they are resisting the oppressive ones? It is surely more complex than that. I like what I heard Deborah Natsios say not too long ago, which was something to the effect: that this is not simply the carceral spreading itself out on some new pervasive level through a plurality of prison spaces, which would still observe a distinction between a ‘here’ and a ‘there’. This is about creating spaces of exclusion where people already stand, zoning them out of access, de-sovereignating a person’s space, which then in turn forces them through other spaces of exclusion and control in their quest to better their lot. But, essentially, the ‘in’ and ‘out’ paradigm is being swapped for a total breakdown and intermixing; a kind of pixilation of the carceral within the spatial field of the sovereign – no clear distinction any more of here and there, just total ambiguity which is maybe even more violent than any clear distinctions. This is what military urbanism is all about in my view: eroding the difference between civil and military, splicing the good guy and bad guy, turning everyone into a potential criminal, treating every space as one of a crime. As much as it still operates on this logic, the spatial product now sees everyone and everything as the suspect now — all space necessitates policing now in the eyes of this new securitopic paradigm. In other words, the prison is everywhere.
It’s all about controlling the flows of everyone and everything to the extent that we are all the subjects of some form of exceptional violence. To Natsios’ point, this is not the same as the carceral strategy because at least the prison (in principle) operates with the intention of reform, with the ideology of trying to turn the inmate into a potentially productive citizen again, even though ‘reform’ is a loaded term and includes its own critique as Foucault has well given us. But, with the prison comes still a notion of a here and there, in and out, and an investment in the inmate, if theologically as a savior of his polluted soul, and as part of a larger ideal of a justice system. Of course, as much as prisons theoretically aim to reform and return the inmate back to society, they are also places set up to permanently remove others. It can’t be this black and white. Ultimately, through the prison, the inmate is both bound to the system but also disenfranchised within in, left in a kind of legal limbomania.
What is going on now both within the city and beyond is in some ways worse than the prison, because it encloses the way a prison encloses but without the responsibilities and obligations of prisons. These pawn spaces I speak of are a kind of prison space without even the bare minimum legal standards of prisons; a prison without having to be held accountable as a prison. And further, they imagine all space as an extension of this exceptional carceral violence. We are all subjects of the warden now, bars are no longer required. We are all imprisoned right where we stand, in our own homes, by the politics of surveillance, the violence of neoliberal capitalism. The rule of law is indefinitely suspended, there is no political accountability anymore.
In terms of distinguishing between oppressive and resistive heterotopias, I think I am struggling with the idea that spaces produced out of fear of the other and superimposed onto people ideally would not exist, but Agamben’s camp-fix seems pretty accurate, in so far as we are all the subjects of different forms of camps now that seem extended from other deeper forms of political violence – from torture camps to social media-tribes – so how do we de-campify? I am not sure if that is even the question. Or, is it merely a matter of how we chose to create our own camps, to occupy the space of the camp, reoccupy, colonize and decolonize the camps and ex-camps for our own resistive agendas? To move the politics of the camp into a greater matrix of spatial openings and connections – building our own network now for maneuvering within and between them. I am interested in how spaces can be configured spacio-politically in order to preserve some degree of transparency. With these oppressive zones come new layers of secrecy that exist at core institutional levels that need to be exposed. However, again, I think various strategies should apply, and in some cases de-militarizing the exceptional heteroptopias is as much the goal as perhaps arming our own configured heterotopias and preserving our own needs for tactical secrecy.
Perhaps, that is to suggest there is another kind of militancy in de-militarization, a necessary violence in nonviolence, and at times variations of violence might be perfectly justified. I don’t know. As time goes on for me the idea that violence could be justified becomes increasingly less easy to discern. Again, an entire taxonomy of heterotopic space as it relates to political violence should constantly be drawn, and our actions should be taken with an understanding and consideration for the larger history of spatial violence and on what occasions it has and has not been justified, and then perhaps from there we begin to establish our own logic.