Stab one: a thesis declaration
War leaves its mark on the social body; it is because, through the intermediary of military institutions, it has general effects on the civil order as a whole.
-Michel Foucault. Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the College de France.
Well no point in keeping my desires underground. I've skirted around my interests in this blog but I don't think if I've put up an entry where I really lay them out. I'm doing a GI Joe thesis. Keep reading.
We're now at a point in thesis prep where we have to answer the question in bold: What does my interest in *x mean for architecture?
Answering this is really the most difficult of anything we've been asked to do. I think finding what you're interested in is pretty easy--so easy that you are usually overwhelmed with all these things you want to explore. The task then is editing, and I think a trap a lot of people fall into is that they choose something they think other people are interested in, thus "validating" your interests. That's bullshit. It's your thesis, you're going to be up doing all nighters cursing yourself if you picked such a topic, so you had better just follow your gut and do the legwork in order to answer that question in bold.
First, whats up with the tanks? The decline of the tank, in my opinion, is emblematic of the waning relevance of the body and machine relationship that seemed to drive both 20th century warfare and, roughly translated, 20th century architecture. Still, I'm interested in the residue of this machine culture-no doubt I'm fascinated by the forms of bunkers and tanks. It is probably this formal drive that has kept me on this military thread--and so I wonder, what is the future of military space? Will the tank disappear as cities become battlefields?
What new forms and architectural ideologies will emerge as a result of our desire to produce defensible space?
I'm pretty passionate about this topic because I've been thinking about it, consciously and subconsciously, for quite some time. Why did I play so much with GI JOE trucks, and draw millions of crazy war machines as a kid, why was I obsessed with Vietnam War movies in my teens, and ever since an encounter with Mike Davis and City of Quartz
, a desire to understand how surveillance and security are manifest in built form? I've traveled to Bosnia which is the closest I've come to the reality of war. I'm fixated upon this lens, and now will be traveling for a year to test it.
At this point I must ask: why am I fascinated by all this military stuff and what does it mean
for architecture? So this is my answer to the question in bold:
Architecture is a diplomatic transformation. This thesis is about the translations between military and civilian practices which act invisibly to the human eye, at extra-extra large [XXL] and extra-extra small [XXS] scales. [XXL] is a territorial scale, where the map of the world has been redrawn by the Pentagon into a "functioning core" and a "non-integrating gap", an attempt to restore an us vs. them mentality. [XXS] is the microscopic and electromagnetic scale, where defensible space is truly ambiguous and surveillance and communication are the new artillery. Space at the intermediary [M] scale is in tension between these two extreme scales, completely contingent upon forces acting at scales that the architect has little to no control over.
These translations between military and civilian space are manifest in terms of base closures, airport security checkpoints, and sound beam guns, to name a few. [XXL] and [XXS] are thus compressed together and warp the [M] space which we can readily perceive, the traditional domain of the architect. I am interested in the architectural act which is opportunistic of fissures and collapses of space by the military/information complex and which ultimately allow for a new ideology of space in the 21st century.
>so this is my first stab, and you are welcome to stab me with questions and criticisms. Please tell me I'm out of my mind and I should be doing a Barbie doll thesis instead.
>argh, since I can't edit my comments, here is the image for Steve Lauf: