Saturday, July 29, 2006

Eyal Weizman

Eyal Weizman is an architect, writer and curator. Prior to being the founding director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, he was Professor of Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He studied architecture at the Architectural Association in London and completed his PhD at the London Consortium, Birkbeck College. His architectural projects include the rebuilding of the Ashdod Museum of Art, stage sets for the theatre, and several prizes in architectural competitions.

Eyal has worked with a variety of NGOs and Human right groups in Israel/Palestine. The exhibition and the publication A Civilian Occupation, The Politics of Israeli Architecture he co-edited/curated was based on his human-rights research. These projects were banned by the Israeli Association of Architects, but later shown in New York, Berlin, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Malmoe, Tel Aviv and Ramallah.

Eyal has taught, lectured and organised conferences in many institutions worldwide. His books include The Politics of Verticality [forthcoming with Verso Press], A Civilian Occupation, Territories 1,2 and 3, Yellow Rhythms and many articles in journals, magazines and books. Eyal is now a Contributing Editor for Domus Magazine (Milan) and for Cabinet Magazine (New York).


Introduction to The Politics of Verticality

Eyal Weizman / 4.24.2002 / openDemocracy

None of us have a coherent mental map of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Architect Eyal Weizman explains why. We’re missing verticality. In this series of articles and photo-essays, he paints the extraordinary, three-dimensional battle over the West Bank: from settlements to sewage, archaeology to Apaches.

NEW.WRITING: on Eyal Weizman's "The Politics of Verticality" - The role of the Israeli architecture in the Middle East conflict

Ana Valdés / netartreview

Ariel Sharon and the Geometry of Occupation... (part 1)

Eyal Weizman / 9.9.2003 / openDemocracy

Israel’s ‘barrier’, ‘wall’, or ‘separation fence’ across the West Bank is the latest architectural expression of a twenty-year old political strategy. In a mind-opening three-part series that extends his renowned “The Politics of Verticality” into a new dimension, Eyal Weizman offers a penetrating analysis of how ideas about power, security and planning intersect with politics to shape the spaces in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict develops.

(part 2) (part 3)

The Art of War

Eyal Weizman / Frieze

The Israeli Defence Forces have been heavily influenced by contemporary philosophy, highlighting the fact that there is considerable overlap among theoretical texts deemed essential by military academies and architectural schools.

The Wall and the Eye: An Interview with Eyal Weizman

Sina Najafi and Jeffrey Kastner
Cabinet Magazine / Winter 2002-03

One of history's most fiercely contested landscapes, the 2,270 square miles of territory known as the West Bank was under the control of Jordan when it was occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. Over the last 35 years, the area has become home to some 200,000 Israelis (400,000 including occupied East Jerusalem) who populate numerous, new, purpose-built settlements perched on its hilltops, overlooking long-established Palestinian lowland communities. This ongoing state-sponsored policy of expansion onto the high ground has been paralleled by the development, within the architectural and urban planning professions, of extremely particularized strategies for building on heights. Many of these draw on historical precedents; all are designed to provide basic municipal amenities within a context of highly refined, surveillance-based security.

Military Operations as Urban Planning

Phillip Misselwitz and Eyal Weizman
Mute Magazine / August 2003

According to Israeli architect Eyal Weizman, cities have always reflected the dominant military techniques of their times. With the demise of the linear warfare between nation states and the advent of non-linear wars waged against internal ‘terrorists’, cities have become our primary ‘battle spaces’. Here, Phillip Misselwitz talks to Weizman about the (mis)uses of the urban fabric by the military, and the premeditative assimilation of planning into the choreography of war.


Eyal Weizman
32 Magazine / Issue 7

There is an architecture to politics in as much as there is a politics to architecture. This analogy describes a reciprocal relation between two disciplines and two mediums of social production. If the politics of architecture describe the mechanisms by which social, economic, national, and strategic forces solidify into the organization, form, and ornamentation of homes and cities, then the architecture of politics could describe the spatial organization of public action. Politics is carried out through the imagination, representation, construction, organization, transformation, erasure, and subversion of space. Space is thus not formed as a consequence of politics, but is the very medium within which politics is conducted.

Lethal Theory

Eyal Weizman

The fact that most contemporary military operations are staged in cities suggests an urgent need to reflect on an emergent relationship between armed conflicts and the built environment. Contemporary urban warfare plays itself out within a constructed, real or imaginary architecture, and through the destruction, construction, reorganization, and subversion of space. As such, the urban environment is increasingly understood by military thinkers not simply as the backdrop for conflict, nor as its mere consequence, but as a dynamic field locked in a feedback-based relationship with the diverse forces operating within it – local populations, soldiers, guerrilla fighters, journalists and photographers, and humanitarian agents. This essay belongs to a larger investigation of the ways in which contemporary military theorists are conceptualizing the urban domain. What are the terms they are using to think about cities? What does the language employed by the military to describe the city to themselves (for example, at international conferences dealing with urban warfare) and to the general public (most often through the media) tell us about the relationship between organized violence and the production of space? What does this language tell us about the military as an institution? Not least important is the question of the role of theory in all these operations.

Lay of the Land / A new map of the West Bank reveals a troubling phenomenon: urban sprawl as human-rights abuse.

Stephen Zacks
Metropolis Magazine / February 2003

You would have a hard time finding an architect in East or West Jerusalem, Ramallah, or Tel Aviv not armed with a map. Sometimes it is a private mental image of the places he or she knew before the landscape was divided, but more often it is a literal map indicating demographic changes or the Israeli line of control's movement during the past half-century. Israeli architect Eyal Weizman is no exception. Designed for the human rights group B'tselem after a year of site visits and helicopter reconnaissance, his map documents the material reality of the West Bank with painstaking accuracy. Rendered in color-coded splotches are the boundaries of Palestinian and Israeli habitations in the territory occupied by Israel since 1967 - and the plans for further colonization. It's a graphic illustration of a struggle waged as much in bricks and mortar as with bombs and machine guns.

Making an exhibition (A volumetric survey of land use in the Israeli Occupied Territories)

Kate Rich
Mute Magazine / September 2003

National outrage can be a trigger for an eloquent art show. With a catalogue entitled LAND GRAB, Israeli architects Eyal Weizman and Rafi Segal secured the cancellation of their architectural project, 'A Civilian Occupation: the Politics of Israeli Architecture', as Israel's official entry in the World Congress of Architecture (Berlin, 2002). It was banned by the same Israeli Association of United Architects who had commissioned it. Here, as one of several other participants in the Territories exhibition in which Weizman and Segal took part, Kate Rich asks how, and why, their use of aggregated data is so devastatingly effective in a contemporary art setting.

The Wall: Settlement archeology

Eyal Weizman in conversation with Markus Miessen
Bidoun / Spring 2005

Between City and Desert

Manuel Herz and Eyal Weizman

A bizarre madness seems to have taken hold of a north London suburb, with predictions of pitched battles on Hampstead Heath and warnings of Bosnian-style ethnic disintegration.

Congrats to Eyal Weizman / Subtopia

Interview Eyal Weizman / An Architektur

Roundtable: Research Architecture / Goldsmiths

Can spatial practice become a form of research? Might the notion of architecture be expanded to engage with questions of culture, politics, conflict and human rights? This new and innovative research centre brings together architects, urbanists, filmmakers, curators and other cultural practitioners from around the world to work collaboratively around questions of this kind.

Eyal Weizman's blog

Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank / May 2002 / B'Tselem - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories


Territories @ Witte de With, Rotterdam (Images)

Territories @ KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin

Eyal Weizman: Clinton's Proposal for the Temple Mount during the Camp David Negotiations, 2000 / Montage: Wulf Walter Böttger, 2003


Dictionary of War

Dictionary of war is a collaborative platform for creating 100 concepts on the issue of war, to be invented, arranged and presented by scientists, artists, theorists and activists at four public, two-day events in Frankfurt, Munich, Graz and Berlin. The aim is to create key concepts that either play a significant role in current discussions of war, have so far been neglected, or have yet to be created.

Exergue / Munich / Saturday, July 22 2006

Flexibility / Frankfurt / Friday, June 2, 2006

The Politics of Verticality: Architecture and Occupation in the West Bank / Eyal Weizman / Rice University / March 18, 2004

Sunday, July 09, 2006

On Tour

Camp Campaign

Taking as our starting point, the intolerable conditions confronting the detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, we will travel through selected locations in the United States recording interviews and holding public discussions on the subject. The work would be something between:

1. A research project exploring a range of perspectives on the notions of camp & specifically Guantanamo Bay.

2. An awareness campaign bringing that research and our questions to the public


How is it that a camp like Guantanamo Bay can exist in our time?

We would like to begin our campaign with this simple question and join other organizations, lawyers, thinkers, and activists in contesting not only the existence of this camp but also examining its relation to other phenomenon we are confronted with in the social and political landscape.

We feel that Guantanamo Bay is only a more acute or extreme version of what is taking place around us in the name of security. And our campaign attempts to draw out those connections and link them to historical precedents as well as everyday phenomenon....


There are a variety of campaigns, campaigns for public office, campaigns for public awareness, fundraising campaigns, campaigns for specific causes, military campaigns, recruitment campaigns, campaigns to win our hearts and minds, campaigns of fear and even love. Our's is a campaign not as a campaign. Our's is not a campaign of slogans, clear messages, or even specific ends sought. No doubt we are propelled to begin this campaign because we reject the supposed necessity of the camps in Guantanamo Bay, we see ourselves as a part of the struggle to shut it down and encourage public debate/outrage about their existence. But we recognize that our struggle will not end, once it is shut down. We recognize that in order for our campaign to be successful, we need to also speak with our public not just at them. We recognize that there will be many other campaigns necessary to struggle for the community we desire....

See also: Guantanamobile

The Miss Rockaway Armada

The Miss Rockaway Armada is a group of approximately 25 performers and artists from all over the country including members of the Toyshop Collective, Visual Resistance, The Amateurs, The Floating Neutrinos, The Infernal Noise Brigade, The Madagascar Institute and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra. This July we will converge in Minneapolis to construct a flotilla of rafts that will journey down the Mississippi River. We’ll stop in towns along the way, hosting musical performances and vaudeville variety-theater in the evenings, along with workshops and skill-shares centered around arts and environmental issues during the day. In our travels we intend to share stories and to solicit dialogue around subversive and constructive ways of living. We are a group of intrepids who believe in a hands-on, live-by-example approach to creating change within our culture. We are taking cues from Johnny Appleseed, traveling medicine shows, nomadic jewel box theater, and of course that old radical Mark Twain.

Lost Highways Expedition

From July 30 to August 24 of 2006, a massive movement of individuals will plot a route through Ljubljana, Zagreb, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Skopje, Priština, Tirana, Podgorica and Sarajevo. A self-organized exchange of knowledge and resources, Lost Highway Expedition is a temporary society that will navigate the new and dynamic territorialities of the Western Balkans.

Welcome to the Lost Highway ... find yourself in the Future.

Experience, documentation and projects developed from the expedition will lead to exhibitions, publications and symposia of “Europe Lost and Found” in Stuttgart and Ljubljana in 2007 as well as conference "Europe Lost and Found" at Columbia university in New York in the Fall of 2006. Lost Highway Expedition will begin in Ljubljana, and travel through Zagreb, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Skopje, Pristina, Tirana, Podgorica to conclude in Sarajevo, comprised of two days of events at each city and one day of travel in between. The expedition is meant to generate new projects, new art works, new networks, new architecture and new politics based on experience and knowledge found along the highway.

Initiated and organized together by Centrala Foundations and School of Missing Studies: Azra Akšamija, Ana Dzokic, Katherine Carl, Ivan Kucina, Marc Neelen, Kyong Park, Marjetica Potrc & Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, together with project partners in the cities of the Lost Highway Expedition.

See also: Capturing the Moving Mind

Exchange Project / Nancy Nisbet

This project exchanges the studio for the roads, truck stops, border crossings and cities of North America. Through the untidy weaving of politics, surveillance technology and identity construction this performance engages critique. Over time and with the combined effort of exchange participants, resistance, solidarity, and artistic critique emerge.

Politics: Exchange engages in cross border, person-to person, trade negotiations. It offers artistic resistance to international economic agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Surveillance: Exchange critiques and exposes Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. Fears of terrorism, national security, and identity authentication have bolstered the demand for RFID.

Identity: Exchange questions and disrupts correlations between corporate consumer data and personal identity through the dispersal and exchange of personal belongings (corporate data elements).

The Busycle

The Busycle is 15 person 100% passenger pedaled vehicle. The Busycle, a traveling public art project under development since 2005, runs solely on the energy of its passengers. All passengers are required to pull their weight and pedal in their seats. The pedal power then moves the Busycle from destination to destination. The Busycle’s public life involves experimental public rides that travel down city streets, where story telling is of the essence. It is our goal that by bringing art and technology clearly into the public realm and as near to the community as possible (what could be closer than riding an art project down the streets where people live and inviting them onto the art?), we will begin to stir a dialogue about the current and universal issues from which the Busycle has grown, while creating a forum for people to pause and enjoy.

The Black Factory / William Pope.L

Conceived and constructed to fit inside a panel truck, The Black Factory travels throughout America to bring blackness wherever it is needed. The Factory consists of three compartments that unfold to create an interactive public environment made up of a library, a workshop, and a gift shop....

From: The Black Factory Brochure

Mobile Studios

From April until the end of May 2006, the Mobile Studios will travel as a nomadic multimedia platform from Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade to Sofia, and will temporarily possess the urban spaces in these cities. The Mobile Studios are an internationally networked pilot project of a mobile, autonomous production laboratory for young artists, musicians, performers and cultural programmers. In a subsequent program, artists and cultural producers will be invited to recreate the studio as directors. Mobile Studios are consisting of three corresponding units: the Editorial-, the Talk- and the Live Studio.

The installations and urban interventions that take place in the Live Studio, as well as the conversations and discussions of the Talk Studios, will be transformed and broadcast in the Editorial Studio in various formats. The production and broadcast processes will be made visible at the same time....

The Tactical Ice Cream Unit / Center for Tactical Magic

Frosty Treats & Food for Thought!

The ice cream vendor has long been synonymous with a roving oasis - a well-spring of refreshment; a reprieve from the heat; a cool intervention. In this regard, the Tactical Ice Cream Unit (TICU) is no different. The TICU emerges at a time when most channels of distribution, communication, and social interaction are mediated and constrained by the fervor of financial exchange. Incorporating an alternative strategy of utopian potlatch, the Tactical Ice Cream Unit is envisioned primarily as a mobile distribution center for ice cream and information.

More than meets the eye >

The Tactical Ice Cream Unit (TICU) rolls through the city in an act of intervention that replaces cold stares with frosty treats and nourishing knowledge. Combining a number of successful activist strategies (Food-Not-Bombs, Copwatch, Indymedia, infoshops, etc) into one mega-mobile, the TICU is the Voltron-like alter-ego of the cops' mobile command center. Although the TICU appears to be a mild-mannered vending vehicle, it harbors a host of high-tech surveillance devices including a 12-camera video surveillance system, acoustic amplifiers, GPS, satellite internet, a media transmission studio capable of disseminating live audio/video, and of course, ice cream. With every free ice cream handed out, the sweet-toothed citizenry also receives printed information developed by local progressive groups. Thus, the TICU serves as a mobile nexus for community activities while providing frosty treats and food-for-thought....


The projet MOBILIVRE-BOOKMOBILE project explores the long held tradition of bookmobiles as traveling libraries that promote the distribution of information.The BOOKMOBILE travels across the United States and Canada in a vintage airstream trailer visiting a variety of communities. Our annual traveling collection of approximately 300 book works range from handmade and one-of-a-kind to photocopied and small press publications....

Yes, Bush Can

October 27, 2004

Yes, Bush Can, an independent group dedicated to communicating Bush policies directly to the public, has abandoned its campaign and is officially endorsing John Kerry for President.

Before changing sides, the Yes, Bush Can team drove around the country supporting the President in a campaign bus they had equipped with sound and light systems, confetti cannons, and various props and costumes. They gave dozens of stump speeches, distributed campaign videos and "USA Patriot Pledges," and performed patriotic songs to audiences across the country.

Last week, the group officially split with Bush. "In the course of our travels, we ended up learning more about Bush's policies than he wanted us to know," said Harmon Spellmeyer, one of the Yes, Bush Can team. "We came to see that this administration is a catastrophe for most people...."

MobileBooths / StoryCorps

StoryCorps is a national project to instruct and inspire people to record each others' stories in sound.

We're here to help you interview your grandmother, your uncle, the lady who's worked at the luncheonette down the block for as long as you can remember—anyone whose story you want to hear and preserve.

To start, we're building soundproof recording booths across the country, called StoryBooths. You can use these StoryBooths to record broadcast-quality interviews with the help of a trained facilitator. Our first StoryBooth opened in New York City's Grand Central Terminal on October 23, 2003. StoryCorps opened its second StoryBooth in New York City in Lower Manhattan on July 12, 2005. We also have two traveling recording studios, called MobileBooths, which embarked on cross-country tours on May 19, 2005....

StoryCorps @ NPR

StoryCorps @ Democracy Now

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Slavery's Ephemera

Slavery's Ephemera
By Judith Jackson Fossett
Design by Erik Loyer

Editors' Introduction

Nearly 150 years after the height of the plantation South, the presumed ‘romance’ of the era still seems to hold sway in the American national imaginary. Tourism at plantation sites has surged in recent years. The visitor to these locales surveys a very particular past, for tour guides typically focus on architectural spectacle and period furnishings as they sketch a specific (and usually white-washed) history of ephemeral southern grandeur. The visiting tourist is powerfully positioned within a mise-en-scene of imagined hospitality, an immersive experience underwritten both by the mansions’ scale and lush settings and by the simultaneous erasure of virtually all traces of slavery. The visitor is swept into a stage set ripe for fantasy, creating a powerful scene for the projection of romance and structuring a sort of mobility through an imagined space of history. This fantasy unfolds in an isolated temporal and geographic zone, narrativized as separate in space and time, a lost moment reflecting a ‘gentler’ past that mustn’t be disturbed by the ghostly presence of the slave. These tours serve to freeze the possible meanings of the South, the plantation, and the past along very narrow registers.

Slavery’s Ephemera pries open these affective registers and powerfully insists that the plantation be reanimated via its many complex, embedded, and embodied histories. Designed as a companion piece to Judith Jackson Fossett’s book manuscript on the lingering presence of the plantation today, the project reflects upon and recombines the results of three extensive research trips to antebellum sites in southern Louisiana. In authoring an 'alternative narrative' of plantation geographies and architectures, Fossett, working with Erik Loyer, also crafts an alternative immersive experience. The tour they construct refuses the neat linearity and simple closures that dominate the experience of the traditional plantation tour. As you explore the piece, you are not led through a carefully orchestrated narrative along a lovely landscaped path. Rather, you encounter various sites, artifacts, and images that seemingly float free of one place or one time. Juxtaposition and layering replace linear history, highlighting the ephemeral status of our encounters with slavery’s remnants as well as the ideological stakes of tourist history.

What’s to be gained by the modes of collision such an experimental format underwrites? Interacting with the piece sets in motion a number of elements: key words flow down the river, jamming up at various points while sometimes racing away from the inquisitive cursor; provocative phrases fade in and out of sight; images overlay the terrain. The parts never coalesce into a neat whole; a nostalgic plantation image abuts a chemical plant; tourist souvenirs bump up against histories of oppression; real estate ads meet academic prose. As such, Slavery’s Ephemera replays at the experiential level the schizophrenia that so characterizes American sentiments about the South. The region has long served as a screen upon which we project various fears, hopes, and fantasies. This project refuses to fix the meaning of the South in a single moment or image while also underscoring the many things the region can still teach us. For Fossett, the material and ephemeral culture of the South have much to tell us about the nation and the world.

Judith Jackson Fossett / Author

Judith Jackson Fossett teaches English and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is a cultural historian of slavery in the Americas. She has just completed Illuminated Darkness: Slavery and its Shadows in 19th-century America, a literary history of rhetorical forms in the wake of slavery. "Slavery's Ephemera" comes from a larger book project, Structures of Slavery: The Plantation in the New World Imagination. In addition to these scholarly endeavors, Jackson Fossett has also been intensely engages in bringing multimedia authoring and argumentation into the classroom, especially with regard to the African-American and American Studies curriculum.

Author's Statement

“Y’all not from ‘round here, are ya?”

Throughout numerous visits to the remnants of New World slavery in Plantation Country in the Lower Mississippi Valley of southern Louisiana, this refrain was repeated so often by all I met—whether black, white, creole, affluent or destitute—as to make me wonder about my solidity. Was I some tourist who flitted through these overwrought landscapes like a ghost? Could my presence—as a black woman, without local accent—be tolerated at the remains of plantation complexes and plantation sites only if I was discursively placed as not being “from ‘round here”?


Ephemera / Volume 2 / Issue 1 / Spring 2006

... This issue of Vectors is not intended as a celebration of ephemerality, but rather a gesture of respect for the fleeting nature of the present and the material consequences of the past. Historical investigations, as Carlo Ginzburg argues, are sometimes most productive when they look for meaning in the least likely places. Each of the projects in this issue attempts to take seriously the significance of cultural artifacts that would otherwise be forgotten or overwhelmed by more official documents and discourses of history. The voices that reach us via things that were meant to be forgotten may in fact speak most eloquently to the imperatives and contradictions of our present historical moment. It is with equal degrees of irony and hopefulness that we present these works of excavation, rumination and preservation in a form that will soon confront its own likely disappearance.