Semester highlights and impressions of Studio/Lab

I would consider this semester successful yet tricky. I am very happy about the introductions to all these softwares and tools, and to the new notion of
“Urban” that we hadn’t seen before. I feel like I got pushed out of my comfort zone and to approach projects in a different way. There was much more research and analytical inputs than in previous courses, in addition to the dimensions that bring architecture and physical constructs. I very much enjoyed the liberty we were able to take into making our works and how we presented them. I also think the subjects were very interesting, relevant, and complex.

If I could rethink something in the course it would be the structure of the overall and the assignments. I think it would be more productive and less draining to do 2 studio projects instead of 3 as, when paired with the assignments of Lab that are quite different, it becomes a bit too mixed and an awkward match; it can feel a bit overwhelming. Not because of the amount of work but because of the different approaches and mindsets it all requires.

 

The Great Confinement – link with final version of text

For this 3rd studio project on Confinement, I’ve decided to express my personal experience of the Covid-19 lockdown through an experimental video of a journal of drawings. I am currently in Madrid, Spain, where the quarantine restrictions are the strictest globally. I can only go outside alone for necessities such as the supermarket (over 40 euros only) and the pharmacy. The police is always circulating and will stop anyone they deem fit. As I was doing research and exploring the archives of old children correction facilities, prisons, hospitals for the criminally insane, all I could think about is the mental toll it must’ve had. I don’t think any human deserves or is capable of enduring such atrocious living conditions. I can’t compare that level to what I’m living now, but I definitely feel that I am enduring what I could call an “introduction” to psychological effects of confinement and mechanisms of security (see response on Foucault) in response to a crisis. Seeing day after the day the exact same environment, watching the outside world from a window, being forced alone with my thoughts 24/7, having nothing to think about because of the lack of interaction with nature, people and things, not having any sources of pleasure except for my daily meals, hearing the same national anthem over and over (and it’s not even mine), basically feeling stuck in an endless loop with the same exact elements, all by myself. It’s so absurd, abrupt and unexpected it almost doesn’t feel real.

I can relate this to what is called “the schizophrenic experience”, where the inner and outer world merge and reality and fantasy can’t be distinguished anymore. I also got inspired by the drawings that mental patients did and how Art evoking raw emotions, personal interpretations and expressions of their realities, have helped them cope.

Falling into the category of Art Brut and self-taught Art, I want to create a journal and use it as a tool to narrate my confinement experience using drawings. Not only am I not specifically drawer, but I’ve been confined for more than a month now and there is still no end date set for Spain, so it’s safe to say that I am deep into the confinement and have more than felt the psychological effects. Finally, as I’ve already started drawing I’ve noticed that they’re all related to the lockdown, the pandemic and all the ethical, political, environmental and economical affects. I’ve also been faced to deal with my ambivalent and versatile personality, past and childhood traumas, identity crises and unstable emotions. The few drawings I’ve already made have helped me take weight off my shoulders and words out of my head.

The journal is read from right to left, because I wanted it fo feel unnatural and as if something’s off. My title page, where it’s written “The Great Confinement”, is gone over everyday. The composition and subjects are unplanned. I just sit down, pick up my pen and start drawing; giving control to my impulsive self and making decisions based on my subconscious and emotions, without any logical or worked concept. I’ve decided to draw in a pink pen because not only do we not have any pencils or drawing material at home, but I thought pink could be an ironic take on narrating the hard times I’m going through. Pink is considered a “girly” and happy color, vibrant and cheeky, and using that element to express complex and darker emotions is a statement in itself. It reminds me of how we are all trying to keep our cool and put together, with our family , on our socials, and even with ourselves, but on the inside we’re struggling to make sense or rationalize any of this.

In terms of editing, I wanted the film to focus on the drawings itself, as a way to transcribe raw emotions and create an intimate connection. The only repair of time we have is on the top right, a vague number of days, that at first will seem accurate until they lose their value and just seem like a weird timeless dimension. The most intense mental states are accompanied by harsher page turning, as it pains me to watch me go through it. Finally, I didn’t want put high production into the render because that isn’t the point or what matters about this piece.

Concept Text: The Great Confinement

For this 3rd studio project on Confinement, I’ve decided to express my personal experience of the Covid-19 lockdown. I am currently in Madrid, Spain, where the quarantine restrictions are the strictest globally. I can only go outside alone for necessities such as the supermarket (over 40 euros only) and the pharmacy. The police is always circulating and will stop anyone they deem fit. As I was doing research and exploring the archives of old children correction facilities, prisons, hospitals for the criminally insane, all I could think about is the mental toll it must’ve had. I don’t think any human deserves or is capable of enduring such atrocious living conditions. I can’t compare that level to what I’m living now, but I definitely feel that I am enduring what I could call an “introduction” to psychological effects of confinement. Seeing day after the day the exact same environment, watching the outside world from a window, being forced alone with my thoughts 24/7, having nothing to think about because of the lack of interaction with nature, people and things, not having any sources of pleasure except for my daily meals, hearing the same national anthem over and over (and it’s not even mine), basically feeling stuck in an endless loop with the same exact elements, all by myself. It’s so absurd, abrupt and unexpected it almost doesn’t feel real.

I can relate this to what is called “the schizophrenic experience”, where the inner and outer world merge and reality and fantasy can’t be distinguished anymore. I also got inspired by the drawings that mental patients did and how Art evoking raw emotions, personal interpretations and expressions of their realities, have helped them cope.

Falling into the category of Art Brut and self-taught Art, I want to create a journal and use it as a tool to narrate my confinement experience using drawings. Not only am I not good at drawing, but I’ve been confined for more than a month now and there is still no end date set for Spain, so it’s safe to say that I am deep into the confinement and have more than felt the psychological effects. Finally, as I’ve already started drawing I’ve noticed that they’re all related to the lockdown, the pandemic and all the ethical, political, environmental and economical affects. I’ve also been faced to deal with my ambivalent and versatile personality, past and childhood traumas, identity crises and unstable emotions. The few drawings I’ve already made have helped me take weight off my shoulders and words out of my head.

The journal is read from right to left, because I wanted it fo feel unnatural and as if something’s off. My title page, where it’s written “The Great Confinement”, is gone over everyday. The composition and subjects are unplanned. I just sit down, pick up my pen and start drawing; giving control to my impulsive self and making decisions based on my subconscious and emotions, without any logical or worked concept. Finally, I’ve decided to draw in a pink pen because not only do we not have any pencils or drawing material at home, but I thought pink could be an ironic take on narrating the hard times I’m going through. Pink is considered a “girly” and happy color, vibrant and cheeky, and using that element to express complex and darker emotions is a statement in itself. It reminds me of how we are all trying to keep our cool and put together, with our family , on our socials, and even with ourselves, but on the inside we’re struggling to make sense or rationalize any of this.

Photogrammetry workshop

In this workshop, we were introduced to the software Metashape that allows us to recreate spaces through hundreds of photos. I took 403 photos of my partner’s room making sure there is a 60% margin of similarity between them. Once uploaded and aligned, I created a dense point cloud of his room. Next, I was supposed to align the dense cloud according to the software but I wasn’t able to click on the pyramid and didn’t receive an answer, so I just went along. I could still change the views with buttons 1,3 and 7. The next step was creating a foor plan, so I duplicated the project and deleted any point over 1m . Back to the main project I deleted any right and front points, along with any points that weren’t in the room, or that were clearly out of bounds. After that, I created animation of 600 fps with the centered trackball (the animation part in the video is on 250% speed). I finished off by building the mesh, but I had trouble creating the textures. I viewed the mesh in different views.

Overall I’m glad I was introduced to this software, I think even just based on composition it creates some very interesting visuals and computer generated “art”. Sadly the license will expire but for a future project I’m happy I know of its existence.

Confinement research: artworks by asylum patients

Confinement response 2: individual review

Sous le soleil d’Aniane : regards sur une institution

Correctional institution and prison in a town in France.

1894: heat waves and bad conditions ignite demonstrations and revolts that won’t calm down until the construction of a cellular facility years after.

Cells were very dark, infested with lice, bed bugs and rats. The food quality was acceptable, but the supplements to the well behaved and the insufficient nutrition to the rest didn’t seem like a good way to encourage good behavior to the inspector. He thought it could be source of fights.

The institution covered any damage done to the surrounding village by the inmates.

La Petite Roquette, la prison des enfants maudits

Now a park, La Petite Roquette, created in 1836, was a correctional facility for the kids ( 6 to 20 ) of Paris for a century. Where kids play today, hundreds were mistreated, wrongly incarcerated for years on end during a time where children’s rights didn’t exist. The only remains today are letters found in a Normandie ranch. The saddest part is that many of the letters sent to parents were intercepted and so never got to them. The kids then never received an answer. Most of the kids were beggars, taken away for living on the street, or “criminals” as they stole food to survive because of absent parents.

At that time, parents who weren’t satisfied with their kids could ask for a judge to send them away directly.

every day, all day, the kids were locked in a cell where they worked, ate, slept etc. They couldn’t talk to each other, and were only taken out once a week at the chapel that was also cellular based so the kids don’t corrupt each other. Not only could they not talk to each other but they couldn’t see each other either; they wore bags on their head to get there.

The 600 cell stone giant didn’t have electrecity, so the kids suffered constantly from the cold. It was considered a model prison, an experiment.

When the building got destroyed in 1974, they erased everything including any archives and personal letters. It was a shameful history for the French Republic, and with its destruction, a hope to forget.

The other archives follow the same dynamic; horrible conditions for emotionally or physically abandoned kids who didn’t have any choice. Anyone coming out of any correctional facility must’ve had some sort of trauma. It is safe to say that any of these correctional facilities weren’t about educating good manners; it was religious and military control over kids deprived from everything natural to a human being.

Reserve du musee des Enfants I et II – Picking up the pieces, the making of the Witness blanket

Using ordinary objects to represent lives is very strong. At the end of the day, when we leave, the only immortal parts of us are the non living objects that we’ve brought to life by using and appropriating them. Once we throw them away or give them away, they hold the memory of our use.  And until their full destruction, they’re reminders of all the human lives that have used it. Another proof that objects are so meaningful is that our society is based on materialism. Our whole economy and system thrives on the basic facts that we love acquiring things and giving them meaning. They can make us feel better on a social scale, or comforting as we may associate them to someone we love, they can make us look better or make our life easier; our safest space, our shelter basic to our survival, is filled with objects. We surround ourselves on a daily basis with manufactured goods and they feel more natural to us than natural ecosystems. They make us feel safe, and the Witness Blanket is a great play on that.

“art can open our hearts to the pain of truth and the beauty of resilience.”

The Public Secret

I like the dynamic of displaying 3 different informational mediums on the screen along with sounds. It’s successful in giving an overall feel and depth that photos fail to do on their own sometimes (especially that they can be misleading or misinterpreted).

I’m adding this after seeing installation below, the two artworks work in opposite ways, as this one is much more “minimalistic”, but they’re both as strong. This one is maybe much more bearable and makes me want to learn and remember the victims through reflexion and understanding, unlike the installation below that imposes physical and emotional sensations as a way to remember.

This Is Before We Disappear from View

This work made me so overwhelmingly uncomfortable I couldn’t last more than 20-30 seconds. If I had a choice I would’ve even turned it off 5 seconds in. It ignites in me stress, fear, terror, despair, lack of comfort. I can only imagine this is the beginning of what all those confined children felt. I see the walls much differently that I would see them without the sound and context; I’d just see a wall. Now I see through its cracks and color a suffering that feels infinite as this concrete wall will be here forever unless teared down by a human.

The script and the robotic voice make me feel alone and abandoned, the opposite of hearing your mom’s voice putting you to sleep. It lacks so much humanity and soul which illustrates perfectly what an inspector or manager of corrective facilities must’ve appeared like to the children who didn’t know any better. The worst part for me are the echoing voices in crescendo, they really scream of pain.

 

Confinement RESPONSE 1- Group review

LINK TO FULL DOCUMENT WITH PICTURES: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HsZ0hJxiTSZ35d0cMzqxLlDC2x0aP0ucSqqmNY8qSic/edit?usp=sharing

 

Sacha Assi

 

The Great Confinement by Michel Foucault

 

  • The houses of confinement were created during the classical period of the 17th century; when the biggest sin had become “the infernal triumph of Sloth”. It was proposed as a solution to handle an enormous amount of beggars. Instead of casting them out , whipping them or  killing them, the houses were supposed to play a dual role: “reabsorb” the unemployed and make an economic profit by making them work as cheap-labor. It wasn’t a genuine will to help “the sick”, but a motive for “power of segregation” and “an imperative of labor” in a time of European economic recessions.

 

  • Those concerned were the poor, the unemployed, prisoners and the insane; anyone of any sex and age that could be categorized under the following statement : “mendicancy and idleness as the source of all disorders”.

 

  • It is when the idea of madness we have today was born: outsiders, the poor and unemployed, the “sick” and different. Additionally, it corresponded with the first phases of industrialization where there was an obsession with productivity and work: it was the new way to redeem yourself and your sins.

 

  • Functionally speaking, the houses of confinement were a failure. Because of the huge access to cheap-labor, it messed with the production and retail prices. What was taken away in one area resurged into another one, as businesses and manufacturers struggled to keep up with the competition. 

 

  • “Negative measures of exclusion were replaced by a measure of confinement; the unemployed person was no longer driven away or punished; he was taken in charge, at the expense of the nation but at the cost of his individual liberty”. 
  • “ He had the right to be fed, but he must accept the physical and moral constraint of confinement”.
  • “Morality permitted itself to be administered like trade or economy”.

 

 

Hôpitaux Universitaires La Pitié Salpêtrière – Charles Foix

 

  • Lots of buildings and diversity.
  • “Maison de La Pitie” , 1612, was the main hospital that regrouped those around it. It used to be before that an Arsenal that made weapon powder.

 

  • Men and women were divided. In those times a hospital was built around religion. Everyone should be able to access the chapels.

 

  • It was a veritable area of confinement; nobody wanted to see the sick, the poor, the criminals and the “crazy” to spread their physical and mental behaviours.

 

  • It was a place that housed a lot of suffering. In 1684 was inaugurated a building built like a prison. It housed different categories of people, like prostitutes, crazy women “les folles” etc. The women were locked in cells, a lot of time flooded with water and rats even the guards didn’t want to get close.

 

  • In 1789, isolated chambers for each individual were inaugurated by architech Charles Francois Viel in the belief that insane patients will get better if we treat them better.

  • Jean Martin Charcaud was the first to see the insane and troubled as sick and not as guilty. It was in Salpetriere that he created the first research group of neurology. He humanized the hospitals.

 

  • Before the Revolution, a hospital was built around the church as religion was the center of everything. In 1903 however was built a secular school of female nurses as the separation of the State and Church was close (1905).

 

La Prison de Bicetre, une prison de l’Hopital General

 

  • Bicetre was built outside of Paris between Villejuif and Gentilly, which made it a much cleaner place than city hospitals. The castle before it had a very dynamic history, ebing the subject of property dispute during various wars. It’s ruins housed the delinquants and gave its miserable reputation.
  • Louis XIV’s 1656 law is what gave birth to the Hospital of Bicetre. He asked the confinement of the poor, the beggars, vagabonds, the alienated, prostitutes, sick and incurable, along with men, women and children for “correction”.

 

  • Along with La Pitie and Salpietre, main hospitals of L’Hopital General.

 

  • The prison was in itself a separate entity from the rest of the services. It had its own kitchen and church, and a lot of “correction” infrastructure.

 

  • From the end of the 17th century, it became the principal house of confinement of the beggars and criminals (including political opposition).

 

Saint-Lazare : 5e chronique sur les prisons disparues de Paris

 

  • During the 12th century, it used to be a treatment center for the Leper. In the 17th century, it became a correction center. In 1789, it became a Revolutionary prison. In 1794, it became a prison for women and prostitutes. It closes in 1932.

 

  • It had its own currency:

 

  • They used to hit the women as means of “correction”
  • It now is a media library.

 

Seoin Choe 

Shona Illingworth, Lesions in the Landscape, 2016

 

  • The video shows people trying to escape something. 
  • Shows abstract ways of warp in time, perception of time. For people who are running away from a bad situation, the time can feel longer than it is. And the background noise that is somewhat scary and grotesque also represents their emotions.
  • When will this maze end? When will this dark time end? The unending nightmare 

 

Anna Schuleit Bloom (2003)

 

  • Flowers growing again cause people’s not going out anymore, through the eyes of peoples in confinement, it could be seen as nature taking back it’s right against the human.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/20/nature-is-taking-back-venice-wildlife-returns-to-tourist-free-city

 

The Great Confinement, Burak Kum – experimental

  • History is always the same
  • We make children to be our future. Therefore, we educate the children in the way we think is the best way, but  we end up educating them in the same way, to be uniformed, to be more suitable to fit in our society.
  • But at the end, it’s always the same ending : war 
  • Despite the society, people always end up being alone. 
  • The confinement is the metaphor of this. We become isolated alone to reflect upon our history, and what it means to be part of the society. 

 

https://guce.huffpost.com/copyConsent?sessionId=3_cc-session_df029f32-6875-4a9f-a072-66943e32ddaa&inline=false&lang=en-us 

 

Gómez and González, Doing Time/Depth of Surface, 2012

 

  • Deconfinement. During the long time of isolation, the place had been aging, and isolated from the humane society.
  • Numbers of artists took paper and they layered the wall of prison inside. And they extracted outside the layer of the wall, by the taking the interior outside to exterior world
  • By the act of this presentation and putting it out in the world, flattening the wall outside of the prison, the act itself allows the interior to be presented to the world without people going into the actual world. This act is the metaphor of deconfinement. This represents the liberation of confinement that was trapped inside the place. 

 

Suzanne Lacy [methods of social engagement with marginalized people]

 

  • Suzan Lacy’s work is related to methods of social engagement with marginalized people. 
  • She makes them engaged in her art projects, and she makes them feel like they are part of the society. 
  • It’s kind of ironic to today’s societal situation. Governments encourage people to stay home, and people are engaged in social distancing, isolating themselves from socializing with people. While all the other countries are like that, Sweden is performing something different than the rest of the world. They are actually encouraging people to socialize, to build the communitie’s immunity. Rather than isolating. 
  • A lot of people say it’s better for their mental health, economy and others. Everything is working exactly the same as before this pandemic in Sweden. 
  • Despite the growing rate of coronavirus in Sweden, according to the survey, the community trust the government even more than they did before during this time. 

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/coronavirus-response-sweden-avoids-isolation-economic-ruin/

 

Ana Curtin

 

  • Anna Schuleit, Habeas Corpus – site specific /community art – video

A sound installation by Anna Schuleit Haber at the former Northampton State Hospital (Mass.), for which the artist spent three years of getting permissions and building a team of volunteers to wire up the main building of the former Northampton State Hospital before its demolition, using the hollows of the architecture as if they were the hollows of an instrument. The building briefly, for 28 minutes, became a unified soundbody, reverberating and amplifying the sounds of J. S. Bach’s Magnificat (recorded by Philippe Herreweghe, Harmonia Mundi). Thousands of local residents and former patients, employees, and local residents attended the event, which also included a public forum for patients to tell their own stories of the hospital, and a symposium for doctors, nurses, and academics. Two exhibitions accompanied the events, and reviews included articles by Tim Page in the Washington Post and on NPR.

 

  • Large speakers were set up to illuminate the old hollow asylum with music.
  • A look at some of the past individuals who inhabited the Northampton State Hospital
  • Individual Kermit Simon was sticks out as an individual who has a fascination for these sort of institutions, collects items from them, and has been admitted into several himself (38 yrs old)
    • Funny line, when asked where he resides says “at the moment, due to a number of factors, i am a just a resident of the United States at large”
  • Humanizes mentally ill patients
  • Man talks about being put in restraints and seclusion
    • Says organization did good, he’s sober for 6 years
  • Woman put in constraints after falling out of bed having epileptic seizure
    • 24hr Male guard put in place (against law) and raped her
  • Embrace and reflection while music plays through the space
      • Kermit Simon, emotional embrace with the music
  • We have been confined only weeks in the comfort of our own homes and people in spaces like this have been confined for years on end with false ideas of rehabilitation
  • The space is hollow and blaring powerful classical music and gives a sense of freedom to those who suffered there

 

Shona Illingworth, Lesions in the Landscape, 2016

 

  • Images of birds flying, children running down path, and structural architecture
  • Very hard to hear audio 
  • “It feels like I’ve got no connections to the past”
  • Ominous music 
  • Sense of solitude, toll on mental and emotional health
  • How a sense of surroundings can disappear in confinement 

 

  • Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis, Madelon Vriesendorp, Zoe Zenghelis

Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture 1972 – archive

 

  • “intervention designed to create a new urban culture invigorated by architectural innovation and political subversion.”
  • Medium: Cut-and-pasted paper with watercolor, ink, gouache,
  • and color pencil on gelatin silver photograph
  • Digital design over London
  • “the series is a combination of vivid architectural imagery and “text/script”’
  • “alludes to West Berlin’s situation during the Cold War as a restricted enclave within East Germany, encircled by a forbidding wall—in effect, a prison on the scale of a metropolis, in which people sought refuge voluntarily.”
    • Reflective of Berlin’s history

 

  • Project Art Works is an artist led organisation working with children, young people and adults who have complex support needs –

 

  • Promotional work on a wide range of platforms 
  • A studio environments is replicated wherever it takes place
    • *ie in confinement*

 

  • Even if a user does not communicate with language, “interaction is expansive rather than reductive utilising gesture, sound, signing and empathy.”
    • There are ways to work around commicative barriers to create and share 
  • Gives people with special needs an opportunity to explore arts as a sort of therapy
    • I have to wonder how much a program like this costs and how privileged you need to be to enter a program like this. 
    • Exemplifies the reality that some individuals in society have needs that are more intensive and require more extensive care than others. The conditions we have to work within are relative and we are in uncharted territory where we have to navigate within certain circumstances
    • This is how these people live day to day
  • People who live with disabilities live in a reality of confinement
  • Possible Exploitation and commodification of mentally disabled people
  • The website was somewhat vague and I didn’t entirely understand the mission at first

 

Outside source*

Instagram.com/inaccessibleearth

 

  • Jason Decker Sloves has a physical disability that requires a walker and has been navigating New York City for over three years 

 

The Great Confinement by Michel Foucault

 

  • What was punishment for some was seen as relief/reward for less privileged others
  • Prison industrial complex—Culture of punishment rather than rehabilitation

 

Michel Foucault, “Security, Territory and Population” (response for Lab 4)

 

Notes

  • Intro: M.F taught from 1971 to 1984 at Collège de France. The students are considered auditors. The program is set around the genealogy of knowledge/power relations, a term he started using in the 1970s. Those that attended his lectures could always relate his subjects to contemporary reality.
  • Bio-power is when the basic biological features of the human species becomes a political object and so used strategically.
  • His analysis: “ investigating where and how, between whom, between what points, according to what processes, and with what effects, power is applied”.
  • To form and understand a theory of power, you have to look at it as a set of different procedures. Its roles are to “establish, maintain and transform mechanisms of power”. It is not an entity that exists on its own and doesn’t exist. It’s not an on/off button that dictates when it applies and when it doesn’t. It’s not “self-generating”.
  • Mechanisms of power are part of a circular set of relations, that are all their own cause and effect. It reminds me of a symbiotic relationship to some extent.
  • As these power relations are based on our society and the system it functions on, analyzing them is like analyzing those systems themselves and an overview on our society and civilizations.
  • He teaches the politics of truth, “ showing the knowledge effects produced by the struggles, confrontations and battles that take place within our society, and by the tactics power that are the elements of this struggle.
  • He mentions that imperative discourse are based on a choice of aesthetic order. He wants them to be merely tactical pointers. His only order that he wants to be applied is “Never engage in polemics”.

Security, terriory, population:

  • Security works around an average. The question it’s based on is “how to keep a type of criminality […] within socially and economically acceptable limits and around an average that will be considered optimal for a given social functioning”. The apparatus of security insert a phenomena within a series of probable events. The reaction to it is calculated in the cost. An optimal average between the permitted and prohibited is set on one hand, and on the other an interval that shouldn’t be exceeded.
  • Legal code = binary division between permitted and prohibited. Prohibition is coupled with a type of punishment which is the legal or judiciary mechanism.
  • Before the 18th century, the corrective effect applied with punishment was on the population as the wrong doer was usually hanged publicly. But any correction that avoids relapse is a mechanism of security.
  • Theft was a crime whose importance was due to its high probability.
  • Mechanisms of security, as time goes by, require more and more legislative green lights. However they are not to be mistaken with mechanisms of discipline (which replaces juridic-legal mechanisms). It is actually a series of complex edifices where the techniques at the surface may change, but it is the dominant characteristic that defines the correlation between all of them.
  • Mechanisms of security vary according to the goal that needs to be achieved. For example, the technologies used to control an epidemic aren’t the same as the ones used to prevent theft or crime.
  • “The actual exercise of sovereignty point to a certain multiplicity, but one which is treated as the multiplicity of subjects, or [as] the multiplicity of a people”.
  • “Discipline exists insofar as there is a multiplicity and an end, or an objective or result to be obtained on the basis of this multiplicity”.
  • “So sovereignty and discipline, as well as security, can only be concerned with multiplicity”.
  • Sovereignty, discipline and security treat space differently.
  • The state must be like an edifice: the peasants and countryside at the foundation, the common parts are the artisans in small towns, the noble quarters for the sovereign and the capital = geometrical relationship. The capital has a moral role and diffuses it throughout the territory.
  • How to ensure maximum economic development through commerce, within a rigid system of sovereignty.
  • In towns: more trade means more circulation. Space had to be structured in a way that ensured hygiene , ventilation, opening areas where it was too densely packed. It is maximizing good circulation by minimizing/deminishing the bad.

In conclusion:

The mechanism of security is based on a calculations of probabilities of a series of events. Estimating, managing and regulating those events within “a multivalent and transformable framework” is its essential characteristics.

Sovereignty exercises a moral code on a set milieu where physical nature and the human species connect.

Discipline works on a constructed artificial space and sets a hierarchal and functional distribution of elements.

Answer to questions:

I am currently in Madrid, Spain, the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic in Spain and one of the biggest hotspots in Europe. I was here when they enforced a full lockdown. It happened in stages: first they closed the schools and jobs, then they closed all businesses and restaurants that weren’t essential. Those decisions were mechanisms of security. After that they closed the national borders as well as the city’s borders, reinforced by municipal, national police, the civil guard and even military. The deployment of these different functionaries and the organization of their tasks is based on a mechanism of discipline. Finally, the acting government, that makes choices on a bigger scale but also keeps the morale with daily speeches and guidance is a mechanism of sovereignty. The response to the pandemic is a combination of the three. I don’t think there is anything new because political and sanitary responses to viruses like these are based on the responses from previous pandemics. Epidemiologists and health organizations study and follow from past events, and maybe contextualize it to our modern world and technologies, but at its essence it is the same.

The urban condition is affected as follows: there is a lot of fear, fear of the other, the invisible and the unknown. Nobody is used to this, nobody is used to this global halt. Additionally, let’s not forget we are in a western European country, so the fight for survival and states of emergency is not their everyday cup of tea like in some other misfortunate nations. I think it impacts them even more because their survival is not based on sheltering from bombs and violence, and the enemy is not clear. The affects are much more subtle but go deeper. For example, Spanish people love their football, restaurants and bars. It is engrained in their way of life and a life without it isn’t a life at all. They are now forced to discover a new way of functioning, a new way to entertain themselves and a new way to socialize that is very far from their traditions. Whereas culturally, in other places, if we take the United States for example; it is obviously a big shock to them too, but binge watching series and hours on the television is common to their culture. Another interesting shift I see is this refuge in leadership and national forces. The Police here is not very liked or respected, even in the richer neighborhoods. They are known to be unnecessarily violent and arrest easily in order to get commission and extra money. However, during this new time, discipline is respected, even put on a pedestal. When people go outside to clap for the medical staff at 8pm, if a police car passes in the street people clap harder and whistle, and it is returned with car sounds and sirens. Because of the gravity of the situation, security and discipline mechanisms are very harsh. People are getting fined extremely large amounts for the slightest, like going to the supermarket and buying less than 40 euros of food. I’ve never felt such pressure, fear, and surveillance from the state. Yet, still, we look for guidance and protection in them and applaud their endless hours of work. Finally, when it comes to sovereignty, not much has changed. The chief of government, Pedro Sanchez, is disliked by many if not most of the population, including people of the leftist party. As expected, in this situation, he is even more under pressure and scrutiny for the way he handled things. This is typical behavior in modern times towards the top figures; if we look around us, very few presidents are liked and respected by the majority of the population. However I’m noticing a lot of people, on social media and news outlets as well as in my entourage, that are being very forgiving towards him and that try to relate to the gravity of the situation and accept his decisions. It’s a mentality of “things are so bad we shouldn’t focus on penalizing him and instead try and work together to fight this”. It’s like a new solidarity between the sovereign and the people is born as we all work under his direction against a common enemy.

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