Friday, May 6, 2016

The Architecture of the Barricade

In the 19th century, the "century of the barricade", building a barricade could bring down a state. Today, however, a barricade cannot rely solely on itself as-architecture, (or 'as-object') for the interruption of order and the creation of exceptional space.  Not only are battlegrounds and the lines that define them are increasingly blurred, but progressions in technology, control and surveillance mean that, with ease, state forces could destroy all that a traditional barricade could materially ‘stand’ for : by tank, by drone or by camera.

During the talk, we’ll explore the barricade as a disobedient object on the battleground of the city, going through barricade archetypes in terms of their architectural form and their urban strategy. I’ll try to show how the barricade has developed from ‘stopping’ or ‘blockading’ movement to moving in and of itself, how it's spatial quality has moved from the 'static' to the nomadic.

We’ll then look at how the barricade is as much about the bodies upon it as about the form it takes, or, the relationship between insurgent objects and insurgent subjects. I’ll try to show how, in the material sense, the insurgent uses the barricade as both offensive intervention and defensive protection, but also how, in the immaterial sense, the insurgent uses the barricade as both spectacular symbol and rhetorical device. I’ll try to show how subjects and objects come together as-barricade, and how in losing power as one or the other, they gain insurgent potential in the ambiguous space between the two.

We’ll hopefully see how the barricade is as much about what it is as about what it does, as much an object as it is an subject, as much a noun as it is a verb.

The Architecture of the Barricade - part of Anti University Now Festival
Facilitated by Charlotte Grace.

Saturday, June 11, 2016
Open School East - 43 De Beauvoir Road, London, N1 5SQ, United Kingdom