George Prochnik interviews Eyal Weizman for e-flux.

…he established the field of “Forensic Architecture,” which uses sophisticated tools of contemporary architecture to gather evidence about armed conflict for international trials, human rights reports, advocacy groups, and truth commissions.

Forensic Architecture’s practice is unique in its use of evidence as a starting point for raising a host of theoretical and historical questions about the intersection of contemporary violence and the built environment.

“There is a long history of debates about what defines the threshold of the desert. The designation was important because both for the Ottoman Empire and later for the British one it delineated a zone that, although nominally within the imperial “territories,” lay outside their full control and was partially autonomous.” Eyal weizman

The desert is an ‘ambiguously defined zone’ that shifts and changes over time.

“This entangled colonial relationship to the climate demonstrates what I consider to be the most fundamental omission in the current debate around climate change. Even the most militant environmentalists still regard climate change as the “collateral of history” — the unintended byproduct of industrial development, trade, and transport; whereas I see it as the intention, the very telos, of the colonial project.” (telos=aim, goal).

“Do civilian casualties not sometimes serve a military purpose, becoming, for instance, a component in a policy of deterrence?” – think about this in relation to Judith Butler??

He argues that climate change has been a tool of colonizers from the beginning – taking land and make it ‘productive’, changing the climate to suit needs – more rain, more heat etc. Burning forests to make it rain in other areas. Industrial revolution had a hand to play in climate change. “climatic transformation was the precondition for the expansion of capitalism.” – make the desert bloom?

Looking at climate map – logic that you cannot grow cereals without 200mm of rainfall. “They’ve developed an inescapable circular logic: it is impossible to cultivate south of this line, therefore the people living south of it must be nomads (which they’ve not been for generations), and nomads have no land rights. The Bedouins, of course, cultivated in the area for hundreds of years, but that agricultural activity was imperceptible by colonial scales of measurement.” – logic that cultivation=civilization


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