Slow Death and the Sovereign Apparatus

Project Description

As an apparatus of death, architecture contains the potential for alternative narratives as suggested by the Buell Hypothesis, but read alongside Mbembe its deployment as a necropolitical tool is worrisome at best. Characterized as a “splintering urbanism” Mbembe observes the similarities between colonial occupations of necropower and the suburban enclaves and gated communities of late modernity. A fantasy and reality the Buell Hypothesis so explicitly tied to nationalist endeavors and which Berlant has argued brings about a slow death to its senseless subjects, the architecture and urbanism of the single-family home finds a comfortable lineage amongst other technologies of death and empire. Space as a “raw material of sovereignty” brings architecture and urbanism directly into the fold as both enablers of destruction and tools for the displacement of this negation of human life. What Mbembe refers to as “death-worlds” might be analogous to the evacuated and senseless subjects of the good life in their monotonous existence. Forgetful, generic in its particularity, and anonymous, these populations conjure the image of the living dead.