A deep displacement underscores, in the words of the Documenta 12 leitmotif, “What is Bare Life?”, a  'sheer vulnerability and complete exposure of being' in communities that suffer from both the media exposure secondary to disaster and the loss of rights, including the ability to construct their own sense of place, even within the ruins.  They don’t have control over the mediatized gaze that displaces meaning away from what has happened and from what might be done about it. 

 

            Architects and artists and their projects in a critical practice deeply interested in the realities of their sites and local conditions, can not revert to pure formalism and functionalism without complicitly participating (through benign neglect, amnesia, or intent) in the political conditions of their work. If and how they interrupt the spectacle remains part of their values and the mystery of design. But to do that I find I  too must be implicated in the politics of exposure and forgetting at the traumatized site.

 

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