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Architecture of Authority
Publisher: Aperture Foundation
Date Published: Sep 2007
Stock Code: 62786
Total votes: 0
For the past several years, and with sometimes surprising levels of access, Richard Ross has been making unsettling and thought-provoking pictures of architectural spaces that exert power over the individuals within them. From a Montessori preschool to churches, mosques and diverse civic spaces a Swedish courtroom, the Iraqi National Assembly hall and the United Nations the images in Architecture of Authority build to ever harsher manifestations of control: an interrogation room at Guantnamo, segregation cells at Abu Ghraib and, finally and shockingly, a capital punishment death chamber.
Visually smooth, elegantly artisticand informative, this work also raises questions relating to such issues as the surveillance that increasingly intrudes on 21st century life, the abuse of power, the erosion of individual liberty and the ethics of capital punishment. The connections among the various architectures are striking: the authoritarian aspects of education and hospital facilities are made explicit while, as Ross points out, The Santa Barbara Mission confessional and the LAPD robbery homicide interrogation rooms are the same intimate proportions. Both are made to solicit a confession in exchange for some form of redemption". Particularly eye-opening are what was formerly Uday Hussein's palace in Iraq, now a US military dining room of incongruous grandeur, and the blood-freezing lethal injection room from Angola penitentiary in Louisiana, a stark and unbearable image of absolute power.
Current and future prison designs are examined in this book, within the government's prison building programme, and the confines of current penal...
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