There can be no doubt that within the contemporary Western condition, fear is the driving force behind the (re-) organization of the public and private space. Fear is a factor that, due to its destabilizing influence, is expelled and excluded from society. Yet the way in which we do this makes a meaningful discussion about the relationship between fear and space impossible. The issue of fear and space is currently approached in such a way that the solutions are becoming invisible, in size and in function. This leads to an age of permanent justification, control, recording and interpretation. Technological prostheses installed in strategic locations keep our collective and individual fear under control. Simultaneously, these are signals that indicate that thinking about architecture and urban planning has abandoned society.
I wrote the introduction essay for the “Fear & Space The view of young designers in the Netherlands”-publication. The full version of this essay can be found here.
Western society is being terrorized by fear. Whether concerning national security, road safety or the protection of public health, every form of risk is meant to be spread, accounted for or eradicated. The safety and security obsession is leaving behind ever more visible traces, especially in public space. Speed bumps, smoke-free zones and surveillance cameras serve a society where prevention is the order of the day.
This second book in the Group Portraits series – a collaboration between the Netherlands Architecture Fund and the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB) – once again brings together four groups of young and talented designers around a highly topical theme. As a sequel to the successful City Branding book, this publication explores the various aspects of fear and prevention and considers the impact on contemporary urban space in four chapters. All the stops are pulled out: text, photography, research and design alternate in a thought-provoking sequence.
Fear & Space The view of young designers in the Netherlands
Urban Affairs (eds.), Untitled, Mr Smith, DUS, Shine 5.0, Bert de Muynck, Marc Pimlott, Jacob Voorthuis, Benjamin Barber, Joshua Karant, Moritz Küng
Design: Stout/Kramer, Illustrated (colour and b/w), Paperback, sewn, 160 pages, Size: 17 x 24 cm
Text in Dutch and English, ISBN 90-5662-422-9, € 30.00
With the support of the Netherlands Architecture Fund and the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB)
NAi Publishers [now nai010]
Group Portraits 2004