Mania Akbari with Eyal Weizman & Christina Varvia

Body Politics: The Architecture of Struggle from Cells to Territories

Series: Open Seminar - Evidentiary Aesthetics
Date: Tuesday 12 November 2019
Time: 19:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Running time: 121 mins

The seminar will begin with the screening of the film A Moon for My Father by Mania Akbari and Douglas White, followed by a short presentation and conversation with Mania Akbari.

‘Our bodies live in their current contexts with their historic, scientific, genetic and social memories. Yet how do these memories take shape today in interactions with machines? Machines that are manufactured by our bodies and machines that simultaneously manufacture our bodies as well? […] When the human organs become centralized in confrontation with various situations, new political movements arise. The deepest part of humans' bodies is the skin and the furthest part, the geopolitical borders. Contemporary bodies carry the deepest and the furthest at the same time. They socialize with their internal geopolitical borders.’

Mania Akbari

The seminar continues to explore the means by which architecture — as a contemporary set of techniques and as a body of knowledge — can become an investigative mode through which to interrogate contemporary politics and conflict.

Conflicts are urban phenomena, played out within dense media and data environments. However, political violence no longer focuses on the control of territories, but rather on the governance of population. From the use of tear gas to choke protestors, through to the humanitarian governance of populations in the global south, to the machine learning processes of facial recognition and biometric fingerprinting data (as recently seen in the suppression of the Hong Kong protests), the body is once again the focus of systems of government and control.

In recent years, the term ‘biopolitics’ has been productive in understanding contemporary conflict. But there have been some considerable shifts in our present techno-political reality since Michel Foucault first formulated and Agamben then re-articulated the notion.

This series maps out the shifting landscapes articulated around the term ‘biopolitics’ and the ways in which it could inform architectural investigations. Each seminar – building upon the work of Forensic Architecture, its collaborators and friends – introduces a concept that bridges between architecture and the question of life.

All lectures are open to members of the public, staff and students unless otherwise stated.

February 2020
Su M Tu W Th F Sa


AA Photo Library has DVD copies of Public Programme lectures dating back to 1974


Online Lectures
Lecture Archive



For any issues with video playback please contact
AA Digital Platforms

The Architectural Association, Inc. is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee (No.171402) and registered as a charity (No. 311083). Registered office: 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES, 020 7887 4000

Click here to read the AA’s latest review report.

Click here to read the AA’s latest action plan.



The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.