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Eyal Weizman

Colonialism as Climate Change

Series: Open Seminar - Evidentiary Aesthetics: Architectural Investigations into the Politics of Bodies
Date: Tuesday 28 January 2020
Time: 19:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Running time: 0 mins

Eyal Weizman presents a lecture exploring the relations among colonial history, contemporary conflicts, and climate change. The talk examines a number of cases on environmental issues that Forensic Architecture has undertaken on the subject in recent years. He takes as his point of departure the growing number of conflicts that unfold in relation to climatic and environmental transformations. On a global scale, some of these conflicts take place along environmental threshold conditions (‘conflict shorelines’), the edges of forests and deserts, in which climate transformations aggravate existing political tensions. Weizman argues that these conflict shorelines are not simply determined by climatic factors. In this talk he exposes the deeply complex historical and natural processes at play, bringing together political developments, urban transformations, colonial histories, and patterns of city growth and migration in relation to changing climatic conditions.

Eyal Weizman is an architect, Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures, and Director of Forensic Architecture. He is a founding member of the architectural collective DAAR in Beit Sahour/Palestine and a member of board of directors of the Centre for Investigative Journalism. His books include Forensic Architecture: Violence at the Threshold of Detectability, FORENSIS, Mengele’s Skull (with Thomas Keenan), The Least of All Possible Evils, and Hollow Land. He has recently been made a fellow of the British Academy.


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

Conflicts are urban phenomena, played out within dense media and data environments. 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 humanitarian governance of populations in the global south, to machine learning mobilisation of face recognition and biometric fingerprinting, the body is once again the focus of systems of government and control.  This year the seminars will concentrate on concepts of biopolitics.

There has been some important shifts in our contemporary techno-political landscape since Foucault first formulated and Agamben re-articulated the term biopolitics. While their formulations were fundamental in identifying modes of governmentally and control of humans as mere bodies in space, the question associated with the term biopolitics today must shift in two different ways: on the one hand it must account for the techno-biological nature of the human in which the border between technology and biological matter erodes. It must also turn to engage larger ecologies in which the “bio” in biopolitics designate all living matter now under threat of extinction.

This open seminar series comes to map out the shifting landscapes articulated around the term biopolitics and the ways it could become relevant today. 

Image: Infrared thermal imaging of bodies,, 2019

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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.