Sunday, September 16, 2007

Subverting "Military IKEA"

A little bonus coverage for all you “Fenceland” fans out there who thought the boutique-fortress was so bad-ass. This video treat comes to us via Stephen Smith who wrote a great piece on the performative nature of APEC’s temporary siege of Sydney calling it “Military IKEA” and the urban crossover “between war industries and policing”; “event management, border control and entertainment”; righteously stating that it is all just “part of a 'world series' - a security spectacle than encompasses G8 summits, Olympics, World Cups etc.”

I find this spectacle notion of the border endlessly curious; the border as stage as well as a space for keeping people in/out, for drawing people towards a center or as Dan described as leading people out to an inevitable scattering away from center, “the opposite of creating a contemporary open space” he says. There are so many dimensions to what can seem like just a crude linear wall, a simple line with two sides when in fact it is completely physically and programmatically dynamic, facilitating flows and directions and nodal elements in various proximities to and within the spaces of itself.
Anyway, I heard about this stunt during the week but didn’t find the video. So, thanks to Stephen we got video, who also adds:
For those on the ground the security overkill was genuinely scary. But at the same time, all the modular fencing was like a movie set. In fact, the theatrical aspect was literally realised via the satirical TV show, "The Chaser". The Chaser boys managed to sweep through checkpoints in their fake Canadian motorcade and to top it off, had a Bin Laden look-alike step out of one of the cars outside Bush's hotel! The Chaser team got themselves arrested but their antics seemed to define the event. It was almost as though the whole APEC stage show was waiting for their appearance. It is eerie the way this urban military response can be so violent at one moment but is also so easily interchangeable with spectacle and entertainment.

It’s hilarious, the perfect finale to the "Fenceland" to be sure – check it out. “The road’s yours.”


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