Many many months ago, we toyed with the idea of writing and publishing a weekly survey of news and comment from around the web. That fell flat fast, though not for want of wanting it. We’re revisiting the idea now, as a necessary companion to the weekly index of items we publish every Monday using a separate blog module (and RSS feed). No, we’re not bandwaggoning. It’s just a good idea, though it comes at a time when everyone seems to have realized the importance of this sort of posting. From our perspective, it doesn’t make much sense to publish a weekly index without raising awareness of it here, and without addressing at least some of its content.
So for CTlab readers who generally access our output through their RSS readers, please take note that the Spatial Forces Index is published using a separate blog module, and the RSS feed is distinct from our normal blog feed. You’ll need to subscribe to it separately if you want your aggregator or feed reader to pick it up. The content is, as you might expect from us, a bit eccentric: a bit of geopolitics, some law, a smidgen of architecture, with a few other details from here and there that we thing might be useful. We’re still working on the organization of indexed items, so bear with us.
The aim is that this will evolve into and be looked upon as a community resource, for anyone thinking about security architectures and landscapes of conflict and violence – whether they’re from more obvious spatial disciplines like geography and architecture, or more inclined towards any of the other arts and science fields that are open to the materially, virtually, and cognitively locative implications of conflict. We want your feedback, and welcome any comments or suggestions on how to improve the service. Most of all, we’ll be really grateful for broad dissemination of it: tell your friends, reference it in your writing, link to it in your blogs. Spread the message, and help us make this a useful and indispensible resource.
A Busy Week at CTlab
This has been one of our most substantively rich weeks in recent memory. Chris Bleuer, our Afghanistan pundit extraordinaire, writing from Australia, critiqued a recent Foreign Policy article by Nathaniel Fick and John Nagl. Managing Editor Tim Stevens, when not creatively connecting the dots, attended a talk by Charles Kupchan at the Royal United Services Institute on Whitehall, the subject of which was retro-topical (for those of us who remember the 1990s): liberal interventionism and US foreign policy after Bush.
We welcomed a new addition to CTlab with the arrival of London Editor Eric Randolph, a trained journalist, and gainfully employed at that. He attended a talk by the ever contentious Tariq Ali at our favorite collective haunt, the Frontline Club; his review of the event is worth the time it takes to read. Eric writes brilliantly, and we’re looking forward to his coverage of London’s vibrant intellectual scene.
In that vein, we’ve added a Visual Stream category to the blog, to capture all the cool informative video and graphic material floating around on the web. We featured Tom Vigar’s research, which, as with most architectural work that explores spatial dimensions of conflict, is chock full of captivating graphics. Of note: a Wired vid that explores the emerging intersection of science fiction and the 3rd world/developing countries/global south. Shades of William Gibson et al (should we expect a recontextualized Blade Runner remake?)…with Wired in mind, yours truly published a blurb in its national security blog, Danger Room, courtesy of Editor Noah Schachtman, on how tech shapes the way we think about war.
Though not the only war going on in the world, Gaza preoccupied most of our attention. Some of the news being reported will, no doubt, have resonated with spatial thinkers familiar with Eyal Weizman’s work on Israeli Defense Force urban warfare tactics, and the vertical spatial sovereignties that would vex even the most innovative military planners. There are several items in this week’s SF Index on military urbanism worth noting, including a new installment from Bryan Finoki on barrier-borne artwork in Baghdad, a Small Wars Council disussion thread on securing population centres, and an article in the Australian journal Quadrant on the trend toward future war in cities. Riveting: an article in Slate Magazine outlining a typology of potential counter-tunnel tactics. Follow the links, read the articles.
New Research in Night Vision
One of the most intriguing pieces of the week is a new piece up at Seed Magazine. Citing research findings published in the December issue of Current Biology, Seed reports a patient in this 50s who had suffered severe strokes that destroyed his normal vision. According to Seed, the nature of his handicap is such that his eyes can still collect data and his brain can construct a subconscious non-map of his environment, allopwing him to navigate. “He no longer has a definitive picture of his surroundings,” Seed reports, “but he has retained an innate awareness of his position in the world. He is, to some degree, able to see without being aware that he is seeing.” Curious about science that might explain things like Matt Murdock’s abilities? Read the full research article. Alas, not much chance this will improve how well we see through the fog of politics and war…
There’s much more spatial mind candy in the SF Index. You know the drill. Follow the links, read the articles.