Concept

How to approach Arazi in recent spatial practices? How it speaks to us, what is the methodology and its fiction? Arazi as an Arabic origin Ottoman word has many meanings such as land, country, terrain, territory, estate, property, soil, ground, agricultural land, demanded land… From a linguistic perspective the word based on “Arz” means “supply”. Another origin of reference is maybe “Araz”, means “symptom”. In English, we as a research collective prefer to use Arazi as an equivalent word to “territory”, which maybe won’t fully, corresponds to it; because the direct translation of “territory” means “regional” (bölge) or territoryal in Turkish. Maybe not in social sciences but Arazi is an object that I we often hear in architectural studios in Turkey as an architectural term; which the building has to be designed and constructed on it. Arazi is often understood as “tabula rasa”. An empty plot in urban or along the endless space in Anatolian cities. Abandoned land, demolished land, a geological space with soil, stones, sometimes garbage without trace of human action and history. An innocent space. Sometimes a ruin. We aim to bring back this word both in perspective of “territory” and concept of how we do understand today’s critical spatial research and practices.

The effects of war and the negotiation of borderlines transforms of our approach and methodologies of infrastructures that are not only a functional thresholds of architecture but also instrumentalization of new conditions that are part of geontologies of landscape. Referring to Povinelli; geonotologies are two terms: geos (non-life) and being (ontology) that “is currently in play in the late liberal governance of difference and markets” (Povinelli, p.5, 2016). She proposes a new definition of biopolitics where there is no separation between elements of Life and Non-life; moreover, this conceptual combined approach based on new figures, tactics and discourses of power (ibid.). From this theoretical perspective how we can approach infrastructure of landscape shaped by war and migration? What is the base to discuss such extra-territorialities through and with “Things”? Infrastructure is basically a term for designing the modern urban space, and is also the production of complete spatial objects. For centuries, it has basic roles such as colonization; that is introducing projects of infrastructure in order to change and colonize the culture or society in any scale. It also functions as a justification of neoliberal urban-rural policies in expanding, expropriating and rescaling property and lands. It is the object between form and law as Easterling defines: “Infrastructure is considered to be a hidden substrate—the binding medium or current between objects of positive consequence, shape, and law. ” (Easterling, p.17, 2014). Recently, the discoursesof infrastructure reveal the role of infrastructure in more complex ways. Incomplete and failures of infrastructure are often related with the nature of the infrastructural functions that prolong the process of the infrastructure projects. The process becomes more important (than the complete infrastructure itself) where actors such as the state, local governments, developers and citizens debate or negotiate, which leads to more profit and surplus. In short, instead of the complete object or presentation itself; the incomplete, the continuous failure or the process of infrastructure becomes the vital part. It is most often argued that in many cases (for example in Indian cities) the failure of infrastructure or interruption of infrastructural function brings co-existences of alternative ways of infrastructure in the network of such cities. Infrastructure as an assemblage is another current discourse of infrastructure. As Graham’s describes: “ …urban infrastructures as complex assemblages that bring all manner of human, non- human, and natural agents into a multitude of continuous liaisons across geographic space” (Graham, p.1-26, 2010).

Bibliography

  • Zeynep S.Akinci & Pelin Tan, “Waterdams as Dispossession: Ecology, Security, Colonization”, Climates: Architecture and the Planetary Imaginary, Eds. James Graham with Caitlin Blanchfield, Alissa Anderson, Jordan Carver, and Jacob Moore, Lars Muller Publisher, in collaboration with Columbia Books on Architecture and the City and Columbia University GSAPP, 2016
  • Elisabeth A. Povinelli, Geontologies – A Requiem To late Liberalism, Duke University Press, Durham and London, 2016
  • Keller Easterling, Extrastatecraft , Verso Press, 2016
  • Stephen Graham, Edt., Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructure Fails , Routledge, 2010
  • Pelin Tan, “Transversal Materialism: On Artefact, Method, Exception”, 2000+: The Urgencies of Architectural Theory, Edt. James Graham, GSAPP, Columbia University Press, 2015
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