28 January 2011


Above are works by British photographer Jonathan Andrew, who recently did a photo series of abandoned WWII bunkers Maginot and Atlantic Lines in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. Of course, some of this amounts to retracing the footsteps theorist Paul Virilio took many years ago, which ultimately resulted in his book Bunker Archeology. In an interview with CTheory back in 2000, Virilio discussed the origins of the his book and photographs:

I have always been interested in the architecture of war, as can be seen in Bunker Archeology. However, at the time that I did the research for that book, I was very young. My aim was to understand the notion of 'Total War'. As I have said many times before, I was among the first people to experience the German Occupation of France during the Second World War. I was 7-13 years old during the War and did not really internalise its significance. More specifically, under the Occupation, we in Nantes were denied access to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It was therefore not until after the War was over that I saw the sea for the first time, in the vicinity of St Nazaire. It was there that I discovered the bunkers. But what I also discovered was that, during the War, the whole of Europe had become a fortress. And thus I saw to what extent an immense territory, a whole continent, had effectively been reorganised into one city, and just like the cities of old. From that moment on, I became more interested in urban matters, in logistics, in the organisation of transport, in maintenance and supplies.

Coincidentally enough, it looks like Virilio's book has just been republished by Princeton Architectural Press, perhaps due to the coffee-table cult status it attained since its last printing over a decade ago.

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Speaking of theorists and things from a decade ago, I'd long ago seen these, but had entirely forgotten about them...

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Spam architecture by Alex Dragulescu, looking like a cross between Lebbeus Woods and something from an Autechre video.

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Undercity, a short film by Andrew Wonder. An excursion into the hidden sublayer of New York, as led by Steve Duncan, whose site of the same name is a repository of "guerilla history" and urb-ex info.

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