Easterling pattern dating
Easterling: “Well rehearsed theories, like those related to Capital and Neoliberalism continue to send us to the same places to search for dangers while other concentrations of authoritarian power escape scrutiny.” (22) Sometimes one has to just forget Marx and Foucault in order to see the world afresh, which is after all what both Marx and Foucault were able to do, by forgetting the authorities and languages that preceded them.
So one of Easterling’s moves is to see the free trade zone as central rather than peripheral. Many such cities are some version of free trade zone, set up outside the regulatory envelope of the nation-state, such that labor and environmental law need not apply, and nor do the usual taxes.
And so the object of analysis has to shift towards an understanding of that infrastructure.
Easterling: “Infrastructure space, with the power and currency of software, is an operating system for shaping the city.” (13) Infrastructure is how power deploys itself, and it does so much faster than law or democracy.
As a kid I was always fascinated by my father’s work as an architect.
Easterling’s three case studies are firstly free zones like Shenzhen in China, global broadband networks and their imposition on existing cities such as Nairobi, and International Organizations for Standardization (ISOs), which ‘legislate’ the design of things and processes.
Of these case studies, the ISOs are perhaps the weirdest: “The whole world now speaks a dialect of ISO Esperanto, one that often resembles the hilarious, upbeat argot of self-help gurus.” (19) And to media and communication scholars, the broadband story is perhaps the best known.
It was an era when an architect still gave form to the world.
Buildings were made of standard parts, but were not themselves quite standard.