Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Israeli military at forefront of architectural theory

From that little-known conjunction of deconstructionist architectural theory and military strategy comes this revealing paper: Israeli Military Using Post-Structuralism as 'Operational Theory.'

Says Eyal Weizman in the paper, delivered at a recent conference ‘Beyond Bio-politics’ at City University, New York:
The Israeli Defence Forces have been heavily influenced by contemporary philosophy, highlighting the fact that there is considerable overlap among theoretical texts deemed essential by military academies and architectural schools.

The attack conducted by units of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) on the city of Nablus in April 2002 was described by its commander, Brigadier-General Aviv Kokhavi, as ‘inverse geometry’, which he explained as ‘the reorganization of the urban syntax by means of a series of micro-tactical actions’...

I asked Naveh [a retired Brigadier-General, directs the Operational Theory Research Institute] why [French post-structuralists] Deleuze and Guattari were so popular with the Israeli military. He replied that ‘several of the concepts in A Thousand Plateaux became instrumental for us […] allowing us to explain contemporary situations in a way that we could not have otherwise. It problematized our own paradigms. Most important was the distinction they have pointed out between the concepts of “smooth” and “striated” space [which accordingly reflect] the organizational concepts of the “war machine” and the “state apparatus”. In the IDF we now often use the term “to smooth out space” when we want to refer to operation in a space as if it had no borders.
I'm pretty sure this is satire, but then how would you know? Most 'post-structuralist architectural theory' sounds like bullshit anyway.

LINK: Israeli Military Using Post-Structuralism as 'Operational Theory' - Infoshop News

TAGS: Architecture, Philosophy, Postmodernism, Nonsense, Humour

1 comment:

  1. The branch of 'Operations Research' has a very wide domain of applications, which can model anything that requires optimization. Operations Research started in World War 2 by mathematician George Bernard Dantzig was chief of the combat analysis branch for the Air Force, where he applied his mathematical theories to war data, including analyzing bombing missions in Germany. Professor Dantzig invented an algorithm which is still used today called 'Simplex' which is fundamental to solving problems in 'Linear Programming'.


    Optimization theory is still in used today by most millitary stragetists with more advanced algorithms. Its applications ranges from business decision making to economic modeling. The famous 'Portfolio Optimization' model developed by Economics Nobel Prize winner Harry Markowitz uses 'Quadratic Optimization' to solve the problem of asset allocations. This model is widely used by fund managers, financial institutions and banks, financial advisors, and so forth.

    There is a start-up software company in Auckland call Optimal Decision Technologies Ltd, which specializes in simulation and scheduling software, targeting airlines and emergency services that save those companies millions each year by applying the theory of optimizations to resources. Optimizations is basically, is a mathematical modeling stragety to optimize profits while minimizing costs.

    "Optimal Decision Technologies"

    So, Optimization theory is real science and not bullshit science. Optimization courses are taught in Statistics papers and also Engineering Science papers at Auckland University.


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