by Antoni Muntadas

Fences, wire fences, walls, cameras, alarms, closed circuits, radars, dogs, security guards, electronic systems, etc.; all these are part of the devices supposedly used for security, surveillance and protection purposes in new private and public spaces. The transparencies of the curtain walls and glass facades are false signals of a controlled architecture, where private and public spaces are dominated by psychological feelings of insecurity, paranoia and fear.

We must not forget that security and surveillance are amongst the most flourishing industries which are, ultimately, a subsidiary of the military industry, and just like prison design and projection, they top the ranking in the construction business.

Roman and medieval cities built their walls for various reasons, mainly military, to preserve lands and power, under the supposed protection of their subjects. City planning has been defined and developed with urbanisms that extend the centre and create peripheries, but at the same time, these peripheries create paradoxes between public and private, the richest and the poorest.

The word suburb, of Latin origin and Anglo-Saxon concept, has got various translations in different contexts. It poses security as a reality and transforms closed communities into new redoubts where the security and surveillance industry finds an appropriate territory to develop.

(Text by Antoni Muntadas)

Antoni Muntadas is an artist born in Barcelona, a pioneer of media art and conceptual art in Spain. The serie Fences is part of the project The construction of fear, and particularly, the project for San Pablo, Brazil: Alphaville e outros.

Images by Antoni Muntadas, courtesy of the artist.