AGENCY presents STEREOTYPES, an exhibit of three near-future urban scenarios which extrapolate the contemporary collapse of military and domestic space to imagine new potentials and liabilities.
Rapid urbanization has brought about a collapsing ‘securocratic’ territory, in which military training initiatives have exploited the physical form of the developing city. Simulated ‘favelas’, ‘slums’, ‘shantytowns’, and ‘ghetto blocks’ emerge in military installations throughout the world. Humanitarian organizations build simulated informal environments to prepare for complex emergency and response scenarios. Private companies, tech start-ups, and logistics experts construct empty replica cities as controlled urban laboratories. One such environment, the Center for Innovation, Testing, and Evaluation (CITE), currently being planned in southwest New Mexico, would eclipse its military construction counterparts. The appetite for urban simulation will only continue to expand.
STEREOTYPES is presented as a series of nine large metal prints, proposing new futures for three of the most simulated and contested informal urban typologies: the Dump, the Camp, and the Graveyard. These occupied urban and infrastructural forms represent an evolving frontier of international security interests, increasingly targeted as hotbeds of dissidence and victims of exploitation by violent non-state actors.
AGENCY identified nine real-world ‘sister sites’– including some of the most prominent inhabited landfills, protracted refugee camps, and squatted graveyards. Components of the sister sites were extracted and transplanted to a new urban scenario, creating models for ‘training neighborhoods’ of a super-scale simulation city.
AGENCY imagines new models of ‘securocratic timeshares’, in which civilian and military actors are mutually responsible for the design and developmental logic of this shared city. Training scenarios are grafted onto public space and building code, fostering a type of counter-code, in which conditions enabling security challenges are incentivized. The relentless order of militaristic organization is broken by the contingencies of simulation and informality. Urban form is written as a relational scenario. Islands of experimentation and unpredictability inhabit a field of authority and control. Evacuation and occupation are ingrained in the complicit urban fabric.