Missions examines the large-scale international flow of war into the civic realm through a public discussion of the mechanisms and agendas behind these transitions, which include religion, migration, economy, war, peace and diplomacy.
Missions and Missionaries
Missions will examine the large-scale international flow of war into the civic realm through a public discussion of the mechanisms and agendas behind these transitions, which include religion, migration, economy, war, peace and diplomacy. The programme of the day is constructed around these six topics. The seminar will navigate between scales and agendas in order to explore contemporary global missions – the institutional ones and the missionaries.
Missions will be documented as part of another long-term initiative, UNMANNED, a publication series co-edited by Malkit Shoshan (FAST), Ethel Baraona (DPR-Barcelona) and Marina Otero (Studio-X Global Network, GSAPP), which addresses the possibilities and impact of security structures and technologies with respect to the built environment. What are the spatial and ethical implications of warfare technology? How can emerging technologies be leveraged to offer alternatives to the spatial assemblage of contemporary power? Can or should architects go beyond the visualisation and exposure of the militarisation of public space?
Background to Missions and Missionaries
Missions and missionaries – from “love doctrine” missions that have sent missionaries around the world to help people in need to those aimed at propagating conversion to Christianity – have always been situated at the boundaries between development and humanitarian aid and the promotion of other grand agendas. Nowadays, UN and NATO peacekeeping and reconstruction missions have adopted the “3D approach” mixing diplomacy, development aid and defence. Labelled as conflict prevention and peacekeeping and reconstruction missions, they have been deployed by western coalition forces under the umbrellas of the UN and NATO. Now these missions are scaling up, occupying larger territories and reshuffling the role of the armed forces in society. Nation-states such as Iraq and Afghanistan that have been subjected to international missions in the past decade have divided into constantly fluctuating safe and unsafe zones. These zones have replaced previous ordering concepts such as the battlefield and the civic realm, in an increasing process of militarisation of societies. Mounting global unrest makes the Missions theme even more relevant.
The Institute of Economics and Peace announced recently that the world as a whole has been growing incrementally less peaceful every year since 2007. Of the 162 countries covered in the IEP’s latest study, just 11 were uninvolved in conflict. A global trend away from unrest that had been visible since the end of the Second World War ended with the escalation of violence after 9/11 and the introduction of the War on Terror. Today, we are witnessing the emergence of ISIS from the ruins of Iraq and Syria and the waging of a vicious war in the Middle East. In response to the rise of ISIS and of global conflict, US Secretary of State John Kerry, in The New York Times, announced the beginning of a new era of global coalitions calling for the increased use of political, humanitarian, economic, law enforcement and intelligence tools to support military force.
All the events were carried out in collaboration with FAST, DPR Barcelona and Studio-X NY, Columbia University.