Sunday, September 13, 2009

Normandy Bunkers

(image sourced from: here)
With the nature and sheer volume of history behind every artefact of war, especially the architecture produced during a state of absolute war that blurs the distinction between civilian and military resource, I believe it would be unfair to adopt (only) phenomenology as a lens of understanding and representing these building. A personal experiential narrative of these built forms is meaningless given the complex collective history that has sculpted them. To further appropriate these artefacts of war along imaginations of science fiction writings (even if it is someone as good as J.G. Ballard) would be like making a comedy (Life is Beautiful) around the holocaust. The tourist and media both seemed to have turned history into something that we feel about rather than think about, but I guess the notion of collective memory does provide that overlap between history and experience.

(images sourced from: here)
Maybe due to the collective memory that we accumulate of these events it may be possible to have similar reactions of awe and wonder on seeing the Bunkers of Normandy or the sea forts of Maunsell mentioned recently on the BldgBlog (the post also has some very beautiful images of the sea forts from the outside and some interior spaces).

(images sourced from: here)
But one such person who is able to manage writing about this architecture carefully balancing between the two dialectics is Paul Virilio. Here is a very good interview I came across called 'The Kosovo War took Place in Orbital Space'. Throughout his works Virilio's combination of military conception of history and use of theory of perception, I believe allows one to truly appreciate the architecture of Normandy Bunkers.

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