Monday, July 24, 2006

The Art of Psychogeographic War

Eyal Weizman recently published an essay on the adaption of the philosophies of Deleuze and Guattari by the Israeli military. He cited the 2002 battle of Nablus, as explained by an Israeli officer, being an example of 'inverse geometry'. Is the present conflict ranging across the Israeli-Lebanese border the latest instance of the Israeli army's effort in "the reorganization of the urban syntax by means of a series of micro-tactical actions".
With it looking likely that the warring factions are to be separated by an international force (either that or all out war in the Middle East), this latest conflict seems to fit with what Weizman describes as "fragmentation of the terrain into two systems that work across the vertical axis."
Weizman explains the relevance of Deleuze and Guattari in relation to;
"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. Palestinian areas could indeed be thought of as 'striated' in the sense that they are enclosed by fences, walls, ditches, roads blocks and so on. When I asked him if moving through walls was part of it, he explained that, 'In Nablus the IDF understood urban fighting as a spatial problem. [...] Travelling through walls is a simple mechanical solution that connects theory and practice."
Lets hope that this "smoothing out of space" finishes soon.
In a related psychogeographic and Deleuze and Guattari area, an engaging new essay by Brian Massumi has been posted on the web:
URBAN APPOINTMENT A Possible Rendez-Vous With the City (PDF 295KB)

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