Thursday, May 29, 2008

Inside the Architecture of Authority

Since architecture, authority, buildings and seduction are themes of this blog
(aren't they every blog's keynotes?),
this new book
reviewed and sampled in WIRED
caught my attention.

Click for photos.
Inside the Architecture of Authority
By Keith Axline
05.29.08 | 12:00 AM

A new book by photographer Richard Ross, Architecture of Authority, examines the way institutional buildings exert power over people. Ross managed to gain impressive access to all kinds of secretive or high-security buildings, from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, to the supermax high-security Pelican Bay prison in California. Ross credits his unprecedented access to a combination of persistence and sincere curiosity. "Many of these people want to show you these places once they know that you're interested in their world," he says.

To question the pervasiveness of intimidating, "disgusting" architecture, the images in Ross' book are both striking and inviting. Ross intentionally makes the photos of oppressive structures look seductive. "You can convince people a lot easier by whispering in their ear rather than hitting them over the head," says Ross....

One picture description sounds like church:

Left: Pictured is the prison's lethal injection chamber. "Ninety percent of inmates who enter never leave," Ross says. Inmates work on the prison farm and are not allowed to eat the cows they raise because the quality of the meat is too high. Meals at Angola can cost as little as 17 cents per person since so much of the food is grown on site. Twice a year, inmates enjoy a rodeo on the prison grounds with barbecues and bull riding.

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