Saturday, September 27, 2008

urban anxiety

Peter Nas and Pratiwo write: “uncertainty has become a certainty […].”[1] The gated communities in suburbia symbolize the fear of the stranger, where homogeneity symbolizes the need for security. Nas and Pratiwo call this the ‘architecture of fear’.[2] The walls, gates, barbed wire and guards symbolize the graving for security while not providing real safety. Abidin Kusno comments: “They [the fences] no longer seem to connote power. They do not have any real power to exclude. Rather, these enclosures signify defense, fear, and abandonment. They keep things inside […].”[3]

[1] See p289, Nas, P.J.M., Pratiwo, ‘The streets of Jakarta, Fear, trust and amnesia in urban development’, in: Nas, P.J.M., Persoon, G., and Jaffe, R. (eds.), Framing Indonesian realities: Essays in symbolic anthropology in honour of Reimar Schefold, Leiden: KITLV Press, 2003.
[2] See p292, idem.
[3] See p176, Kusno, A., ‘Remembering/Forgetting the May Riots: Architecture, Violence, and the Making of ‘Chinese Cultures’ in Post-1998 Jakarta’, in: Public Culture, Vol.15, no.1 (2003): pp149-177.

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