The Port and the Fall of Icarus
A project for the Dutch Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2018
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
in collaboration with
Baktash Sarang Javanbakht
Logistics originates and learns from our lives, our movements, and our desires. Frantically but efficiently, it makes connections in a laborious paranoia. It establishes associations through the aggregation of data and the expansion of infrastructure. However, no single body is really able to control logistics and, like a scientific experiment gone wrong, a monster has been conjured beyond the control of its dispersed creators.*
Free spaces of trade, storage, and distribution are transformed into centres of detention and expulsion for labourers; whose bodies are not only controlled by the automated machinery and robots but are also dominated by the obscure desires of the others.
Logistics today is a biopolitical apparatus.
This biopolitical machine is founded on the division of life, into biological life and political life. The same means of division however, is precisely what permits one to construct the unity of life: a life that is not separated from its form. As the contemporary philosopher Giorgio Agamben puts it, such form of life is not defined by its relation to a work, but rather by a potential, and by ‘inoperativity’: that is, a mode in which it is maintained in relation to a pure potential in a work, where life and its form, private
and public enter into a threshold of indifference; wherein the question is neither life nor work but happiness.
“Work is an instrument to reach the truth, but inoperativity (laziness) is the real truth of mankind.”
Kazimir Malevich, 1921
In 2009 the construction of Maasvlakte 2 and the excavation of the seabed brought to light a long-lost manuscript, a rather unique piece of work. Archaeologists associated it with the Dutch Ocean Liner, SS Tubantia, which sunk after being attacked by German submarine on March 16, 1916. The surviving components of the manuscript contain a series of notes that appear to be part of a story or prophecy. The fact that the synopses are unfinished, with no signature, is perhaps the main reason the author(s) has not yet been identified.
The curatorial project is an attempt to reconstruct the found story, reflecting on the modes of resistance to the ever-expanding nature of the logistical apparatus that govern us. Aiming to liberate the life from the work, the project contemplates the possibility of turning our activities to potentialities. Not only that, but also to clear away, to abstract in order to suggests a pause: a moment within which a new possibility of political organization can be imagined.