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"The Architecture of Fear."

Posted Nov 30 2011 3:20pm

If you’re anything like me, your panic- or anxiety-fraught periods produce a sense of place that’s particularly attuned to anything even potentially fearsome. For example, usually I love crowded events, feeding off the energy of the audience, the thrill of watching something happen in person – ballgames, concerts, theater. But when I’m feeling anxious, even the sight of a sports stadium or concert hall gives me the willies. (As do highways, bridges, subways, shopping malls, airports, office buildings, supermarket freezer aisles, crowded sidewalks, parking structures, the gym…. Raise a glass to agoraphobia!)

What if it’s not just your panic or anxiety speaking, though? What if there are ways that “be afraid!” messages are embedded in many aspects of society, whether intentionally or not? This is the kind of question posed by the art in “The Architecture of Fear,” a show at the Belgian gallery Z33.

From the show’s catalog
The society of fear is more than just a feeling…Think of the many government warnings, the health messages and increased safety measures. Risk elimination is the word…The question of course is how and to what extent this affects an individual. Do these countless warnings not only inspire more fear? Does that camera above the station tunnel not suggest that something is wrong? 
…The fact that fear is used as a life style choice, as a sales pitch or as political bait makes it no less real. The question is how we deal with fear, what kind of world we want to create for ourselves.
Some cool stuff here, in a variety of media. (My inner conspiracy theorist is particularly drawn to Trevor Paglen's "limit telephotography" of secret military bases .) Wish I could afford a quick trip to Belgium!

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