Architecture of Violence – Eyal Weizman

I saw this documentary as part of the 2014 London Palestine Film Festival, followed by a talk with Eyal Weizman, the plucky architect who narrates the film. I learned a lot from his book Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation, for its critical overview of the slow, mundane, pre-meditated way that the occupation of Palestine has been orchestrated over time. The brief documentary, directed by Ana Naomi de Sousa, addresses and visualizes the more striking elements of the book. For example, Israel’s use of “Jerusalem stone” in building housing units in the settlements surrounding Jerusalem, to evoke the old city center of the iconic city. The architect knows these buildings are mostly made of concrete, the outside layer merely a facade. (An added tidbit from the book is that this stone is actually mined and manufactured in the West Bank.) The film explores how “Architecture is used by architects…as a weapon.”

Battlefield terms such as strongpoint, advance, penetration, encirclement, envelopment, surveillance, control and supply lines migrated from the military to the civilian sphere… In the hands of Sharon, his followers and colleagues, architecture and planning were presented as a continuation of war by other means. The civilianization of military terms was to lead in turn to the militarization of all other spheres of life. War was only over because it was now everywhere.

Eyal Weizman, Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation, 2008.