Society As An Airport / Martin Gassmann & Siegfried Weirather


Is our modern society working as an airport?
What is the architectural and social result of the permanent mass surveillance?

We analyzed that question in this book starting from the human opportunity to build large buildings and controlling their environment. Going on with Bentham´s Panopticon, a large building with centralized power, in which only a small number of guards are controlling a large number of prisoners, transforming them from unproductive to productive elements for the system. The next environment we look at is the Nazi Germany‘s concentration camps, used for cleaning the society producing workforce for the regime and fabricating corps at the end like an industrial fabric.

The third institution we look at is the modern airport with all its scanners and detectors controlling passengers in full body scanners taking any kind of privacy away, there is nothing to hide anymore even for invisible things can be traced now, if your hand has been in contact with drugs or explosives, the sniffing machine can detect them. Background checks are effectuated before our arrival at the airport using a large network of data interchange between intelligence services from different countries creating “no fly lists”, and in our passports we have saved our personal data like fingerprint and biometrical information of our face.

Where does all this airport technology bring us? Is the modern world working as an airport where we have nothing to hide, anything we do online is stored on servers from our intelligence services and can be used against us. Have we given up liberty for security? And are we protected by privacy laws against mass surveillance and data mining? Considering that nearly any terroristic act brings us to new laws taking freedom away and reinforce the mass surveillance.

In the last chapter, we are going to propose four rather radical statements, that conclude the work we have done regarding this large, ambiguous and very current topic.

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