Architecture of Authority
By Richard Ross
For the past several years—and with seemingly limitless access—Richard Ross has been making unsettling and thought-provoking pictures of architectural spaces that exert power over the individuals within them.
From a Montessori preschool to churches, mosques, and diverse civic spaces—a Swedish courtroom, the Iraqi National Assembly hall, the United Nations—the images in Architecture of Authority build to ever harsher manifestations of authority: an interrogation room at Guantánamo, segregation cells at Abu Ghraib, and finally, a capital punishment death chamber.
Though visually cool, this work deals with hot-button issues: the surveillance that increasingly intrudes on post9/11 life, the abuse of power, the erosion of individual liberty. The connections among the various architectures are striking; as Ross points out: “The Santa Barbara Mission confessional and the LAPD robbery homicide interrogation rooms are the same intimate proportions. Both are made to solicit a confession in exchange for some form of redemption.”
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