Architecture of Authority

Architecture of Authority

Book - 2007
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Book News
This is an assemblage of photos unified by the theme that in the places depicted, one set of people wields power over another set of people. The places are quite varied in their purposes and include--to give a sampling of the range--the United Nations Security Council Chamber, an art gallery, a movie executive's office, a preschool, and a high school corridor. Photographer Ross (U. of California, Santa Barbara) jumped through all sorts of bureaucratic hoops to obtain access to some of the interiors such as the exercise yard, shower stall, and housing units at Abu Ghraib; the lethal injection room at Angola State Penitentiary; a waiting room at the FBI; and an isolation room at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement location in Los Angeles. The images are without human figures, inviting the reader to enter the scenes and experience how the architecture and furnishings speak. John R. MacArthur (president and publisher, Harper's Magazine) provides an essay to set the context. Distributed by Distributed Art Publishers. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Ingram Publishing Services
For the past several years--and with seemingly limitless access--photographer 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 including a Swedish courtroom, the Iraqi National Assembly hall and the United Nations, the images in "Architecture of Authority" build to ever harsher manifestations of power: 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--from the surveillance that increasingly intrudes on post-9/11 life to the abuse of power and 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." Essay by "Harper's Magazine" publisher, John R. MacArthur, also a columnist for the Toronto "Globe and Mail."

Publisher: New York : Aperture ; London : Thames & Hudson [distributor], 2007
Edition: 1st ed
Description: 144 p. : col. ill. ; 23 cm
ISBN: 9781597110525
Branch Call Number: 779.4 Ros
Additional Contributors: MacArthur, John R.


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