Technical Lands: A Critical Primer

Book talk with contributor Jay Cephas and editors Jeffrey S. Nesbit and Charles Waldheim


12pm, Betts Auditorium

Technical lands are spaces united by their “exceptional” status—their remote locations, delimited boundaries, secured accessibility, and vigilant management. Designating land as “technical” is thus a political act. Doing so entails dividing, marginalizing, and rendering portions of the Earth inaccessible and invisible. An anti-visuality of technical lands enables forms of hypervisibility and surveillance through the rhetorical veil of technology. Including the political and physical boundaries, technical lands are used in highly aestheticized geographies to resist debate surrounding production and governance. These critical sites and spaces range from disaster exclusion and demilitarized zones to prison yards, industrial extraction sites, airports, and spaceports. The identification and instrumentalization of technical lands have increased in scale and complexity since the rise of neoliberalization. Yet, the precise theoretical contours that define these geographies remain unclear. Technical Lands: A Critical Primer brings together authors from a diverse array of disciplines, geographies, and epistemologies to interrogate and theorize the meaning and increasing significance of technical lands.