Before and After, Eyal Weizman
Eyal Weizman

Before and After

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Eyal Weizman is an architect, Professor of Spatial and Visual Cultures and director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. Ines Weizman is an architect and Professor of Architectural Theory at the Bauhaus University Weimar, as well as teaching at London Metropolitan University.
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History is increasingly presented as a series of catastrophes. The most common mode of this presentation is the before-and-after image – a juxtaposition of two photographs of the same place, at different times, before and after an event has taken its toll. Buildings seen intact in a ‘before’ photograph have been destroyed in the one ‘after’.
The contemporary prevalence of before-and-after images shapes our perception of the world. It certainly opens up a new dimension in shifting our attention from the representation of the human agent to representations of territories and architecture, which also turns spatial analysis into an essential political tool.
Today, the most common before-and-after images are satellite photographs, and they are once again the product of a limitation in the photographic process. The orbit times of satellites circumnavigating the planet means that they can only capture the same place at regular intervals. Because there is a time lag between each image (the fastest satellites can orbit the Earth every 90 minutes but at higher altitudes they take several hours), the crucial event is often missed. In addition, international regulations currently limit the resolution of publicly available satellite imagery to 50 cm per pixel (every 50 cm area is represented as a single, colour-coded surface). Higher-resolution images are available to state agencies, but the regulation limiting publicly available resolution was set so that they would not register the human body.4
Strelka Press, Strelka Institute
Strelka Institute
Strelka Press
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architecture and urbanism, mrn ptrv
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