Work details
Application Number 0000801558
Author Aders, Zachary Michael, Brazil
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Work title: Critical Interface: Democratic Hybrid-Spaces in Libya (0000801558)

NETWORKED INSTITUTION / PUBLIC SQUARE HYBRIDS In Libya, the majority of what are considered basic governmental institutions must be built from the ground up. When the UN attempted to establish a post-colonial democratic system in Libya in 1948, they mistakenly embedded too much power in the monarchy, to which democratic institutions suffered, leading to the failure of the system as Qaddafi simply replaced the king in a coup where the monarchy easily folded. In the siting of new centers of governmental operations, decentralization can now be used as a systematic advantage, rather than a device of manipulation. When given actual legality and control, a “networked institution” (as a node within a physical/digital network) can have the ability to act independently while providing a link to other institutions as well as the central governmental body. The balance between structure and agency is shifted from Qaddafi’s structure-heavy Jamahiriya (consolidated in ambiguous “Revolutionary Committees) to a more balanced, structurational “distributed democracy”, in which agency and structure influence each other. This balance exists between the satellite sites being each institution’s main base in coordination with a set of representatives in the central governmental body, as well as a presence in other relevant ministries. Each site, located in unused interstitial spaces across the city, will have a main legal institution as its base, with connected spaces available for government offices, NGO’s, unions, and other supportive bodies to the specific industry or policy of focus. An open, usable space is the point of connection to the public in each of these sites. Although they vary in size and connection to the institutional buildings, based on the given context, a direct dialogue with the public is the underlying strategy. These inserted event-spaces are not specific in their functionality, but open to civil transformations by the general public, as in the Tahrir and Pearl Roundabouts. Integrated cellular towers will mark each site as a hot spot of connection to information and social media, highlighting the promotion of civil discourse. Redefining the Libyan public’s interface with, and democratic influence on legal governmental bodies is an important step towards democratization. Creating a system of breaking down barriers between state and public bodies while safeguarding sensitive information is one tool in maintaining the balance of power necessary to preserve a democracy. Critical Dialog In each of the ministry prototypes, a system of dialog is created by integrating projections of messages on the more opaque facade panels (interior spaces handling more sensitive information), where people on the site can send text messages to be shown, which are enlarged or hidden based on the number of received “likes” or “dislikes” from other site users. This system can also be used to project relevant news, public warnings, and statistics & data from the state institution. The supported exchange between these governmental bodies and a networked, informed public is one tool to assist the strategy of blocking coups through dissemination of information and denial of legitimacy to putschists.