Christmas Island Detention Centre

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The Christmas Island detention centre known as “Immigration Reception and Processing Centre” has recently been completed at the cost of AUS$360 million. Using the Pacific Solution policy (Australian government policy to transport asylum seekers to detention camps on small island nations in the Pacific Ocean, rather than allowing them to land on the Australian mainland), the Australian prime minister removed Christmas island from Australia’s migration zone and gave the go ahead for the department of immigration to commission Global Solutions Limited to construct the detention centre. The island has a population of 1500 and is only 50 sq miles, the detention centre has the capacity to hold 800 beds and is situated at one of the island that is 24 km long and 7 km wide.

Get a tour of the site of the detention centre at this youtube link

See more architectural plans of the centre hereĀ 

Read a synopsis of Dr Imogen Tyler’s lecture about correctional design and how asylum seeking has become criminalised in UK and abroad creating a market for new architectural symbols of protection.

Taryn Simon @ The Photographers Gallery

taryn simon avian quarantine facility
Avian Quarantine Facility, The New York Animal Import Center, Newburgh, New York. European Finches seized upon illegal importation into the U.S. and African Gray Parrots in quarantine.

Currently at the photographers gallery in west central london, is a wonderful exhibition by Taryn Simon entitled: An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar. This exhibition is a culmination of four years extensive research and documentation of the unseen and inaccessible hidden below the surface of national identity. She has managed to infiltrate various hidden institutions of diverse subjects from across the realms of science, government, medicine, entertainment, nature, security, and religion. These range from Cryopreservation Units, Scientology’s screening rooms, fireworks and explosive devices testing sites, HIV laboratories, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Contraband Rooms, a Nuclear Waste Encapsulation and Storage Facility, an Avian Quarantine Facility, Marijuana research units, the CIA art gallery, etc.

Emergency rescue dogs @ Security and Safety Trade Expo in Tokyo

Emergency dog

A dog wears a rescue jacket and rain coat at a demonstration during the Security and Safety Trade Expo in Tokyo October 17, 2007. The rescue jacket for either a pet dog or cat contains an emergency kit and food, for use in a possible disaster, and the price ranges from JPY 28,000 to JPY 50,000. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (JAPAN)

from Yahoo news

More images here

More info about the security expo in Japan can be found on their website.

More Animal Protection


A gas mask for a WWI German Messenger dog.

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A German gasproof portable pigeon container.

Film series: SAFE

SAFE by Todd Haynes

On October 16th, Cindy Weber introduced the film ‘Safe’ directed by Todd Haynes and released in 1995. It is the first film in the program of films co-sponsored by Dukes Cinema and IAS program year New Sciences of Protection: Designing Safe Living. (see film schedule here>)

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Design: Introductory workshop – 4-5 Oct 2007 – Day 2

Response from Brian Bloomfield (Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, Lancaster University)

One thing that could be picked from all the discussion is the question of politics.
Fiona mentioned how designers are accidentally political, and she also raised the question about how decisions are made about what is dangerous or not. You could say that design is an ordering process. It has unintended consequences: something is always left disordered. There is always a gap between the intended user and the situated user. The lack of compliance is a political issue. Sometimes designers have to try and enforce a moral-political order of safety.
Politics could be something to explore further: the dreams of a politician responding to the moment might be different to the technocractic solutions of engineers. This issue came up in John Law’s talk in the morning. In organisational studies, the creation of order is a long-standing issue. Our hubris in thinking that we can order and control always has a price.
Issues of inclusion and exclusion are crucial in design. The politics of the workplace matter here. The way in which management turns a blind eye to safety regulations needs to be recognised.

Design -Introductory workshop – 4-5 Oct 2007 – Day 2

Gerd Kortuem (Computing, Lancaster University)

Reporting on a collaborative project (Nemo) that uses pervasive sensing technologies for industrial environments. We all work on computers, but many other people work physically. For instance, vibration exposure is a serious problem. It can lead to ‘vibration white finger.’ How can technology be brought in to improve the current practice? Understanding the organizational context requires an inter-disciplinary approach. The project has introduced technologies that measure vibration for individuals. They indicate when people have exceeded their daily limit. There is a whole system that streams the information all the way back to the enterprise using wireless networking. This is an elaborate surveillance system. Case studies of workplaces at different sites have been used. Video prototypes of technologies were shown to managers and others. What was learnt? Vibration is like smoking: action is difficult to connect to effects. So making visible the information collected is really valuable. People often don’t use safety equipment because it makes them feel work. So invisibility of the technology could be a goal of the system. Learning from other people might be more important than rules imposed from the top down. Who are we designing for anyway? The organisation, the worker, etc? What are we designing for? Protection, enforcement or empowerment? Finally, there is the question of surveillance and panoptic effects [see image below]. How to avoid this? We do do this, but try to anticipate the impacts of the technology. Informed design will hopefully make a difference to this.


The panopticon: A type of prison design in 1700s by Jeremy Bantham that allowed observers to observe prisoners without them being able to tell if they are being observed or not. Creating permanent sense of paranoia and invisible omnipresence.

Design – Introductory workshop – 4-5 October 2007

Sabine Junginger (LICA, Lancaster University)

Fiona Raby has shown that design and change are deeply linked. She has pointed to the strength of design as a way of challenging assumptions, using visualisation, prototyping, alternative scenarios, and thus pointing to new possibilities for product development. It also shows some weaknesses of design: it’s abstract, fun, but pointless? But design thinking allows problems to be addressed differently. It is not a decision-making tool or a business model, but a way of challenging assumptions.
Product development: the failure rate is 55-85% for all product design. There are many unsafe products. For instance, the Segway scooter moves people. George Bush fell off one. When Segway started, there was nothing there: no market. There is often a disconnect between the organisational development environment and everyday life. Exploitation is a more common mode of engagement than exploration. We need to understand better what design contributes to problem-solving and product development. This can be in many different contexts: tax offices need to afford access to their services. Products come in all shapes and sizes. If everything is designed, the question is what kind of design is at work.