Curatorial Initiatives
Kant's Essay

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In Conversation with William Banks

In April 2010, the Perpetual Peace Project invited William Banks, director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University, to speak about the topic in the Sky Room of the New Museum, a preeminent contemporary art museum in New York. He spoke against the backdrop of lower Manhattan, the site of the September 11th terrorist attacks. The filmmakers felt that this would provide an appropriate backdrop for Banks' comments about contemporary threats to collective security.

Responding to the "vulnerability" of the site, Banks explained how inhabitants of cities such as New York are often unaware of measures taken to insure their daily security. These measures are necessary because nation-state security is threatened not just by the standing armies Kant writes about in Perpetual Peace, but also by unconventional threats ranging from multinational financial conglomerates to military contractors--even rogue teenagers whose laptops threaten key infrastructure. This situation has been exacerbated by 'black spots' such as Tijuana, where attempts to discourage armed conflict prove ineffective due to uneven development and political instability. Such threats to collective security force us to rethink peace and war as diametrically opposed, ushering in a landscape of perpetual instability.

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