SITU Research, one of three distinct divisions of Brooklyn-based architecture practice SITU along with SITU Studio and SITU Fabrication, has released Choking Dissent: How Tear Gas is Used to Crush Protests, an illuminating—and sobering—video analysis exploring how exactly this “less lethal” chemical weapon works and, perhaps more critically considering current events, how it is grossly abused in the public space.
The nearly 5-and-a-half-minute primer video was produced as part of a larger global exploration into tear gas headed by Amnesty International, which documents the improper use of tear gas at 80 events in 22 different countries and territories. A year in the making, Amnesty International has made its findings available through a recently launched interactive multi-media website that, per the human rights organization, “looks into what tear gas is, how it is used and documents scores of cases of its misuse by security forces worldwide, often resulting in severe injuries or death.”
Formally known as a lachrymator agent, tear gas, which causes severe temporary eye and lung irritation but can also lead to harmful long-term health effects, is by no means a new type of munition despite its recent resurgence in the United States. It was deployed heavily in World War I and during subsequent global conflicts. Contained in aerosol cans, mace is a commercially available, pepper spray-based form of tear gas that’s been widely used in non-combat scenarios since the 1960s as a form of self-defense. Awareness of tear gas