Monday, March 06, 2006

Walkthrough Gitmo: the de-restricted fortress

These are images from a project which seeks to map the world's secret military landscapes. Zone Interdite is a collaboration between Matthias Jud and Christoph Wachter, who have gathered tons of maps, photographs, and other documentation over the course of years, to piece together a an interactive cartography of roughly 1,200 global restricted areas. The site features a searchable database that cross-indexes these spaces according to country and the type of armed forces which occupy them.
These particular images are of a virtual walkthrough of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in Cuba.

What's even more compelling, though, is that the site encourages users to add their own "restricted areas" to the map, inviting a democratic orgy of cryptogeographers, researchers, and model-makers to help build a complete networked walkthrough of all the actual spaces we -- as citizens of the world -- cannot go. I love the idea of revealing these off-limit places this way, in a sense, de-restricting them in the process of remaking them. Altogether, rendering a de-restricted global fortress.
What starts off as a few models of detention centers and prison camps could eventually turn into a full on game-world atlas of forbidden cities; a Borgesian labyrinth of illegal walkthroughs and blatantly trespassed border-zones, subverted checkpoints, oblique tunnel architecture, web tourists lost in the intersecting planes of bunker complexity and secret baseworld archipelago urbanism. It becomes a backlash taxonomy of exposed military installations. A virtual military-industrial-complex: "clandestinatopia." Border fences and security walls give way now to a deterritorialized map of exploratory landscapes, overrun by mad gamers and tribes of sim-squatters preserving the world's most closed and hidden places as endlessly wandering open space. Like a Subtopian involuntary park online, or a virtual spelunker's paradise.
So, yeah, I hope to see you there.



Post a Comment

<< Home