Walls precede Walls. The longest conveyor belt in the world, located in BouCraa (Western Sahara), is an elevated structure flying phosphates from the mines in the desert to the Atlantic coast. Under a heavy nationalist conflict, the whole territory has experienced countless landscape subdivisions, by means of industry as well as politics.
In the 1970s, this conveyor belt was the main objective for attacks by guerrillas against imposed Moroccan sovereignty. In order to protect it, a series of walls started to be carved out of the sand dunes in successive front lines. The 1980s sculptured the Sahara in continuously changing Berlin Walls dividing pro-independence from pro-king supporters.
Camps may convey militaristic, political and romantic feelings. But in the Western Sahara, it has been one of the most common kind of settlement in last years. Either for refugees, military or industrial workers, camps resulted in a blurred mix of autonomy, control and necessity. [Charlie Hailey: Camps, a guide to 21st-century space].
Turning a hostile territory into dwelling space, camps need to imagine built environments in the middle of aggressive milieus. The spaces of camps are both open and closed; they register the struggles, emergencies and possibilities of global existence as no other space does.
[image1> BouCraa belt conveyor via conveyorbelt] [images2&3> BouCraa camp settlement via googlemaps] [image4>BouCraa settlement in 1975 by jotapebe] [image5> Western Sahara military Walls in the 1980s via academic dictionaries] [image6> Morocco’s Wall of Shame via bythefault] [image7> Western Sahara Wall 1980s via the Independent]