^ Cave Home_Broken Manual 2008, by Alec Soth via spaceframed
In this hyper-connected world of control technologies, the desire of hiding is still very human. Either as a result of social exclusion, marginal lifestyles, anti-mainstream behaviors, political statements, existential meditations, religious beliefs, economic difficulties or utopian experiments, it is always interesting to look at the shelters that house such aspirations of disconnection from the network society.
The mysterious case of that middle-aged Japanese woman who was living in the cupboard of a random person’s home for several months without him noticing perfectly fits in one of these life experiences. Even if the media do not agree on the actual length of the period she spent sneaking in and out of the cupboard, together with the dubiously believable choreography on the viral video and its different versions (probably fakes), it is stunning to see such waste spaces converted into dwelling environments.
The film Somewhere To Disappearfeaturing photographer Alec Soth’s visual approach to shelters from this world provides a brilliant journey into otherness and the way we create the boundary between normality and Foucauldian abnormality :
“For his project, «Broken Manual» the photographer Alec Soth traveled across America looking for people who’ve retreated from
society. Some live in mountain cabins, some in caves, others in the desert. It is through Alec’s eyes that we try to understand why
those modern hermits want to escape. The photographer shows us a new fantasy, the dream to disappear.”
^ Stills from Somewhere To Disappear, a film by Laure Flammarion and Arnaud Uyttenhove with Alec Soth, 2010. 57 min.
‘Since 2004, the US has been practicing in a new kind of clandestine military operation. The justification for using drones to take out enemy targets is appealing because it removes the risk of losing American military, it’s much cheaper than deploying soldiers, it’s politically much easier to maneuver (i.e. flying a drone within Pakistan vs. sending troops) and it keeps the world in the dark about what is actually happening. It takes the conflict out of sight, out of mind. The success rate is extremely low and the cost on civilian lives and the general well-being of the population is very high. This project helps to bring light on the topic of drones [...].’
The following photo series, Gardensand Shelter, both by Henk Wildschut, illustrate the construction of domestic space for a limited and uncertain time lapse. Its fate at a micro-scale relies not on personal choice but on international law being applied to these extraterritorial settlements. These spaces are constructed by dwellers who know that they will leave them behind sooner or later.
The authors of the temporary gardens outside the tents of the Shousha Refugee Camp await for a decision by the UNHCR that prolongs their stay in the camp or returns them back to their country of origin. The authors of the temporary shelters in an area of Calais, France, known as The Jungle, await for the great crossing of the strait to make a life in Britain. If dwellers of the ‘formal’ tents use blue UN corporate plastics and empty bottles of water as available building materials, the ‘invisible’ dwellers of the tents in the French woods resort to urban waste, such as old clothes and market-plastics. The former scape from war and are housed in a military settlement. The latter seek to enter the consumerist dream and have to house themselves with the remnants of Lidl carrier bags. Both seem to be trapped in the materiality of the conflict they are trying to scape.
How should the UN deal with domesticity in the camps? Could the ‘irregular’ waiting camps at European border crossings become humanized?
How comfortable or uncomfortable needs to be a transitory place to legitimize its permanence?
Taking the notion of ‘orwellian‘ that refers to a destruction of the welfare of a free and open society in a regime of surveillance and control as reflected in George Orwell’s work, dpr-barcelona just launched a new publication exploring the possibilities of Architecture-related publications within new media. The graphic content of Orwellian has been adapted for Augmented Reality interaction, and presented last week at the Apple Store in Barcelona. The potential of expanding the printed matter beyond its material format, thanks to smartphone possibilities, allows adding complementary layers of simultaneous information.
^ Displacement of Reunion hotspotand the Indian plate. The numbers in circles mark millions of years. The area just underneath the sea surface will be considered as continental fragments from now on. [source> GFZ]
‘Under the law of the sea, if you can demonstrate you have a piece of continental crust, on which you can put your flag, you can immediately claim 200 nautical miles around it. And that’s yours under the law of the sea to do what you like with economically. So there’s some degree of economic significance to something that might be purely scientific in terms of its discovery.‘ [Richard Arculus, Professor of Geology, Australian National University]
^ Still from The Forgotten Space by Allan Sekula and Noel Burch, 2010. 112 min.
‘Human beings are over 70 per cent water. 90 per cent of international trade moves via water. Yet, as Allan Sekula and Noel Burch argue in this brilliant and internationally acclaimed film essay, modern society is ‘terracentric’, and thinks that history only happens on land.’ [Source> rmg]
‘The Forgotten Space follows container cargo aboard ships, barges, trains and trucks, listening to workers, engineers, planners, politicians, and those marginalized by the global transport system. We visit displaced farmers and villagers in Holland and Belgium, underpaid truck drivers in Los Angeles, seafarers aboard mega-ships shuttling between Asia and Europe, and factory workers in China, whose low wages are the fragile key to the whole puzzle. And in Bilbao, we discover the most sophisticated expression of the belief that the maritime economy, and the sea itself, is somehow obsolete.
A range of materials is used: descriptive documentary, interviews, archive stills and footage, clips from old movies. The result is an essayistic, visual documentary about one of the most important processes that affects us today. The Forgotten Space is based on Sekula’s Fish Story, seeking to understand and describe the contemporary maritime world in relation to the complex symbolic legacy of the sea.’
^ Still from The Forgotten Space by Allan Sekula and Noel Burch, 2010. 112 min.
^ Phantom: Mies as Rendered Society, 2012 by Andrés Jaque. Photo by Miguel de Guzmán via elcultural
Mies Van der Rohe has many secrets to hide. His seminal Barcelona Pavilion (Expo 1929), from which we can only visit a distorted reconstruction since 1986, has recently gone through three brilliant interventions that expose a new narrative beyond manicured minimalism: Mies Cruising Pavilion Montjuic, An Unauthorised Exhibition by independent curator/retired architect Pablo León de la Barra and Friends (9/10/2010), Ghost Forestby sound artist/biologist Francisco López (14/06-31/08/2012) and Phantom: Mies as Rendered Society by architect/political innovator Andrés Jaque (14/12/2012-28/02/2013).
^ Phantom: Mies as Rendered Society, 2012 by Andrés Jaque. Photo by Miguel de Guzmán via elcultural
The three installations deal with a machinic vision of the everyday. Mies Cruising Pavilion turns the backside of the architectural icon into a sex machine that makes contemporary spaces of gay sexual intercourse accessible for the public eye. Travertine tiles serve as display for a parallel use of the city that surrounds it. Ghost Forest is a series of field recordings in nature that ‘reveal a ghostly spectrum of frequencies of the transposed forest environments.’ Francisco López’s piece consisted of an on-site live mix of these sonic layers, using the whole podium of the pavilion as a resonance chamber. The visitor barely realized that the amplified sounds of birds were coming out from the gaps between the floor tiles. A new space was discovered.
Jaque’s very recent piece communicates a long-term research on the actual everyday politics behind the miessianic object. After interviews with the cleaning and maintenance staff, architects, managers, invigilators of the pavilion, he has decided to bring up all the gadgets stored in that mysterious basement up onto the noble floor. The perfectly calibrated open flow space that Mies once thought about is masterly interrupted by water hoses, ladders, mops, cleaning boots, damaged travertine floor tiles, worn out red velvet curtains, fragments of original beams, cleaning products and a vacuum cleaner. Jaque’s anthropological irreverence perverts the mythical and brings it back to the human sphere.
A chair dictates a context. It implies an act of waiting, spending time in the same place until something more important than the mere act of waiting happens. A chair has also a connotation linked to a tedious activity. We are only allowed to stand up when we have finished a task, when we want to take a break, when we start something else or when we are told to do something else.
In Txema Salvans’ photographic series ‘The Waiting Game’, he captures some moments of prostitution in urban peripheries (‘invisible, yet inhabited spaces’). We are able to realize of the situations, not only because of what our cultural knowledge already makes our brain associate with the clothes or places depicted. But also because of the presence of a chair that constantly appears in most photographs. A shabby plastic chair that does not match the logic understanding of the natural landscape along a road. The chair here reveals that tediousness, that forced condition of waiting. The chair also reveals the lack of a proper space for sexual encounters and exposes the hypocrisy about the non-existence of such activity. The autonomy of the human body, deprived of everything material around it, becomes the means of earning a bare life.
The chair works as a mechanism of visibility that constructs an architectural space: both as a sign for potential customers and as a sign to bring us down to harsh reality and think about the implications of simply waiting.
In order to detect human presence inside a house, and as a protection measure against ninja stealth walking, Nightingale Floors (Uguisu-Bari 鴬張り) were invented in Japan around the 17th century. By means of a simple timber and nails construction detail, the weight of a person walking on the floor boards was automatically translated into squeaking sounds, alerting anyone in the adjacent sleeping quarters. The rubbing of the nails up and down with metal clips is what produced a bird-like sounding friction. This alarm made soundless moves visible to the inhabitants of the house, which could prevent domestic crime at the time: a potential murderer could not remain unseen at night.
Samurais were even said to make a more sophisticated usage of the Nightingale Floors in their own houses. A system through which they could control the device to the point of making specific tunes out of their walking. A new language to communicate with the others in the house about whether they needed to worry or not about their presence.
‘Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only as a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker – with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell.
Powers of Ten is a 1968 American documentary short film written and directed by Ray Eames and her husband, Charles Eames, rereleased in 1977. The film depicts the relative scale of the Universe in factors of ten (see also logarithmic scale and order of magnitude). The film is an adaptation of the 1957 book Cosmic View by Kees Boeke, and more recently is the basis of a new book version. Both adaptations, film and book, follow the form of the Boeke original, adding color and photography to the black and white drawings employed by Boeke in his seminal work.’
^ ‘Iceberg Houses’ in London. Illustration by Ben Hasler/The Guardian.
Trapped by architectural heritage policies and restrictions, some of London’s most exclusive neighbourhoods have started to grow downwards. The only space available for further construction is nothing but the underground. Georgian and Victorian mansions have started to create several-storey basements in order to accommodate new delirious architectures. According to The Guardian, the planning authority in Kensington-Chelsea, the most densely inhabited borough in England, has granted 800 basement extensions within the past four years, to dig cinemas, gyms, tennis courts, playrooms, bowling alleys, spas, ballrooms, vintage cars garages, wine cellars, gun rooms…
The house expands at the same pace as the owner’s fortune and his need to show his upgrading social status, but also to state that there is no limit to one’s will. If skyscrapers fight for a height world record, where linear verticality measures success, these sorts of ‘investment bunkers’ use 3D volumetric expansions as a reference parameter. The question of whether hidden infrastructures below ground actually affect land use on the surface has aroused. Following this contemporary trend of Beatriz Preciado’s Pornotopias, the first Planning Document on Subterranean Development was commissioned to Arup in 2009.
Several cases have reported appearance of cracks, sunk façades and shifted doorframes in neighbouring houses, where people have even been trapped within their own home after greedy subterranean extensions to the city occurred next door.
dOCUMENTA (13) is dedicated to artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated to, theory. These are terrains where politics are inseparable from a sensual, energetic, and worldly alliance between current research in various scientific and artistic fields and other knowledges, both ancient and contemporary.
dOCUMENTA (13) is driven by a holistic and non-logocentric vision that is skeptical of the persisting belief in economic growth.
_Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Artistic Director
After the unexpected disappointment on the excessive correctness of the pieces at dOCUMENTA (13), including the ones by my heroes Francis Alÿs and Roman Ondák, as well as urban Time-Bank systems from Berlin – not to talk about the over-engineered and completely out-of-place ‘sustainable-green-building-white-cubes’ spread all over Kassel and used as (mis)exhibiting pavilions, I will compile below a selection of my top immaterial moments and spatial ecstasies:
^, ^^ Airflow-velocity study for I Need Some Meaning I Can Memorise (The Invisible Pull), 2012. By Ryan Gander.
‘[…] A light breeze is blowing through the Fridericianum’s entire ground floor, whose rooms are left almost empty. […] It is not a strong wind, not immediately recognizable as artificial, but physical enough to create a moment of wonder in the viewer while standing in what is considered “the heart” of documenta. […]’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ In one of the main and larger exhibition rooms we can only find non-participant Kai Althoff’s non-piece: a letter to Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, explaining his reasons to withdraw taking part in dOCUMENTA (13). Photo>deconcrete2012
^ Apples,1912-1960s. By Korbinian Aigner. 372 drawings. Each ca. 10×15 cm. Photo>deconcrete2012
‘The fruit once known as KZ-3 and now renamed the Korbinian Apple was cultivated by Korbinian Aigner, the Apfelpfarrer – the “apple priest” – when he was an inmate in Dachau concentration camp. […] In this unlikeliest of places – the concentration camp – Aigner succeeded in creating new life in the form of four new strains of apples. Aigner developed a strain for every year of his internment, secretly naming the apple sorts KZ-1, KZ-2, KZ-3, and KZ-4 – “KZ” being the German abbreviation for “concentration camp”. […] Even if Aigner’s cultivation of new apple strains was a poetic act of resistance in the face of genocide, the names that he gave to them suggest that no manifestation of life could remain untouched by fascism’s abuse of enlightened thought. […]’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ Sleeping Sickness, 2012. By Pratchaya Phinthong. Fertile female and sterile consort. Each ca. 1 cm. Photo>deconcrete2012
‘[…] Africa’s epidemic disease, and how Europe and the rest of the world try to control the deadly tsetse fly in Africa. [Tsetse flies] yearly infect and kill thousands of people with sleeping sickness. Together with local people [Phintong] invests in simple, inexpensive traps with which tsetse populations can be monitored and effectively controlled – as a possible alternative to the method of sterilizing male flies by irradiation.’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ Picasso in Palestine, 2011. By Khaled Hourani. Installation view, International Academy of Art Palestine (IAAP) in Ramallah.
‘[…] What would normally be a standard loan procedure between two institutions had to be rethought due to the exceptional nature of the Palestinian reality and protocols had to be adjusted and legal frameworks reset relating to insurance, transportation, and imports into the West Bank. On its journey, watched over by a delegation of museum experts from Eindhoven, the work passed Israeli military checkpoints, and during its exhibition, in a room custom-built to provide appropriate temperature and humidity levels, it was guarded by Palestinian soldiers. […]’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ Til I Get It Right, 2005. By Ceal Floyer. Audio installation. Photo>deconcrete2012
‘[…] A sound piece created from the refrain of the classic song of the same title by Tammy Wynette, also embraces notions of vulnerability and the potential of failure. Floyer digitally excised the words “falling in love” and looped the remaining “I’ll just keep on / ‘til I get it right” in eternal repetition. […]’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ Public Smog, 2004-ongoing. By Amy Balkin. Photo>deconcrete2012
‘[…] Balkin drafted a list stating all the criteria that identify the atmosphere as a unique property and therefore appropriate for consideration to be protected and preserved as a natural World Heritage Site. One of the project’s major challenges is that while the atmosphere is a borderless realm, only state parties can nominate sites within their own borders or offshore sites they claim politically or co-nominate. At the time of writing, dOCUMENTA (13) has sent support requests in six languages to 186 UNESCO countries, inviting them to act as leading state parties – individually or in a coalition committee – to facilitate an extraordinary procedure. The amount of paperwork gathered during this process reveals the gaps and obstacles of international law in the collaborative action against climate change.’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ The Worldly House, 2012. An Archive Inspired by Donna Haraway’s Writings on Multispecies Co-Evolution, Compiled and Presented by Tue Greenfort. Installation inside the former birdhouse of Kassel’s Karlsaue Park. Photo>deconcrete2012
^, ^^, ^^^ Untilled, 2012. By Pierre Huyghe. Installed at the composting area of Kassel’s Karlsaue Park. Photos>deconcrete2012
‘The place is enclosed. Elements and spaces from different times in history lie next to each other with no chronological order or sign of origin. What is present are either physical adaptations of fictional and factual documents or existing things. In the compost of the Karlsaue Park, artefacts, inanimate elements, and living organisms…plants, animals, humans, bacteria are left without culture. The set of operations that occurs between them has no script. There are antagonisms, associations, hospitality and hostility, corruption, separation and degeneration or collapse with no encounters. These are circumstances and deviations that allow the emergence of complexities. […]’ [Text> Pierre Huyghe]
This Variation, 2012. By Tino Sehgal.
Since pages 438 and 439 about this pieces are brilliantly missing from the dOCUMENTA guidebook, I will also simply recommend going, navigating, touching, breathing, smelling, seeing the space.
^, ^^ Raptor’s Rapture, 2012. By Allora & Calzadilla. Single-channel HD video projection, color, sound. Screened inside Kassel’s WWII bunker.
Flautist Bernadette Käfer, specialized in prehistoric instruments, was invited by A&C to play the oldest musical instrument ever found – a flute carved from the wing bone of a griffon vulture 35,000 years ago by Homo Sapiens – live in front of a live griffon.
^ Forest (For A Thousand Years), 2012. By Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller. Photo>deconcrete2012
Thirty speakers hidden in the forest move the audience.
J: You can hear the ocean today.
G: The tide must be coming in, or maybe it’s just the wind or the highway.
J: How long are we going to wait?
G: I don’t know.
J: Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, lived a very normal woman in an apartment surrounded by many other apartments and no trees. One day she fell asleep and never woke up.
A: Maybe she slept for a thousand years and a prince came and found her and woke her up.
J: She just lay in bed. Nothing happened. She just slept and slept. That’s the end. […]’
^ 2012, By Aníbal López (A-1 53167).
‘[…] For dOCUMENTA (13), López has invited a Guatemalana sicario, a hired assassin, to come to Kassel to discuss and address the social and political circumstances in Central America and in armed conflicts everywhere. With his project, López aims to “penetrate the assassin’s mind” as a subversive strategy of “internalizing the reason and thinking behind the realities of people and ways of living. […]’ [Text> Eva Scharrer]
^ And finally, our Centre for Research Architecture roundtable discussion explored questions of political ecologies, conflict and human rights (31 July 2012). Curated and moderated by Chris Molinski within the programme of events organised by Critical Art Ensemble ‘Winning Hearts and Minds’ in their Free Speech Zone at Kassel’s Hauptbahnhof. Presentations included: Eva Dietrich, Irmelin Joelson, Steffen Krämer, Hannah Meszaros-Martin, Daniel Fernández Pascual (myself) and Corinne Quinn. On the image, my cooking performance Displaced Soils: A Geopolitical Gazpacho, introducing a series of contested places of real (e)state speculation and corruption in Spain through each ingredient of the Gazpacho, which had been carefully chosen and brought from the site; chopped in Kassel; and blended during the performance. After 20 min, the map of Spanish speculation was ready to be drunk.
EXOTE [Exhibition#1, by Kris Verdonck] is a metaphorical garden installation with a selection of invasive alien species (fauna and flora) in Belgium that form a potential danger for biodiversity, economy and human health. It is some sort of ‘end-of-the-world’ landscape and a metaphor for a world in which man has to protect himself against an environment that he created himself. The indoor garden is part of a route with some of Kris Verdonck’s earlier projections and installations, gathered in a new context.
In the performance END artist Kris Verdonck shows the possible final stages of a human society in ten scenes. Melting glaciers, burning forests, cities under water, ubiquitous screens and cameras spying on us, the uncontrolled availability of weapons of mass destruction, and so on. END starts out from the images the media project onto our retinas all day and every day. The ten scenes are linked by a monologue spoken by a single character: the witness who sees it all happen. While this survivor – like the messenger in Greek tragedy – talks unceasingly, a series of ‘Figures’ appears on stage: machines and people or a combination of the two. They go from one side of the stage to the other, all in the same direction. Are they fleeing something? If so, what?
^ Athens, Acropolis I (ca. 530 BC), Acropolis II (ca. 480 BC), & Acropolis III (after 450 BC)
Man is the measure of all things,
of the existence of the things that are
and the nonexistence of the things that are not.
[Protagoras, quoted in Plato Theaetetus 152A]
The discovery of the Ancient Greek System of Architectural Spacing is a brilliant chapter of Constantinos Doxiadis’ PhD dissertation (originally published in 1937) on the system of polar coordinates used to place buildings in space. Prior to the rational Hippodamian grid (5th century BC), this conception was based on the human viewpoint, taking the entrance to a site as the reference from which all the optical perspectives would start from. As a result, the person is able to visually control all the constructions in a site from a single point. Gaps between buildings are meticulously choreographed and limited to a minimum, the elevation of one building immediately following its neighboring one.
[Ancient] Greeks employed a uniform system in the disposition of buildings in space that was based on principles of human cognition. […] If we have hitherto failed to recognize that the urban layouts of the archaic, classic, and Hellenistic periods were organized on the basis of a precisely calculated system, it is because we are strongly influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by the rectangular system of coordinates (in which every point is established by its position on a plane in relation to two lines intersecting at right angles). This system was completely unknown to the ancient Greeks. Their layouts were not designed on a drawing board; each was developed on a site in an existing landscape, which was not subject to the laws of axial coordinates.
When a man stands in a landscape and looks about him, he sees its various features as part of a system of which he is the center and in which all the points on the plane are determined by their distance from him. If he wishes to establish the position of a tree, for instance, he notes that it is to his left at a distance of about 7 paces and that a second tree is somewhat further to his left at a distance of about 14 paces, or double the distance of the first tree. He does not automatically establish the position of the two trees in relation to abstract axial coordinates; he uses a natural system of coordinates. It was this system, known as the system of polar coordinates, that formed the basis of site planning in ancient Greece.
The following principles were used:
1 -Radii from the vantage point determined the position of three corners of each important building, so that a three-quarter view of each was visible.
2-Generally, all important buildings could be seen in their entirety from the viewpoint, but if this was not possible, one building could be completely hidden by another; it was never partially concealed. […]
4-The position of the buildings was determined not only by the angle of vision but also by their distance from the viewpoint. […]
6-One angle, frequently in the center of the field of vision was left free of buildings and opened directly to the surrounding countryside. This represented the direction to be followed by the person approaching the site: it was the “sacred way”. […]
The examples studied show that this point [of entry] lay where the mathematical axis of the propylon intersects the line of its innermost step (i.e., the final step before one entered the sanctuary) at a height of approximately 5’7’’, the eye level of a man of average height. […] They had no fear of infinity, and their layouts always included a definite route that traversed the entire site and opened to the outside world.
^ Offshore oil and gas drilling concessions on the West African Coast. Adapted from Offshore Magazine, 2011.
Air becomes rarefied in Spanish Canary Islands, opposite the African coast. It is not only the sand particles from the Sahara Desert flying over Spanish territory in form of dust storms (Calima). As many other on-going speculative developments, the construction of a new harbour in Granadilla, Tenerife, has been generating political controversy for several years. Politicians argue that its completion urges for the future development of the island, because the existing harbour has become too small and it is physically impossible to extend. The paradoxical reality proves not only that the harbour is only at 35% of its capacity, but also that the same politicians are even asking the EU for funding its “impossible” extension (Aguilera Klink). How can Brussels cope with both issues at the same time? Another smart trick has been to get rid of environmental opposition before launching the project. The marine prairies (sebadales) existing in the area that were to be destroyed were simply thrown out of the national list of endangered natural species. Even the recent appearance of two specimens of native beetles (forgotten to become unprotected) does not seem to stop the project.
^ Cymodocea Nodosa. New unprotected species.
^ Pimelia Canariensis. (Protected species). Two specimens found at the new harbour site.
Bill Clinton visited the area in July 2005, invited by the ruling politicians who were eager to push their real estate plans. Clinton even proclaimed in his speech that this new harbour in Tenerife would be very important to solve poverty in Africa. It’s not bad for a statement, Bill. I wonder how citizens had not realised before of the huge potential of this harbour. The true is that social aid could well begin by solving the poor quality of “democracy” in Spain. However, the actual problem is that Granadilla harbour could certainly solve the poverty…of investments. Who is actually generating and sustaining poverty in Africa? According to lawyer José Manuel Rivero, in Clinton’s mind, and in that of his accompanying team of high-profile American investors to Canary Islands, was the potential of using AFRICOM (United States Africa Command) as an instrument to promote within Nato and public opinion the fallacy of humanitarian aid, security and stability for the African continent. This would consist of a sort of 21st century Marshall Plan, using the Spanish archipelago as operations-base. However, among the real interests of AFRICOM would be protecting American investments on the West African coast, above all from the thrilling pace of exploitation of African energetic resources by Chinese companies. As if evil China would be faster in taking away what corresponds to the US! A complex entanglement of US military, USAID and the CIA provides an idyllic tool for negotiating economic extractions and concessions in favour of American corporations.
Amongst all the masquerades of today’s innocent tourist resorts, the Canary Islands could become a strategic spot for the infrastructure that such a military apparatus would require for better control over African resources. What seemed another very local issue of political and real estate corruption in Tenerife may unfold the logics of global wars, where speculation trespasses continental borders.
^ Canary islands are part of the emblem of AFRICOM, for their physical belonging to the African continent, while being legally recognized as an ultra-peripheral region of the EU under Spanish sovereignty.