In May, inspired by an email exchange between philosophers Lieven De Cauter and Dieter Lesage, Domus invited readers to send in their ideas for possible ways to connect the European and African continents across the Strait of Gibraltar. The results range in scale—and feasibility—from a simple cablecar to a giant floating Mediterranean city, frequently questioning the troubled history of the relationship between the two continents. In a series of additional commentaries to Lieven and Dieter's selections, followed by entries selected by Geoff Manaugh, Saskia Sassen, and Bruce Sterling. On the occasion of the Project Heracles exhibition at the Gopher Hole, Asif Khan and Pernilla Ohrstedt proposed their own dramatic extension of the London Tube.
In 1931 London underground employee Harry Beck designed the first tube map that ignored geographical realities in favour of topological-relational information. A design which has since allowed commuters around the world—in comfort and with ease—to navigate thousands of kilometres of complex tunnel systems.
Our Project Heracles proposal, The Fnideq branch extension to the Northern line, explores the ideas of topology and the familiar. The premise is to take advantage of a commuter's suspension of disbelief to the point where a tube connection to Africa, so matter-of-fact, familiar and therefore unthreatening, could be possible. On the tube, the markets in Fnideq are no harder to imagine than the high street in Cockfosters, as long as there is a line that takes you there. After all Fnideq is just a few stops beyond Balham, and vice versa.
The Fnideq branch proposal aims to be welcoming in a London sort of way. Whilst an extension sticker is unassuming and anonymous, its overt simplicity masks the freedoms that it actually implies.
From Balham it takes us to Gibraltar continuing under the straits to Ceuta before passing seamlessly beneath the six metre Ceuta-Melilla wall to its final stop Fnideq. As we know a tube line can always be extended. Next stop Lagos? Mind the gap.