Project Heracles #3

Continuing the series of guest-curated selections from Project Heracles, Saskia Sassen comments on her favorites among the hundreds that Domus received.

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 is the next of our guest curators to select her favorite entries out of the hundreds Domus received.

I have long thought that the Mediterranean should once again become a space rather than a wall. It once was a central space of interaction and making. Now it is a surveillance space. Most religions of the world are on the Mediterranean, vast numbers of different cultures, economies, societies—a world in a dense space. There is an infinite sadness rising from this sea ocean within which the last ten years alone saw over 10,000 women, men and children drown as they hoped for a better life. This need to go beyond the Mediterranean as wall and surveillance space and recover its connective tissue, then, guided me in selecting these five.

Postcard #7. [top image] Unusually, the visuals relate to the most modest navigators of the Mediterranean –migrants in search of a livelihood. And the complexity is in the water, invisible, beneath the surface. The opposite of the advertising mode—all surface and little depth.
Top: Fernand Braudel (Italy). Above: Geostrategic platform. Seeking for the encounter of problematics. Gabriel Esteban Duque, Juan Miguel Gomez, Maria Isabel González, Medellín (Colombia).
Top: Fernand Braudel (Italy). Above: Geostrategic platform. Seeking for the encounter of problematics. Gabriel Esteban Duque, Juan Miguel Gomez, Maria Isabel González, Medellín (Colombia).
Postcard #17. [above] Geostrategic platform—let a thousand flowers bloom…and constitute the Mediterranean as connective tissue, not a wall.
The shortest distance for wi-fi connection. Christian Chiamulera (Italy).
The shortest distance for wi-fi connection. Christian Chiamulera (Italy).
Postcard #11. "In-Silico is more efficient than In-Vivo." But no, what is great about your project is that it shows how in-silico is not enough to make that bridge: you need the people, the awkward set up for the machines, and you need the edges of the Mediterranean North and South…that is what is what I like here.
There is an infinite sadness rising from this sea ocean within which the last ten years alone saw over 10,000 women, men and children drown as they hoped for a better life.
Building mental bridges. Werner Pfeffer, Linz (Austria).
Building mental bridges. Werner Pfeffer, Linz (Austria).
Postcard #42. [above] Mental bridges combined with the geographic nodes that are so real—Tarifa, Tangiers. And let Natalia Ribas-Mateo's Tangiers narrate it all.

Postcard #45. [below] Can we hack it all?...and then make the bridge.
Gibraltar watch. Demilitarizing the chokepoint. Deborah Natsios & John Young Architects, Cryptome.org (USA).
Gibraltar watch. Demilitarizing the chokepoint. Deborah Natsios & John Young Architects, Cryptome.org (USA).
Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and co-director of the Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University. She has written for the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, and Newsweek International, among others, and contributes regularly to OpenDemocracy.net and Huffington Post . Her newest books include Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages (Princeton University Press, 2008) and A Sociology of Globalization (W.W. Norton, 2007).

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