Project Heracles #4

In the ongoing series of guest-curated entries from Project Heracles, Bruce Sterling selects his favorites.

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 and Saskia Sassen, Bruce Sterling is the next of our guest curators to select his favorite entries out of the hundreds Domus received.

Chains of derelict boats; reconfigurable floating debris; tightropes; miraculously parted waters; and balloon-zeppelin floating stuff. A lot of agonized political wisecracks that aren't actually ideas for bridges. These were the entries I omitted from my choices because they become instant clichés.

Postcard #152. [top image] I appreciate this deliberate refusal to screech about high technology. This depicts the scene that would evolve if people took less trouble rather than more. It might well be duty-free because there's nobody left with the capacity to organize any duties. A relaxed, earthy "before-and-after-science" scenario where a retired William Shakespeare meets Cervantes on parole.
Top: The Duty Free Souk of Gibraltar. Oliver Wainwright (UK). Above: Airship + Cable Car. If the ocean discard us, we should resort to the sky. Zhiguo Pan (China).
Top: The Duty Free Souk of Gibraltar. Oliver Wainwright (UK). Above: Airship + Cable Car. If the ocean discard us, we should resort to the sky. Zhiguo Pan (China).
Postcard #38. The rambunctious Chinese model of global development gets in a word here. While the Africans languish and the Europeans debate, let eager Chinese engineers have at it! Most of the cargo shipped across this contraption will be made in China anyhow. This scheme beats the Three Gorges Dam by a country mile.
Floating hyperboloid city. Evgeniy Lobanov, Nikita Timoshenko (Russia).
Floating hyperboloid city. Evgeniy Lobanov, Nikita Timoshenko (Russia).
Postcard #62. Russian mega-engineering hasn't gotten its due lately. Europeans of a certain age would get a warm glow of atompunk nostalgia from a Sputnik-scale project of this size. It would leave a great set of picturesque colossal ruins, too. The "theory of ruin value," as the expansively-minded Albert Speer used to say.
It would leave a great set of picturesque colossal ruins, too. The "theory of ruin value," as the expansively-minded Albert Speer used to say.
Circummediterrania 2020. Allegra Morpurgo, Matteo Soldati (Italy).
Circummediterrania 2020. Allegra Morpurgo, Matteo Soldati (Italy).
Postcard #108. Commissioning one bridge is fraught with difficulty, but commissioning entire sets of bridges certainly worked for Dwight Eisenhower and America's interstate highway system. Besides, one bridge can be closed at will, but an entire set makes the serviced area a permanent hostage to its infrastructure. Once this scheme is launched there'd be no retreat possible.
The Bridge as Mirage. Hans Maes (Belgium).
The Bridge as Mirage. Hans Maes (Belgium).
Postcard #135. The high elegance of a fictional bridge which barely takes the trouble to exist. A mirage is a fantasy, but a mirage becomes more interesting when actually does exist, yet is ritually dismissed by people who aren't paying attention. Spain won't lack for sizzling Saharan weather after climate change, so desert mirages are bridging those straits whether anybody knows that or not.

Postcard #6. And, a bonus entry.
BAB Park. Valerio di Mauro (Italy).
BAB Park. Valerio di Mauro (Italy).

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