Project Heracles #7

The Mediterranean Sea represents an ocean of differences for the people who overlook it. For the next installment of Heracles, Carson Chan reads and responds to the postcard entries.

For the guest-curated sets of Project Heracles submissions by Lieven De Cauter and Dieter Lesage, Geoff Manaugh, Saskia Sassen, Bruce Sterling, Asif Khan and Pernilla Ohrstedt, and Elisa Poli please look here. Carson Chan is the next of our guest curators to select his favorite entries out of the hundreds Domus received.

In the minds of those who live on its shores, the Mediterranean Sea has always been a place in and of itself: a water world as familiar as home, yet belongs to nobody in particular. The Mediterranean borders 21 states but, despite the physical proximity of these countries, it is a source of difference and otherness.

In the time when mass tourism was not yet available to get from one coast to the other, travel meant facing a crossing, creating a violent psychological distance that today is rapidly becoming irrelevant. I adopted as the criterion for selecting these postcards a perspective that seeks to break the geopolitical assumptions that appear responsible for the perpetuation of differences, perhaps even suggesting possible solutions. An underground continental passage, an airborne funicular, backed by aircraft, a submarine railway, for example, can suggest new ways of understanding cohesion in this region, because they appear to exist just on this side of reality.

Postcard #38. [above] The Airship + Cable Car strategy to bridge between the Europe and Africa immediately caught my attention for the vaguely retro modes of transportation employed. Zeppelins hearken to a steampunk past, while the aerial lifts, being a mode of transportation that flourished with the rise of tourism in the 1920s, and together they suggest to me a parallel past where such a bridge was once a reality. It projects into the past, what seems unlikely in the future.
Top image: Zhiguo Pan, China. <br/> Above: <i>Eurafrica connection,</i> Giorgio Cattano, Italy.
Top image: Zhiguo Pan, China.
Above: Eurafrica connection, Giorgio Cattano, Italy.
Postcard #66. Like going in a subway, I imagine getting into this underwater train in Africa and emerging in Europe. Nothing takes away the difference of location like a subway. It reminds me of Martin Kippenberger's Metro-Net project, in which he built subway station entrances around the world. From Syros in Greece, to Dawson City in the Canadian tundra, there is an implication of physical connectedness that is mundane, defusing any tension of difference.
<i>Red Sea,</i> Filippo De Dominicis+Ilaria Giannetti+Luca Porgueddu, Italy.
Red Sea, Filippo De Dominicis+Ilaria Giannetti+Luca Porgueddu, Italy.
Postcard #79. This project exemplifies for me the narrowness of the strait. At 40 kilometers, it wouldn't be even close to being the longest bridge or tunnel in the world. In this proposal, we see people walking from one side to the other, the seabed overgrown with grass. It's impressive to have both a visual and physical connection to both continents. By bringing the land closer in such a way, of course makes the straight itself into a river, a creek.
I adopted as the criterion for selecting these postcards a perspective that seeks to break the geopolitical assumptions that appear responsible for the perpetuation of differences, perhaps even suggesting possible solutions.
<i>Lanterna di Mare,</i> Alessandro Loschiavo+Francesco Nava, Italy.
Lanterna di Mare, Alessandro Loschiavo+Francesco Nava, Italy.
Postcard #84. I'm also drawn to the idea of the continents connected only abstractly. As street lamps create strings of light at night defining roads and highways, this project produces a illusion of a bridge, appearing only at night—perhaps as in a dream. The diagrams of people sitting on the buoys looks like this project could aid in the illegal crossing of the straight by swimming across. Like the water stations dotting the desert between Mexico and America that provide water to illegal migrants that would otherwise dehydrate when crossing, these floating lights are beacons of safety for those that wanting to cross the straight despite the law.
<i>The third continent,</i> Sara Angelini+Paride Piccinini, Italy.
The third continent, Sara Angelini+Paride Piccinini, Italy.
Postcard #107. The Third Continent presents itself as a monument to the possibility of a connection. It appears to be a bridge between the continents, though swiveled from the center as if to deny its function. There appears to be no vegetation, no inhabitants, no shade and thus no possibility for human habitation. Standing on one shore and looking towards the other, this monument will look like the opposite coast, unmistakably alien, but closer than expected.
The <i>Afro,</i> front and back of imaginary currency designed by Bjarke Ingels/BIG.
The Afro, front and back of imaginary currency designed by Bjarke Ingels/BIG.
BIG's Afro/Euro. The best bridge is of course cash. Boundaries are breached, distances closed, and relationships made everyday with money. The question is which economy is growing faster. While Spain's economy shrunk by 0.2% last year, Morocco's grew by more than 3%.

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