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[sub]versive diplomacy

Part 2 Project 2014
Alan Macilwraith
University College Cork, Ireland
Set in the tax-free zone of the now decentralised port of Tangier, Morocco the city and project act as a meeting ground between Europe and Africa. This long contested geographic stronghold had experienced the colonisation of the Portuguese, Spanish and British before its shared control by six European powers in the mid-20th century in its period as International Zone (Interzone). With Europe’s links to the west and North Africa’s links to the emerging Middle East, Tangier is poised once again on the boundaries of global powers. The site through its legal designation and perceived sovereign annex dictates the landscape suitable for the staging of the acts of international diplomacy. Responding to the suspended 40th G8 Summit to be held in Sochi, Russia the project aims to stage the meeting of the now G7 in this renewed Interzone.

As a political proposition I have sought to form the spacial unseen of modern international diplomacy, and to reveal by a critical exploration that beyond what is represented in the media. Using architecture as the device to expose this unseen layer, the project aims to extract the worlds and influences of the diplomatic teams of aids and scriptwriters from the media shadow of the global leaders. Developing from the city’s historical fabric of meeting points of espionage in its cafes, bars and post offices the project explores operations in the domestic / everyday spaces, the real points of global diplomacy, the landscape in which the characteristics of the resultant agent of the city are deployed.

The project explores the potential of furniture pieces to script and influence future scenarios, once cast aside by one composition they once again provide themselves for further iterations. Dispelling assumed hierarchies, the middle scale is eroded as the pieces of furniture begin to take on the physical operations of the global. While the materiality of this landscape may appear transparent, it is in the reflections and layerings of this most theatrical world of the domestic sets of diplomacy that the intent of this project is realised.

Alan Macilwraith


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