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Bunker Mentality

October 17, 2011


I just returned from Europe, having followed up the epic Justseeds Slovenia Install with some travel in Croatia and the UK. During my excursion to Croatia, I stayed on the island of Mali Losinj and was shown around by the amiable Domagoj Buljan.

He and I spent a day on the islet of Ilovik (about eighty permanent residents, no cars) and explored an abandoned Yugoslav army gun emplacement and bunker there. We discussed the wondrous plans that some folks from the area have to create an arts residency program there, squatting the bunker zone. There’s a gorgeous bay, a couple of crumbling houses, and the bunker itself; which you can get a bit of a breathless tour of in this video I made. We were imagining an occupation of the abandoned anti-aircraft gun slots (seen at the beginning of the video),
connected to each other and the bay by the network of cool white tunnels covered in the random graffiti of expatriate Ilovik teenagers returned on vacation from their homes in New Jersey. The nearby island of Susak is covered in stands of agressive bamboo,

which, we hypothesized, could be felled and carted over in a small boat borrowed from Ilovik town, where Domagoj has been working as an olive-press mechanic. Woven together into some sort of wickiup and covered in a quilt of space blankets, with a space at the bottom lined with mosquito netting to permit a breeze, the domes would be simple to build, easy to dismantle at the end of residency period, and glorious to inhabit.


The gun emplacements are surrounded by a scrub of wild olive, strawberry trees, and black aleppo pines that give a sharp and pleasant tang to the air. A free space reclaimed from the fear and brutality of the twentieth century, carved from the structures of dead nationalisms and offered up to people with different priorities. Perhaps something like Signal Fire? A temporary reimagining of a remote space. Beautiful dreams, my friends. Keep your eyes peeled.


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