on site 22: WAR
I am excited to announce my first published work, a two-page article titled "Military Estates: exact edges" in the current issue of on site, a semi-annual publication put out by the Association for Non-Profit Architectural Fieldwork [Alberta]. On site #22 contains some worthy reading on camouflage, border crossings, linear memorials, dark tourism, and more. They also have an online exhibition on war memorials called beyond cenotaphs, currently taking submissions.
In my article I take a look at Camp Zama, Tokyo, which I visited back in March. I had a tour with three Japanese civilians who work in the real estate department of the Army's Installation Management Division. I wasn't allowed to take photographs but one of them took photographs for me. I would point at what I wanted, and he took the shot.
We were looking at the fence edges, which really began in earnest my analysis of that thin space of negotiation, the threshold
between a base and its context.
It was comical though. They were driving me around to point out decorative plastic squirrels perched on the barbed-wire, or a clothes hanger strung through the chain-link. The funniest thing about it is that the Army employs people to work on the 'encroachment team' yet they have no right to actually take down these violations of military space. These minor interventions by the base's neighbors offer a means of resisting the Army's presence. I asked one of my 'encroachment team' experts, at the end, if she thought the city was encroaching on the base, or if it was really the other way around. She said nothing, but the smile said everything.
I finish the article by asking: what happens if when these tacit gardens and over-hanging branches are amplified? The base edge begins to erode in this incipient form of demilitarization.