Photos by Joep Jacobs and Boudewijn Bollmann
Bureau Pas Pareil
Dash World is an exploded view of a major conflict in Asia, empowered by the use of sand as a geopolitical tool. The installation is an observatory of layers enclosed by silent dredging and manmade islands. As you approach the enlightened landscape, you discover the narrow relation between the vertical and horizontal dimension, key to the situation. While the width regulates the legal territories and their surfaces, the height introduces the legal existence of a territory. Sand is central. As a natural material used for land reclamation, it creates a blurry line between natural and artificial. Artificial islands are made of sand and technology, therefore, they question our understandings of nature as external to humans. Through dredging, giant boats elevate and expand territories to the level of validity.
Artificial islands can not be new territories as it is understood in UNCLOS law of sea, but are part of a long and deeply rooted process of creating a Chinese truth. In 1947, China justified its claim territory in the South China Sea with an eleven-dash line found on an ancient map and, thus, challenged international relations in this region where most marine shipping routes pass through. Dash World creates an atmosphere where different elements subtly communicate with each other—where the vagueness of history confronts the strict rules of contemporary law.
Thanks to: Both ENDS, AMTI Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, Vince Beiser, Drake Long
"Angolan dredging corruption scandal," World Cargo News, January 22, 2020. Link
Ankit Panda, "Are China’s South China Sea Artificial Islands Militarily Significant and Useful?" The Diplomat, January 15, 2020. Link
ArcGIS Online. Link
"Bathymetric Data Viewer," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2020. Link
Clive Schofield and Ian Storey, The South China Sea Dispute: Increasing Stakes and Rising Tensions (Washington, D.C.: Jamestown Foundation, 2011).
"Cold War Island: Kinmen China and Taiwan’s frontline," Sim Chi Yin, July 12, 2016. Link
Derek Watkins, "From Reef to Island in Less Than a Year," New York Times, October 27, 2015. Link
Hannah Beech, "China’s Sea Control Is a Done Deal, ‘Short of War With the U.S.,’" New York Times, September 20, 2018. Link
Harry Kazianis, "China’s 10 Red Lines in the South China Sea," The Diplomat, July 1, 2014. Link
John Gillis, Islands of the Mind: How the Human Imagination Created the Atlantic World (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).
Klaus-John Dodds and Veronica della Dora, Artificial Islands and Islophilia (London: Routledge, 2018).
Leland Smith et al., "Evidence of Environmental Changes Caused by Chinese Island-Building," Scientific Reports 9 (2019): 5295. Link
Marc Mancini, "Man-made Islands Are More Common Than You Think," How Stuff Works, October 11, 2019. Link
MarineTraffic, 2020. Link
Mira Rapp-Hooper, "Before and After: The South China Sea Transformed," Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, February 18, 2015. Link
Niels Hazekamp et al., Dredging in the Dark (Amsterdam: SOMO, 2016). Link
PlanetOS by Intertrust, 2019. Link
"Territorial Claims," The South China Sea. Link
"U.S. South China Sea bill targets Chinese oil, drilling, dredging companies," Offshore Energy, May 27, 2019. Link
Vince Beiser, "Aboard the giant sand-sucking ships that China uses to reshape the world," MIT Technology Review, December 19, 2018. Link
Bureau Pas Pareil (Soline Bredin, BA Man and Communication, 2018 and Lucas Dubois, MA Information Design, 2019) is a space for collective thinking and designing on different subjects of investigations, such as geopolitics, visual identities, behavioural patterns among many others.