Work details
Application Number 0000801705
Author Prescott, Michaela Frances, Australia
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Work title: Loosening the Pacific Stronghold: Subverting and exposing Australia''s geopolitical northern boundary (0000801705)

The ‘Pacific Solution’, implemented as a result of governmental panic following the Tampa incident and the SIEV X tragedy of 2001 caused the excision of approximately 4,600 islands on Australia’s northern periphery from the Australian migration zone. This inversion, or shift of geographic boundaries, converted northern Australia into a buffer. Stemming from a desire to externalise, and distance the issue, and to implicate other nations in the region, such as Indonesia and Nauru, to take responsibility for patrolling, and detaining in exchange for economic aid, the solution caused off-site repression, away from public opinion. A larger and more frequent patrolling of the waters and a thickening of the border to a territory, as opposed to a line, have further complexified the entry of intended migrants to Australia. This brief project seeks to reveal the impacts of the inversion of the boundary, and to offer a subversive strategy to make it safer for vessels to travel between Indonesia and Australia. Challenging the government’s ‘solution’ to its migration ‘problem’ Loosening the Pacific Stronghold negotiates the northern buffer through a series of floating deployments that provide relief through shelter and provisions for those seeking to reach the mainland. Landscape architects and architects have a valuable contribution to make to the status of geopolitical boundaries. Borders are an integral part of the process of global making. So why not design for them? If there are frontier conflicts all around the world, why is it that geopolitical points such as US-Mexico and Israel-Palestine incite so many speculative proposals and our own boundaries incite little response? Is it because of the lack of articulation of both their physical location and what is occurring along them? In failing to represent them in a legible way do we remove the ability for people to engage with them? Some questions: * What can design contribute to such a contentious and important geopolitical point in Australia’s border negotiations? * [and] Can design bring transparency and offer suggestions for the management of Australia’s northern periphery?