Saturday, March 04, 2006
The Guantanamobile Project is an attempt to both inform and collect public opinion. We believe it is vitally important to help the American public understand the legal, political and territorial issues surrounding the Guantanamo detentions. But we also feel it is necessary, at this historical moment, to survey, record and archive the national and international response to the administration's actions, the Supreme Court decision, and the continued role the "fortified American toehold" of Guantanamo continues to play in international conflicts. It is our feeling that, in effect, the Guantanamo situation represents the genie unleashed from the bottle. Even if the Bush administration eventually tries to minimize the presence of Guantanamo by rendering detainees elsewhere, the ripple effects of the administration's sweeping claims to extrajudicial authority have already extended across the United States and around the world.
The Guantanamobile Project has three primary components - a website which serves as an information and survey database and networking center; and a mobile "Guantanamobile" that will circulate information, perform field research, and hold nightly projection events; and an documentary about the practice of wartime detentions at Guantanamo Bay.
The Guantanamobile Project / Lisa Lynch & Elena Razlogova
In July and August 2004, The Guantanamobile Project hit the road, taking a shrink-wrapped, tech-laden van into the streets and parking lots of several Southern and Midwestern cities. The van created a mobile, roaming public sphere aimed at engaging reflection and dialogue about U.S. detention practices at Guantanamo. The Project was motivated by its creators’ observation that U.S. citizens seemed largely unconcerned with what was happening on a remote military base beyond the borders of the nation, so it also provided factual and analytical information about the U.S. legal system and the detention center itself. The results of their experiments with this technologically-mediated, D.Y.I. public realm form one thread of the Vectors’ project presented here.
This publication brings together material from the road trip and its interviews, from extensive research, from the film produced for the road trip, and from the website for the larger project, underscoring the mutability and transformative potential of digital documents. Working across multiple platforms – both digital and physical – and drawing from an ever-expanding database of resource materials to create civically-engaged products, the Guantanamobile Project underscores the intermedial quality of 21st-century life. The use of audio and video in the piece published here sets the stage for the user’s deeper engagement with a host of moral, legal, and political topics. It also reminds us that mobility is not equally available to everyone.
Like others pieces in this issue, The Guantanamobile Project also blurs the line between ‘scholarship proper’ and public discourse, encouraging an expansion of the scholarly concerns of legal and cultural studies to a broader audience. Given the circulation possibilities of digital publication and the increasing marginalization of the humanities within the university, it is crucial to understand such public sphere activity as scholarly activity rather than as something scholars might do ‘in addition’ to their research. Such a perspective informs the ongoing push within the academy toward a new type of public humanities that can connect the work of various scholars to issues of public relevance and import.
Vectors Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular
MOBILITY / Issue 2 / Fall 2005
Eyeballing the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay