7 Modes of Counterespionage
- Written by: Sarah de Villiers, Amina Kaskar and Sumayya Vally
Submitted as part of the MAS Context Hidden Issue (expected 2016)
“Which side are you on?
Which realm is the legitimate, the real?
What is rendered opaque, and from whom?”
A great deal of Johannesburg’s existence(s) is made up of counter-existences which work despite limitations and what is recognised as the nominal city,- structures formed and designed for survival against economic and spatial deprivation, in the leftovers, slippages and loopholes of the city, which we recognise as the city. Architects unravel the secrets of space through an all seeing plain of plan or section, both not actual perspectives by a person in space, but an all-seeing flattened view, equidistant from a slice in space. In a perspective, there is foreground and background – in section or plan, there is isolation in empirical space.
- “Imagine a spy, crouched above the city’s streets, viewing the goings on through windows and alleys from a parapet up above.
Imagine a fugitive, running through the sewer tunnels in the bowels of the city, navigating through the hidden services that connect the individual properties above.”
“A vertical slice to forego the horizontal sprawls and runnings-on of the city. We feel Johannesburg needs to be unpacked through an archaeological section; from vantage points high above, to those below, to straddle the complexities and tensions that are spoken of, that run the city.” – excerpts from ‘7 Steps of Counterespionage’, MAS Context, 2016.
- Some areas studied in the article include:
1. Deep level mines (-6500 ft)
a. Zama Zamas
“try your luck”
b. disappearing houses/sinking sand
“the dolomitic situation is satanic”
2. Informal recyclers (-20 – +20 ft)
“R1.00 per kilogram of recycled paper”
3. Transport interchanges
4. Underground underground
“the villages under the highway”
5. Backyard / balcony secrets ( +0 – 200 feet)
“invented, undeclared sub-populations”
6. Rituals on man-made mountain (+65 feet)
“an exercise in place-making”
7. Sky locations (+200 feet up)
“breathing gap for shortcomings of the city”