This conversation is an introduction to the research conducted by Greg Barton for his thesis at CCCP (Critical, Curatorial & Conceptual Practices) at Columbia University. This research is essentially focused on Diego Garcia island situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean, a territory that was never decolonized and remains under British sovereignty. The island hosts a US military basis that was used for its geographic location during the cold war, the first Gulf War, and now the so-called “war on terror.” Similarly to Guantanamo’s Camp Delta, a legal narrative had to be produced in order for the basis to operate and for the island to be evicted from its Mauritian inhabitants—the island remains disputed by Mauritius today. Our conversation also involves a discussion about the notion of territory: in the case of Diego Garcia, the territory can as much be appreciated for its actual geography as for its potentiality to acts as a military facilitator, through ranges of missiles or aircraft for instance. We end the conversation by observing the cartographic work that Greg did in relation to the politics of the island.
Greg Barton is a researcher, curator, and amateur geographer. He holds a MS in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture from Columbia University where he co-organized the symposium “Discerning Fictions” (2013). His work focuses on museology, militarized architecture, and the spatial instruments of globalization. He has worked on projects and exhibitions for and along with a number of artists, architects, activists, and nonprofits, including institutions like the Storefront for Art and Architecture, New Museum, and Centre Georges Pompidou. His writing has appeared in journals such as Volume, 306090, and The State.