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Captive Captive Captive CaptiveKeys Keys Keys Keys

a tale of Architecture for fun and profit in the carceral currents of the Dry Tortugas Told by: Paul Henry Stanley in the year 2014 with the chair Martin Gundersen and the co-chair Mark McGlothlin

A Master’s Research Project presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in partial fulfillment for the degree of Master of Architecture

Dedication To my Grandmother, Mary Dice Pettit, whose support and paintings of the mundane made magical guided my hands and conscience throughout my studies here at the University of Florida SoA and GSoA.

Excerpt from her painting journal, RE: painting not represented above, similar to that on the far left. “Night Life in the Dressing Room” (1981) “You are invited to join a party! You are encouraged to think about what happens back stage after midnight, the magic hour of inanimate objects to take on life. A string of pearls, a broken flower pot, a lace cloth set with 4 tea cups for 5 ladies, a light left on in the room beyond, the bent wire on the skirts-- all of these details suggest private fantasies. ... This began while I was attending a workshop on Christian clowning on the campus of Oberlin College. I spent some time in the sewing room where the mannequins were standing by, watching the activity of the day. As I developed the painting, the mannequins drifted into a different room! They found their way in an old house.” 3



To my loving parents, Phil and Lois Stanley, for everything.

To my brother, Brett, for instilling in me such cool taste.

To my chair Prof. Martin Gundersen, for continuously questioning, and reminding me to think with my hands.

To my co-chair Prof. Mark McGlothlin, for embracing the uncanny.

To Prof. Charlie Hailey, for discussing with me “21st-century space”.

To Prof. Martha Kohen, for pushing me to ponder the political.

To Prof. Nancy Clark, for helping me explore the sticky straits of “hydrological urbanisms”.

To Prof. Adeline “Nina” Hofer, for walking into my project with such gusto.

To Prof. Stephen Belton, for speaking with me about so much culture.

To Prof. Guy Peterson, for always using trace paper, comments about the color white and reminding us to plan ahea

To Prof. Perez-Mendez, for reminding me that public life rarely, if ever, leaves the ground.

To all else who share with me serious questions about our penal society, and whose correspondences I value dearly- Glen Santayana, Kevin Baxter, and, most curiously, Renaldo McGirth (DC#U33164), my brother from another mother.

To all of my friends, for putting up with my rantings and ravings, showing your love and support, and reminding me how little we have scratched the surface of our weird world.

To Prof. Bradley Walters, for his poetic feedback about points, lines, and things.

To Gregory C. Green, for guiding me along my first of many dives in the Gulf, and for the photos.

And to those on my final review who shared with me very pointed comments on what worked, and not looking too much into what was too weird- Giovanni Traverso, Jason Jensen, Michael Berk, Tod Williams, and Billie Tsien. Thanks.

This Master’s Research Project, Captive Keys, is, in part, a work of fiction. Inmates, incidents, dialogues, characters, walls, cells, and zones are either products of the author’s imagination or are used ficticiously. Although Truth is an absolute defense against defamation, all written statements here are to be taken as the author’s opinion and not to be construed as an assertion of fact. No malice nor belligerence nor invasion of privacy is intended towards any public figures, and any possible congruence to any people or plans are entirely fictitious. This Master’s Research Project is for entertainment purposes only. If it is the Truth you seek, consult a relevant Public Relations agent or Academician. Any resemblance to actual inmates, incidents, dialogues, characters, walls, cells, and zones, architectural, literary, political, or pragmatic are entirely coincidental.

Contents 00 01 02 03 04 Introduction


The Prison At Large (20th century, mostly)


Carceral Currents (dystopian)


The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas


All Else



“Again, it is asserted that it commands the Gulf; how, I fail to understand. No ship of war of a hostile nation need come within range of our guns. The navigation round here, owing to the hidden reefs, is extremely intricate and dangerous; nor could we, with our three hundred guns, hurt the enemy keeping well outside the reefs. The only use, it seems to me, that is or can be made of the fort, is that which it serves at present—as a prison. But whether it was, in the first place, worth while to erect such a structure, for such a purpose, in such a climate, entailing, also, the necessity of a battalion of soldiers, equally prisoners with those they guard, I leave to wiser heads to determine.”1


Thesis Statement

All of the poetic and pragmatic parallels between the prison and daily life, systems, and institutions have been made. From schools, civic buildings, hospitals and institutions to even museums, traces of the prison inveigh on the landscape. What is left to glean from this quilt of carceral metaphors spare speculation on the prison as a hybridized zone of the ground, water, and air itself? Ecological catastrophes like the Deepwater Horizon blow-out and the ongoing Fukushima-Daichi spent-fuel “spill” illustrate a carceral-atmosphere operating on the scale of the world-ocean. This project begins with a few meditations on the “Prison Island” in a penal-society that values wealth over health. In the far-flung southern stretches of the Florida Straits, between two peninsular accidents of colonization, sits Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. The brown-brick behemoth is circumscribed by a crystal-clear saltwater moat and ring of coral defending the key’s ecological and economic treasures. Swaying, exiled pine bristles dot the sky and, at some distance, resemble so many captive cells in which each bristle and blade is perfectly catalogued and controlled. Migrant birds like the sooty tern and brown noddy rest in and around the 7 keys for perhaps a fortnight; the ghosts of their jailbird-companions like the infamous birdman of Alcatraz wander unaware between tide pools, lost treasures and quarantined quays. At the crux of multiple spatial and climatic currents, the waves here have for direction the prospect of the Florida current, the shores of Cuba and the Gulfstream, the Eastern seaboard, and, ultimately, Florida’s former captors in the Old World.

Fort Jefferson, since 1851, has served to, physically, guard the ground from the ocean but also to, metaphorically, defend “Floridian” regionalism against an invading globalization. Allying aspects of Florida’s economy and ecology, the fort today is a hub for world-class scuba diving and eco-tourism, as a remote mediator of Florida’s hopes and fears fated in the deep sea. Water and land on the fort become crucial characters in this kind of prison-drama one might deem “Locked up Abroad”, yet nowadays the series of keys does little to demystify penality beyond prison walls. In this remote seascape, both the ocean and ground relentlessly remind one of the ways architecture has to both incarcerate and liberate. The Tortuga’s historically multivalent methods of control, from regional defense and a federal “pop-up”-jail to national park today convey a larger spatial chronicle in how we navigate not only institutions and post-millennial prison-zones but ecological zones. Fort Jefferson is still an unfinished project; odd-ended courses of corroding bricks in the outer rampart’s spalled window-casements look like gnarled teeth. The organized post-millennial disappearing mechanism that peoples prisons and that which consolidates control-spaces in everyday sidewalks, atmospheres, and islands share a similar spatial logic; this disappearance, these dreams of deliverance coalesce on Garden Key in the Dry Tortugas. The intent of this project is to write another chapter on Fort Jefferson and the lower gulfstream of America at the outer limits of incarceration, climate, ocean and ground.


01-The Prison At Large The modern all-American prison has become witness to a society in perpetual war across a variety of scales. The space of this war describes a landscape embedded with so many modes of control and surveillance that the space between the prison and modern American life and institutional architecture is not a gulf but a canal. More than in institutions, media, and iconography, a culture of punishment resides increasingly in issues of eco-terrorism, geo-engineering, ecological reserves, and perchance even in the climate and clouds. The filmmaker Werner Herzog says— “I like to direct landscapes just as I like to direct actors and animals. For me, a true landscape is not just a representation of a desert or a forest. It shows an inner state of mind, literally inner landscapes, and it is the human soul that is visible


through the landscapes presented in my films.” What if the prison-island was to sink and create an atoll? Prisons can anchor landscapes but also become landscapes unto themselves. The state prison in Raiford, FL, the only one called such, “a prison”, appears as its own island in the upland forest, yet within the larger context of nearby Starke, the territory begins to seem an archipelago. Prison islands may no longer house exiles but in some cases they house exiled extra state-territories that serve economic or ideological functions. The prison island is a bastion against an oncoming darkness in a sea of solitude. The prison island is a perfect metaphor to tackle the issues of solitary confinement and overcrowding. It is unlikely the architecture of prisons will ever reach the level of auto-critical examination we see in

other contemporary institutions of cataloguing and control like Twitter, for instance. Correctional-Facility Architects may be better employed analyzing the ethos of a target population from its tweets rather than designing tamper-proof fire stair details. We might rather discuss public and private funds vs. public and private spaceplanning in order to clarify prison culture and the architectural ramifications of penality beyond prison walls. We could perhaps learn more by deferring to the legal loopholes of maritime law rather than examining the terrestrial covenants of architecture. We may learn more from seas both extra-state and sovereign that spume with stories about prison islands that don’t simply haunt or shock us but stories that stupefy or humiliate us. Theoretical reverie aside, would it not make architects more powerful political beasts and engaged

citizens to simply be cognizant of the vastness of the prison-military-industrial complex and decode its hidden matrices and indexes of cataloguing and control? The mass-media’s 24-hour news cycle wanes and ebbs with a flux of prison diaries enacted in hunger strikes, immigration camps, detention facilities, corporatized power-grabs, draconian sentencing stops or starts, and an ongoing disproportionality in spaces of cataloguing and control. The ways the American prisonmilitary-industrial complex treats terrorists outside the homeland, for instance, as well as a marginalized, primarily black, populace at home is, inevitably, the way that it might treat, house, and imprison the built environment itself. Architects must find spatial solutions to a hypothetical post-millennial re-structuring of the prison population and how this relates to both the War

The Prison at Large

Figure 01-1_


on Terror as well as the War on/for Climate Change. The modern architecture of the prison-industrial complex, like Smedley Butler’s military-industrial complex2 is a racket, and design has a role in perpetuating these systems. At a time when 17 out of 1,000 adult Americans are caught up behind bars and there is a shortage of space on the order of 200,000 cells3 , it is irresponsible, cowardly, and un-professional to ignore these problems of place and punishment. Architects and designers must become humble under this overwhelming deluge, displacement, and lack of relevant imagery in spaces of cataloguing and control. Where are these crucial renderings of the more nuanced effects of the prison system on the scale of the landscape or the sea? Before discussing the post-millennial prisonlandscape of cataloguing and control, it’s important to

discuss historical penal- precedents that have preoccupied western civilizations concerning judgment, hell, justice, and the state. More particularly, following Marguerite Yourcenar’s study of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, we find in Italian imaginations these darker hallucinatory impressions of inequity amidst the Enlightenment. Piranesi’s imaginary prisons exemplify most lucidly these phenomena of a pre-revolution aestheticized critique of penal society. They occupy a time of waning religious fervor, and serve as a secular culmination of Dantean concepts that impregnate even Michelangelo’s Last Judgment. “As Aldous Huxley has said, concerning why Piranesi’s “Carceri” attracted a modern public as they do, “because this masterpiece of architectural counterpoint prefigures certain conceptions of abstract art but

above all because this world, factitious and yet grimly real, claustrophobic and yet megalomaniacal, cannot fail to remind us of the one in which modern humanity imprisons itself deeper every day, and whose mortal dangers we are beginning to recognize.4” The seeds of the current prison crisis were sown after the dust settled from World War II and the American dollar gained global status after the Bretton Woods Conference. Later, the Red Scare incurred Nationalistic fervor and paranoia only matched by today. Yet, during the post- World War II years, though, there are many missing links and odd ends in the public imagination of prisoners, particularly German prisoners of war: the oft-overlooked horrendous treatment and preventable death of some 1.7-3 million “Disarmed Enemy Forces”5 laid the

foundations for America’s double-standard approach to the art of incarceration at home versus abroad. It is difficult to imagine the immense ignorance of mainstream mediated imagery of the German Economic Miracle and the Marshall plan that belies the facts of atrocious American camps along the Rhine, salt in the wounds of Dresden, cultural culling in the Sudetenland, and the long deadly road home for the defeated. However horrific, these are crucial carceral lessons in the inseparability of modern post-millennial prisons from a century of war. A lingering communist-fear and the knowledge that the allies, during WWII, had only beaten one totalitarian regime to be brought on by another, perhaps stoked tangential architectural developments that materialized in the 1964 World’s Fair. The American Home desired to be a sort of inside-out prison; finally, the contempo-

The Prison at Large 17

rary suburban home seemed “self-sufficient”, a bastion of both remediation and control. As Beatriz Colomina critically remarks, “the ever-increasing dematerialization of the house and the displacement of its traditional functions by new technologies of information is exactly matched by an increasing re-materialization at its borders and the emergence of ever more enclosing security systems”. This trend of the “domesticated prison”, where the cell-bars merge with either the living room T.V. or the virtual-reality interfaces of the home office, is perhaps echoed in the current trends of smart-homes, cloud-based software, and the decline of net neutrality. A discussion of the prison as a landscape on the urban scale in poor neighborhoods across America would merit another thesis entirely.” Within post-industrial landscapes like Highland Park Detroit, the “green

ghetto”; “unbuilding” has surpassed building as the major architectural activity.6 The clearing of parcels to create real-estate development products occurs often after only 40 years, the average life of a durable single-family home’s roof. The prison, through its parallel density to suburbia, become the instigator of a new public institution questioning a paradox of Floridian lifestyles: the desire for conformity at the cost of radically altering the land to create an artificial, but more stable image of Florida.7 “As in any camp or special zone, in this case used to detain or store the urban poor, the reductive organization created a secure position not only for those in power, who found the singular control points reassuring as a means of containing a population more subject to poverty. Zygmunt Bauman quotes Loic Wacquant’s term

“prisonization” in his description of such secure environ- tion and ignorance. Yet, the same paradigms of carments—he calls them sites of “human waste disposal.8 ceral stereotypes and prejudices in mass-media exist whether deemed Public Relations or “propaganda”. “The prison might become a diagram of a “short urbanism” that is an independent segment of a larger “TV shows like “Locked-Up”, “Scared Straight”, and “Priswhole able to be removed and inserted in infinite ar- on Break” tend to create distorted visions of life behind rangements. Deliberate compartmentalization, both bars that do little to deter youths from ending up in jail within itself and its relationship to the outside. A col- and more to do with lyricizing delinquency. The masslection of urbanisms, disurbanisms, suburbanisms, media shows little of the economics behind prisons, the and ex-urbanisms that no longer directly relate to the tremendous profit-shares, the below-minimum-wage lapublic city as one in a collection of civic institutions, bor programs… the capital that goes into prisons has litalong with hospitals, asylums, libraries, museums, etc.”9 tle to do with efficiency or the products of the work itself but now more to do with the process of work, what Fou Today, the emergence of so-called “so- cault calls the “physics of power” within docile bodies.”10 cial media” and new information economies signals Bentham’s panopticon may seem completely the ostensible triumph of knowledge over supersti-

The Prison at Large

Figure 01-2_


outmoded in the age of “Trapwire” on every street corner, the NSA, extrajudicial extraditions, and rampant domestic surveillance. The term “panspectron” has been proposed. Instead of positioning some human bodies around a central sensor, a multiplicity of sensors is deployed around all bodies: its antenna farms, spy satellites, and cable-traffic intercepts feed into its computers all the information that can be gathered.11 Echoing a national, deep-seated obsession with frightful spatial networks, the term “Disposition Matrix” has been employed by the reigning Executive Branch of the United States to designate a new blueprint for capturing or killing terrorists.12 Neither geography nor nationality exclude one from the Disposition Matrix; its versatile, adaptable, omniscient tentacles can be likened to the allegorical coldwar “soviet octopus”, whose image, incidentally, is rein-

terpreted in the National Reconnaissance Office’s latest Future Imagery Architecture-purposed satellite, the NROL-39. The intent of this project is not to simply express political agitation, but to reflect on an architectural tactics of resistance in an ocean of compliance that have both poetic and professional integrity. The peninsula of America increasingly extends its tentacles of punishment into the built landscape, beyond geometry and geography, yet always the image of the island prison returns. “Modern capital is almost no longer at all embodied in Fordist mass production, or Keynesian supply-and-demand equations. It has shifted to a military style economy (the extension of platoon-style hierarchies into the economy, the ongoing interweaving of domestic and military institutions) in which the goal is the mobiliza-

tion of forces—productive, consumptive, and structural, and the continued acceleration of progress. The Keynesian shibboleth of wage-driven consumption, organized around the macroeconomic concept of equilibrium and promoting equality between wage increases and marginal labor productivity, has shifted to a scenario in which productivity is increasingly divorced from labor.” 13 “The prison doesn’t just affect a zone’s economy, but sometimes shrinks the domain of public society itself. We must also look towards such instances as the disenfranchisement of former prisoners who have been stripped of voting rights—thirty-one percent of adult Black men in Florida cannot vote—and in so doing see how the borders of the prison bleed out into larger social space and the bodies of “convicts”

continue their incarceration in the civic spheres.”14 “We watch from within and across a massive mediascape in which films, television dramas, the Internet, video games, and news commentary all lay out scenarios and events from which we try our punishment and theorize its correlates of judgment, blame, pain, and accountability. We navigate institutions designed increasingly and commonly through penal architecture, now mundane security features of everyday life—gated buildings and communities and a wide array of new surveillance techniques at schools and work, as well as in our leisure and travel. Daily the correlates of punishment and social control materialize around us—but often in a manner that obscures the nature of this practice as anything more than a distant look or fleeting glance.” 15

The Prison at Large 21

Emerging technocratic forms of hypermedia extend into our everyday space, expanding the framework of penal authorities and agencies to continue paradigms of pain. Global capital and increasingly vague sovereignties around the world contribute to this atmosphere of incarceration that imprints the weight of its chains on the urban landscape. Beyond schadenfreude, between glimpses of pain and glory on island-based tele-reality competition shows, beyond complex mechanisms of empathy and the human experience, a dark tourism emerges in the post-millenial conception of the prison. It’s a conception that unites the macabre and the mundane. “This notion of a “dark tourism” has historical antecedents in the form of pilgrimages and visits to battle sites and graveyards. However, now such sites are mapped into

larger institutional forces created and mapped by international development, consumption, and mass media.16 “Like Disneyland, the Jail seeks to establish an alternate reality within its walls, a reality with its own code of ethics and conduct, and a reality that can be serviced by secondary and tertiary circulation routes known only to the keepers. Unlike the Magic Kingdom, however, which depends on the, cartoonishly blue skies of Anaheim and Orlando to transport its visitors out of the everyday, the Jail blocks out the sky entirely. With the exception of a few filthy white-glass skylights high over cellblock catwalks, there are no windows into the inmate-occupied portions of the Central Jail. Instead, caged fluorescent tubes burn everywhere night and day, turning all faces – all races—a sickly purple-blue.”17 Like the Magic Kingdom, the prison

relies on RFID sensors that track not only access and ease but also perhaps advertising and economics. The MyMagic+ encodes credit-card information, park privileges, and personal details that are geared towards maximizing both the size and customizability of Disney’s bottom line. But Disney has decided that MyMagic+ is essential. The company must aggressively weave new technology into its parks — without damaging the sense of nostalgia on which the experience depends — or risk becoming irrelevant to future generations, Mr. Staggs said.”18 Prisons have a rich legacy of being re-purposed into different cultural institutions. Eastern State Penitentiary, for instance, has changed ownership but is still the subject of a longing public gaze toward the ideas of private reform and rehabilitation vs. public

spectacle and punishment. It has served as the model for 300+ prisons worldwide. Eastern was the architectural centerpiece for how the United States as an emergent democracy would punish and had served as a massive force in the history of prisons worldwide. Incarceration is up and education is down, across the board, and the design criteria of both schools and prisons are often interchangeable. States still spend more of their general-fund dollars on education than on incarceration, but the percentage of dollars being used for incarceration is increasing, while the percentage for education is decreasing. In 33 of 50 states, corrections-related costs made up a larger proportion of the general fund than in the previous fiscal year, while spending on K-12 and higher education decreased.19 In 2009, President Judge Mark Ciavarella and Senior

The Prison at Large

Figure 01-3_

Judge Michael Conahan were found to be taking bribes totaling 2.6 million dollars for their part in sending juvenile offenders to Western Pennsylvania Detention Facilities . The Corrections Corportation Bill of America was responsible for lobbying behind Arizona’s controversial Senate Bill 1070, ensuring a steady stream of inmates and profits into their prison system.20 Public-Private partnerships can be a huge boon to progress, streamlining economies and the built environment, but when it comes to prisons and architecture, they are corrupt and flawed by design. At last, another awful story, from Florida, that will perhaps contextualize the dire straits of Florida’s dalliances with the prison-military-industrial complex, and foreshadow the eventual eco-prison proposed herein. “The Dozier site contains a cemetery with 31 metal


crosses, but a team from USF has identified at least 19 additional grave shafts in wooded areas outside the marked cemetery. Dozier school records show 84 boys died at the institution between 1911 and 1973. One remembered a kid who tried to run away and died from exposure while hiding under a cottage. Another had a story about a boy who was taken to the White House and never seen again. Most of the men recalled being beaten by two staffers: R.W. Hatton and the one-armed man, Troy Tidwell. At least three men described being sexually abused by other guards in an underground room they called the rape room. And there was something else. Newspapers had published a photograph of a small cemetery. Thirty-one white crosses. No names.”20

02-Carceral Currents

Carceral Currents

No One Can Stop The Rain (A poem by Assata Shakur)


Watch, the grass is growing. Watch, but don’t make it obvious. Let your eyes roam casually, but watch! In any prison yard, you can see it growing. In the cracks, in the crevices, between the steel and concrete, out of the dead gray dust, the bravest blades of grass shoot up, bold and full of life. Watch. The grass is growing. It is growing through the cracks. The guards say grass is against the Law. Grass is contraband in prison. The guards say that the grass is insolent. It is uppity grass, radical grass, militant grass, terrorist grass, they call it weeds. Nasty weeds, nigga weeds, dirty, spic, savage indian, wetback, pinko, comie weeds – subversive! And so the guards try to wipe out the grass. They yank it from its roots. They poison it with drugs. They maul it, they rake it. Blades of grass have been found hanging in cells, covered with bruises – “apparent suicides”. The guards say that the GRASS IS UNAUTHORIZED DO NOT LET THE GRASS GROW. You can spy on the grass. You can lock up the grass. You can mow it down, temporarily. But you will never keep it from growing. Watch, the grass is beautiful. The guards try to mow it down, but it keeps on growing. The grass grows into a poem. The grass grows into a song. The grass paints itself across the canvas of life. And the picture is clear and the lyrics are true, and the haunting voices sing so sweet and strong that the people hear the grass from far away. And the people start to dance, and the people start to sing, and the song is freedom. Watch, the grass is growing.

A premise of this project is that the Gulf of Mexico, in effect, is now a kind of prison. Its waters have been contaminated, catalogued, controlled, and covered up by the BP-Deepwater Horizon blowout and subsequent carpet-bombing of dispersants. The general public may not understand, but the waters of the Gulf have a perfect memory, and, as with Prince William Sound and the Exon-Valdez spill, the alleged accident will bring turbid turmoil, vast and subtle, for decades to come . At the very least it is a crude transfer of power, from that of seasonal currents to daily, unremitting suppression of the crude oil by dispersants. The goal of this project and eco-prison in the Dry Tortugas is to highlight a vulnerable Florida, one whose main economic outputs, tourism and agriculture, are inextricably linked to the delicacy of her surrounding waters. The Gulf of

Mexico in its post-Deepwater-Horizon condition is its own kind of penitentiary and the eventual eco-prison proposed here is to be but one of her many watchtowers. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was not entirely an evil, heinous accident equal to premeditated murder; it was an act tantamount to a trillion tiny manslaughters. Yet, like a complex, celebrity-styled murder mystery, the trial against BP and the incremental impact on the Gulf of Mexico may only start to reveal itself at present, in 2014, 4 years after the initial crime. It took 4 years for the adult herring stock to become completely depleted in Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill.21 Of the impact now, we understand very little, and of the wretchedly respiratory rancor known as Corexit 9500, we understand further little. It’s important for architects to understand

Carceral Currents

Figure 02-1_


that there seems to be a serious disconnect between political environmental movements and the science of ecology. There is plenty of overlap, to be sure, but what remains belongs largely to the realm of public relations instead of public knowledge. The eco-prison of the Dry Tortugas proposed here A prison island can become a national park in the case of Alcatraz, but what if a national park like the Dry Tortugas was to be turned again, into a prison? In the remote coral cays of the Tortugas, we see a convergence of the complex social attractors of “dark tourism” and how it might intermingle with post-millennial mixed-use disjunctures, extra-state dispositions, and zones of preservation/ cataloguing and control. They may intermingle via what Foucault called the clinical gaze, or perhaps penal gaze, turned towards not just the sky and clouds, but the incar-

cerated, corexit-ridden, benthic zone of the Gulf of Mexico Paul Virilio writes about “grey ecologies”, about technocratic forms of control that surpass space and leverage lessons from pollution instead of “being green”. He also writes about an ongoing westernized aspiration towards happiness tinged with terror in not only a kind of “pollution of proportions” in the environment but also in time and “geophysical dimensions and proportions that are unextendable—“proportions every bit as vital as water or the air we breathe for those who already fear the great Locking Up of the seventeenth century (at the origins of the Revolution of the Enlightenment, according to Michel Foucault) might be reproduced – only, this time, not on the scale of the asylums or prisons of the Ancien Ré-

gime, but on a scale encompassing the entire world.” 22 ployed 5,331 drones, which is twice the number of manned airplanes. Both architects and unmanned aerial vehicle“While the prison-military-industrial complex shifts from operators/manufacturers/personnel are concerned with a taxpaying public to a shareholding public, its interior technological precision. We employ preconceptions, life remains a private and autonomous repository where suppositions, and definitions with chillingly “serious” ‘various groups and separatism’s meet and briefly coex- and clinical, legalistic tones that often cloak aggressive, ist.’ Through its scale and promise of expansion, global radical ideas about how we construct buildings and thus, capitalism has achieved a kind of terrifying beauty in our lives. We both use aerial imagery to understand the which the architecture of the prison and its current prog- scale of our world and frequently make bold proposiress towards anonymity is problematized by the combi- tions about ways to cut, fill, raze, and scorch the terrain. nation of the prison system and the space program.”23 It’s relevant, then, to the study of the post-millennial prison-industrial complex, to bring up the case of Abdulrah The role of Architecture in Prison Design, as man al-Awlaki, the first American victim of a U.A.V. strike with the space program, is surprisingly similar to the ad- . Abdulrahman was a 16 year old boy, an American-born vent and usage of unmanned aerial vehicles, colloquially citizen who had been living in Yemen since he was 7. He called “drones”. As of 2008, the American military em- knew that his father, Anwar al-Awlaki was on the Ameri-

Carceral Currents 29

can hit-list for his alleged involvement with Al-Qaeda. He ran away from his home near Sana’a in the early morning of September 4th, 2011 to try and find him. His quest led him to the rugged Southern mountains of Shabwah Province, where he stayed with cousins. On October 14th, 2011, at a family bar-be-cue on a dusty road in an undisclosed city, moonlight glistened over the shiny laserguided hellfire missiles that rained down from an MQ-9 Reaper above and assassinated Abdulrahman, 2 cousins and 6 others, including one alleged Al-Qaeda member. On top of what kind of wall do the scuppers collect the first rains and wash away the blood-stained earth? We observe across a remote, night-visioning aerial gaze not only the murders but perhaps the aero-spatial laws, decrees, and planning restrictions that may one day inform decision making processes in the post-millennial prison.

It can be argued that Abdulrahman was collateral damage, an unfortunate effect of an ongoing Struggle for Democracy. It can just as well be argued that Abdulrahman’s death was a deliberate one, one that perhaps sets a precedent for carceral colonies if one is labeled a terrorist, threat to national security, or has an “intelligence signature” of suspicious travel or behavior. This inevitably raises spatial ambiguities; how distant are the ancient mud-brick buildings of Yemen from the tropical cays and arcades of Fort Jefferson? The spatio-carceral politics of terror know no geographic or nationalistic bounds. The meridian of the Atlantic becomes a mirror, and the imprisonment of the Middle East is accessible from leather chairs in a digitized air force squadron. But could this relationship again be mirrored one day? The scales that weigh the lives of citizens abroad who may or may not

have committed crimes have been conditioned to weigh more then the lives of citizens in the homeland. What if the complicated sentencing and costly incarceration behind locking someone up in a super-max prison can be averted by just “engaging” not only a threat to national security but a common criminal in the dead of night? The gulf between the American post-millennial prison and the remote sandy conquests of America’s war for democracy and “Civil Society” abroad continue to narrow. Once the tactical response to improvised explosive devices in Iraq, Mine Resistant Armored Patrol Vehicles are starting to crop up disproportionally in lowcrime, ex-urban territories not accustomed to such kinds of crowd control. The hulking vehicles, built for about $500,000 each at the height of the war, are among the biggest pieces of equipment that the Defense Depart-

Figure 02-2_ Image by Peter Zeglis

ment is giving to law enforcement agencies under a national military surplus program. For police and sheriff’s departments, which have scooped up 165 of the mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPS, since they became available this summer, the price and the ability to deliver “shock and awe” while serving warrants or dealing with hostage standoffs was just too good to pass up.24 The “black sites” make a radical break from the spatial conventions of international incarceration. They signal at once both military surplus and scarcity—in the former, an additive process of proliferating military equipment, and in the latter, a consolidation of zones into vacant yet powerful landscapes. The black-sites, spread across remote destinations in Kosovo, Thailand, Poland, Algeria, and Egypt, are perhaps as spatially “slippery” as the laws that oversee them; Qualifica-

Carceral Currents 31

tions and Requests for Information. America’s treatment of POWs has recently hit new lows, but US misadventures distract from a larger shift: multi-national detention has become a Tower of Babel in which consortia of nations hold similarly diversified prisoner populations, with little or no communication possible between keepers and kept, nor indeed among either group.25 Post-Millennial tactics of the Disposition Matrix and architectural tactics of mapping and site-planning in suspicious spaces in far-flung desert countries go hand in hand. The lack of imagery surrounding Disposition Matrices and their use is most disturbing. Architecture is about changing definitions; and it has a spatial function to play in the uniquely contemporary way we construct bellicose spaces as well as images of control for America’s enemies abroad and in the homeland.

This precedent of killing U.S. citizens abroad without trial or due process creates many unique, unprecedented spatial and legal implications that could even pre-empt the prison and blur the line between environmental warfare and “state-backed terrorism”. Due process no longer guarantees judicial process. In 2012, Gerhard Becker, an architect charged with the death of a firefighter for allegedly installing a faulty gas fireplace that started a lethal blaze in his home has pleaded not guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter.26 Could architects be imprisoned more often, for things beyond civil disputes, copyright issues, and the code violations? Gerhard Becker’s architectural signature, the contextually divorced, elegant “fire trough” cost him more than a home; it has cost him perhaps his design sensibilities and even conscience. Could there be

a kind of anti-“hacking” building system or envelope? Is there an industry for buildings that are designed for increasingly furtive, paranoiac protection strategies? Along the shallow boggy banks of the river Lea in North East London on the site of the 2012 Olympics, a freelance photographer named Mike Wells is taking photos of what he finds are unsafe working conditions. By highlighting some uncomfortable untruths in the 28 billion pound architectural playground, he becomes an enemy of the development authorities. He is intervened by security personnel and is wrested to the ground. Carted off to Stoke Newington police station, Scotland Yard would eventually throw a laundry list of bizarre charges at him, including the Orwellian-sounding offence of “publishing events about the Olympics” and claiming falsely that he was breaking an injunction by filming.

After spending 8 days behind bars, he was dismissed of all charges pending an embarrassing investigation of toxic waste on the Olympics site.27 How does this action inform the future design of our penal society? How can we ensure that architecture remains activated and engaged by the programs and personalities of resistance rather than compliance? The architecture of American prisons can be seen as redefining the language of incarceration; it’s not only about detention and keeping people locked up, but about leaving behind semi-porous networks that imprint on society outside the bars. Calling a prison a detention facility or internment and resettlement camp flies in the face of the way architecture seeks greater knowledge and truth behind structures. It’s about how shameless mass-media word-play and propagandis-

“Look, words are like the air: they belong to everybody. Words are not the problem; it’s the tone, the context, where those words are aimed, and in whose company they are uttered. Of course murderers and victims use the same words, but I never read the words utopia, or beauty, or tenderness in police descriptions. Do you know that the Argentinean dictatorship burnt The Little Prince ? And I think they were right to do so, not because I do not love The Little Prince , but because the book is so full of tenderness that it would harm any dictatorship.”- Juan Gelman

Carceral Currents 33

tic redefinitions can reinforce the very violence and terrorism that democracies are trying to eradicate. Marguerite Feitlowitz is someone who lived through the terror of the military junta in Argentina and puts it best in explaining this murky linguistic territory. She says, “The repression lives on in such aberrations of the language, in the scars it left on the language. When a people’s very words have been wounded, the society cannot fully recover until the language has been healed. Words mark the paths of our experiences, separate what we can name from ineffable terror and chaos. At once public and intimate, language is a boundary between our vulnerable interior self and our outer walls.” Architecture is not just an art that deals with representation, and ways to re-produce beauty that exists; it is an art that encourages and disseminates narratives

Figure 02-3_ Image “New Colony” by Peter Zeglis

about how we ought to live our lives. It is a profession with immense responsibility that seems continuously in flux between “Renaissance” and “Crisis”. Incarceration, like architecture is a subject that is also constantly in flux between different definitions. How often have we heard about the nuances in defining “enhanced interrogation tactics”? Defining the prison-industrial complex’s goals and its relationship to society and architecture is like defining the term “terror”. Yet, one of the most pervasive contemporary and perhaps dangerous effects of language is the architectural effects of judicial languages such as prescripts, decrees, and orders used to correctional effect. Therefore, the prison on Garden Key in the Dry Tortugas proposed in this project is to be called the eco-prison, for all of the poetic and pragmatic parallels between the prison and society have been made, and the shackles may now be the air and water, the deep blue sea.

“It didn’t look like a prison. It looked more like a fishtank with no water.” -Hushpuppy, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

figure 03-1_

03-The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas

figure 03-2__ Ft. Jefferson, Officers Quarters, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd For thirty months I have been a soldier of the garrison of Fort Jefferson. It is the fortress that stands on Garden Key, and frowns over the waste of waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Within these small nine acres are congregated about five hundred souls, fairly anchored out at sea, and almost out of the world, we feel sometimes. Of our life here, and of the little world of our own that we inhabit, let me send tidings to the great world beyond!


Excerpt from “Thirty Months at the Dry Tortugas� The Galaxy Miscellany, June, 1869, pp 282-288.

figure 03-3_ old swiss lighthouse-keepers house Why do shipwrecks and these various underwa- rippling coral specters on the seafloor. The vast visibilter time-capsules continuously capture our imaginations? ity of these waters at night gives one the sensation of How can we imagine post-millennial architectural systems floating over a fluorescent garden. The evening wind that that operate in the profane institutions of the prison sighs perhaps through the tall coconut palms... Fort Jefbut also in sensitive ecological zones such as the Dry Tor- ferson, like other classic prisons such as Eastern State tugas? There is no more relevant zone in Florida within Penitentiary, is most effective in the “imposition” of its which one can wax prison poetics but also postulate about architectural image. It sits on the horizon like some kind politics but that of Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas . of ancient accident, a “brick folly” at sea, as it was once After dusk, the waters of the middle grounds known. Although Fort Jefferson did house Union desertjust above Garden Key are alive with swarms of cuttle- ers during the civil war and serve as an outpost, it was fish, scintillating in neon flurries and chatting like little never armed to capacity and never required defenduniverses in fits of wonder. In this shallow atoll of keys, ing. The proposed eco-prison here will follow a similar 70 miles from civilization, the land still seems prehis- logic; it will be another “folly at sea”, an exclamation toric. Acres of white sand are dimly lit in the moonlight point at the end of America’s excessive coastal arcana. and host playful shadows through the migrant exiled buttonwood trees that continue still their dance amidst

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas 37

view of inner garden key harbor,bush key, and long key, existing. Little white islands crowned with mangrove and cedars now appear surrounding, ring-like, the central harbor. Between these islets a belt of shoals or reef, whereon the surf breaks violently, presents at three different points openings to the narrow, winding channels which lead to the impregnable structure within. Fort Jefferson is an imposing structure. As we see it from the harbor two long faces or “curtains” are visible, each pierced and arranged, including the huge bastions, for one hundred and thirty-two heavy guns—the whole work mounting near five hundred. The walls rise from the very sea, and are only protected from it by a low wall which encloses a moat sixty feet in width. A heavy cornice or castellated battlement gives a noble and picturesque feature; and at each bastion the round towers furnish fine stairways of granite, and are surmounted with pointed roofs, which, with the modern traverse magazines on the top of the parapet, some sixty feet from the base, give more the effect of the ancient castle than is seen in other works of this country. The sallyport is the only entrance; and here is a drawbridge and heavy gates, over which are cells where the conspirators are incarcerated. Excerpt from “Thirty Months at the Dry Tortugas” The Galaxy Miscellany, June, 1869, pp 282-288.

figure 03-4__ Panorama of the Windjammer Wreck

03-1 Hybridized “Shipwreck Drawings�

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas

How many vessels wrecked or stranded in the dry tortugas? anywhere from 200-400. consult addenda for details in the shipwreck log



The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas- Hybridized “Shipwreck Drawings”


The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas- Hybridized “Shipwreck Drawings”


The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas- Hybridized “Shipwreck Drawings”


The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas- Hybridized “Shipwreck Drawings”


The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas- Hybridized “Shipwreck Drawings”

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas 51

Site Map of the Dry Tortugas atoll including her 7 keys- The Declination between true north and magnetic north is noted by a compass and a furl in the physical map itself. various captain’s calipers have measured, most often, the distance between loggerhead key and garden key, between, respectively ecological exploration and incarceration.

view of garden key and ft. jefferson with possible eco-prison on the old south coaling docks by the south beach ruins__ It was decided that this area was too crowded. north coaling docks more suitable for the prison.


The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas- Hybridized “Shipwreck Drawings” 55

the most famous shipwreck- that of nuestra senora de atocha, sunk off the s.e. shoals, south of rebecca shoals, or possibly in the quicksands near the marquesas. see shipwreck log in the addenda “All else” for further information and unfound treasures

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas

03-2 Marking the horizon with the Eco-Prison


AERIAL 01- POSSIBLE PATHS OF THE PRISONBARGE IN AND AROUND THE INNER HARBORS SURROUNDING GARDEN KEY. must avoid nurse-shark breeding ground towards the far right, many other unnaviguable areas. perhaps a catamaran or trimaran is necessary to maintain a low draft




AERIAL 03- POSSIBLE PATHS OF THE PRISONBARGE AND ITS SEMBLANCE AS SEEN FROM LOGGERHEAD KEY LIGHT, 3 MILES WEST OF GARDEN KEY. possible st. elmo’s fire, rare during the day and other bizarre phenomena in the waters.








SURFACE/ SUBMERGED 01THE PRISON-BARGE AND POSSIBLE PATHS “IN DAZZLE” DURING THE MORNING. excellent visibility underwater, 100’ plus- what keeps the ecotourists and some of the inmate-guests coming back again and again.


SURFACE/ SUBMERGED 02THE PRISON-BARGE AND POSSIBLE PATHS guided by wires and masts between loggerhead and garden key. Non-Native corals below- shame.


SURFACE/ SUBMERGED 03THE PRISON-BARGE AND POSSIBLE PATHS at night. the plants on her perimeter communicate with the bioluminescence below the surface


SUBMERGED 01- THE PRISON-BARGE on stilts during the morning. this idea was not pursued. a multi-hulled prison barge was eventually sought for her stability.


SUBMERGED 02- THE PRISON-BARGE on stilts during the afternoon. all the fish are resting. the prisoners, or “inmate-guests” too take a siesta now.


SUBMERGED 03- THE PRISON-BARGE’s abandoned stilts intermingle with christmas-tree worms, loggerheads, and cuttlefish, most exuberant at night. inmate-guest fat willoughby, discussed later, takes a night-dive in the background.


The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas- Projected Diptychs

03-3 Projected Diptych of the eco-prison


materials- oil on canvas, plexiglass, sticky back, projected images, projected videos of previously viewed shipwreck drawings, old public-domain videos of 20,000 leagues under the sea,other moliere films


possible prison 01

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas

03-4 The Eco-Prison on Garden Key


figure 03-5_ North Coaling docks

figure 03-6_ North Coaling docks

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas 89



The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas


The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas

possible prison 03. UNDER half terrestrial law, MOSTLY maritime law-LIKE LIFE.

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas

Hull considerations for the prison-barge. all nixed. end result is a trimaran for low draft


eco-prison site-plan and relevant sounding depths

Journey of the prison-barge after the play, “Captive Keys”, and subsequent mutineering


The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas

The Captain

The eco-prison has no warden; its daily functioning and award-winning annual parties rely on the organizational skills and machinations of one person, hereto known as the captain. He knows not whether he himself is a prisoner, or whether his hermetic existence on Garden Key is a kind of voluntary retirement. He believes the destination of the prison-barge doesn’t matter; it will take the inmates exactly where they need to be. Still, the captain meticulously plans details of the journey into Tortugas Harbor with the administrative aid of small plants and animals, as well as the watchtower-keeper, of course. The captain, also known as inmate-guest 0191952 and his aviary amigo, the Piratic Flycatcher, are accommodated for outside the Northeastern walls of the Fort at the base of the watchtower. Here a tall dune of sand has infiltrated the moat and counterscarp. The persistently shifting sands are one of the few zones on Garden Key that don’t belong to the sea turtles or are part of an aviary-nesting zone. The captive captain’s cell winters near North Beach in the shadow of the dunes and lulls along the ruins of the former North coaling docks during the summer. He remembers little of his former life on the mainland, perhaps in the Panhandle. The flycatcher swoops in and accuses him of treachery, complaining about his corruption, his secretive plans to capsize the prison barge and bilk money from the health-insurance-based-maritime court back in Key West. The captain too is a little piratical; he too is untranslatable. The flycatcher sounds his monotonous weep—weep—weep perched atop a pop-up pen under the eaves of the captain’s cell. The captain is intent on planning the best winter Gala. The fertile earth of the old parade grounds within the walls of Fort Jefferson are still grow-

ing early-winter squashes, tomatoes, and carrots to festoon the galleys of the prison-barge and grace its tables. He waters his maritime lilies in their Ruba Rombic vase and peers through his spyglass up to vertiginous watchtower. The watchtower-keeper is in. He summons his compatriot, ole Willoughby, with three flashes of his folding mirror. On today’s agenda are measures to finalize the script of the Winter Gala’s play. The weak link throughout, though, is the cast selection. In his darkest hours, alone with the flycatcher for the captain has no bunky, he suspects treachery, but the captain has a lot of investors to impress from the mainland, and must keep his eyes on the prize- his penultimate plan to perpetuate his healthcare service, currently foundering, to all the aging, uninsured tramps, whores, miscreants, and low-lives of the eco prison. His healthcare plan, Sobenthic HCA, must get off the docks.

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas

The watchtower-keeper


The watchtower-keeper is under a lot of pressure to secure the eco-prison for the Winter Gala, but continue to monitor the corexit-laden waters of the Gulf as well as potential rabble-rousers in the free-speech zone on the ground-floor of the eco-prison. They call him Fat Willoughby, or inmate-guest 02151990. He makes excellent ballast when out on weekly fishing patrol in Garden Key Harbor, when he has the time. He is never cranky, and always in good sailing condition. Kind, generous Willoughby! He is wary of the captain’s plans to yet again bail out the prison-barge. He thinks it should be permanently stranded and return to the shallow shoals S.W. Key Reef, or perhaps the Middle Grounds. That machinating martinet, the captain! He grows tired of hearing about the Captain broadcasting lies on the eco-prison’s P.A. system about his foundering healthcare plan, Sobenthic HCA. He metes out his fury in rationed curses, with passive-aggressive volleys on the part of his jailbird companion, the Yellow-faced Grassquit, who periodically pelts the captain’s dull, white cell with shit. The watchtower-keeper realizes that his mutinous thoughts could land him another decade in this far-flung eco-prison, yet he must take a risk for the sake of his sanity at the grandiose Winter Gala. He has several plans and also small finches up his sleeve.

The Hoarder

In the Northern reaches of the eco-prison, overlooking the North Coaling docks is an exiled cell, clad with vines and cozy as a cocoon. It is indistinguishable from a garden, and painted a shimmering emerald green. It’s a real carefree sight set against a sea of dull white cells that bespeaks little if not anonymity. Within, inmate-guest 01151990, or Pionston Gingerpocket “The Hoarder” Bamody, is traipsing around his little carceral eden. Like his cell, he is a little green. He was one of the unfortunate ones who was put into lockdown in his wretched little cell, they say, for “missing enrollment” in the captain’s healthcare plan, Sobenthic HCA. The hoarder thought it rather hard that he should be treated so harshly simply for opting out of the program. He was seeing the eco-prison therapist to treat his oppositional defiance disorder, but more often he vents his frustrations to the void of the night sky, which he can see from atop his cell, through the infinitesimally serene parade of louvers atop the gable of the eco-prison he calls “The Big House”. Amateur ornithologist, “The Hoarder”, like many other inmate-guests, has a migratory bird for a friend during the Winter months. He takes solace in the companionship of the red-legged honeycreeper. His thin, high-pitched tsip-tsip-tsip makes Pionston pine for the wide-open seas. During the day, Pionston peers anxiously through his spyglass toward the fertile gardens of the parade grounds of Ft. Jefferson to see if the banana trees are ready to bear. He waits to harvest ginger from the outer planters of his cell for first-rate whiskey-gingers to impress the investors arriving from Key West for the annual Winter Gala. He would trade the a thousand furlongs of sea for one ruddy acre of sandy land back home in terrestrial Florida.


The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas





2. 5. 3.



Second floor

1- stage balcony 2- helm 3- bridge and second sallyport to Ft. Jefferson 4- cat walk to prison-barge 5- prisoner’s cells



Ground floor

1- entrance 2- temporary stage, public grounds 3- custodial closet 4- public-prison-barge deck 5- free-speech zone

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas



The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas 105

westernmost edge of the eco-prison during the morning. the watchtower is in the background, a bridge to a new sallyport for ft. jefferson hovers over the counterscarp and moat

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas 107

the watchtowerkeeper’s station atop the towersome panels that dot the perimeter are cctv monitors of the prison below, most are bonsai planters

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas 109

After curtain call and blackout at the annual winter gala play- “Captive keys”. THE WATCHTOWER-KEEPER, THE HOARDER, THE CUSTODIAN, AND OTHER INMATEGUESTS DO NOT RETURN TO TAKE A BOW. storm clouds gather.

The Captain and the final act The captain drinks deeply a fine whiskey-ginger from his angular Ruba Rombic goblet. The investors from the mainland have arrived at Garden Key on the catamaran Yankee Freedom III. The bourgeois, the maritime nobility, and the Key’s most elite denizens have come to look at themselves and each other as well as the annual play put on by the inmate-guests. The Captain is hoping that the stage curtain will stay put during the show and that everything will go according to plan. Surely, the prison-barge, his first-rate healthcare scheme, and the Winter Gala itself is too big, too grand to fail. He weaves through the crowd on the ground floor’s freespeech zone. The investors are taking the bait; the captain wires the mainland and begins floating bonds on Garden Key’s market, leveraged on little more than his special siphoning rights. Surely, this kind of refinancing will vouchsafe his reign over the eco-prison. On the night of the Winter Gala, the watchtowerkeeper is increasingly at loggerheads with the captain. He suspects that the play is little more than a new, over-priced, overly-intellectual fund-raising technique for the captain’s healthcare plan. He fiddles with a new, hastily-typed script with last-minute changes during the final act of “Captive Keys” under his sleeves, and passes it out to both the hoarder and the custodian. The play is a chamber play, based off of Ingmar Bergman’s “Through a Glass Darkly”, but with only half the existential dread. It’s a play about four family members with fragile ties vacationing on a remote island. Pionston “The hoarder” Bamody is playing the role of both mother and the father, a role well known to many of his fellow inmate-guests. He plays the father, an overly intellectual architect, torn between love for his daughter and love for the new commissions that keep her in an asylum over on Loggerhead Key. He plays the role of the mother, a loving yet lazy soul who offers only occasional quips and crackers to her children. The custodian plays the role of the schizophrenic daughter. The watchtower-keeper plays the role of the son. The hoarder is hoping that the audience members don’t throw bananas and coconuts at him on stage like last winter, but, if they do, he’ll just eat the bananas so he doesn’t cramp up. The captain’s lackeys on the eco-prison P.A. system announce the opening of the first act, and reminded the inmateguests as well as the investors to be on their best behavior. In the second act, the brother and sister put on a play-within-a-play alongside the Tortugas harbor shore. The father feigns approval, but interprets the act as an attack on his character. As the detached architect walks offstage, the brother and the sister see a storm brewing. They each run

into a mock-up shipwreck, hoisted down from the louvers of the eco-prisons back-stage jig. Just then, the custodian comes out of character and suddenly summons the piratical flycatcher, and takes on the same airs as the Captain. He starts to furrow his bald brow, grind his demonic teeth, and yell into the void of the night. He seems to assume human form, but looks more like a slick shark. In the crowd, The Captain drops his Ruba Rombic glass. The audience roars. The father steps down from the coral rock and whispers through the wallpaper of the set, calling in a firm voice like that of God to his daughter. The wall gives way, like foliage, and from the corner of the stage, the yellow-faced grassquit swoops in, followed by droves of noddies and terns. The brother is distracted and pretends to break a leg. The yellow-faced grassquit, not typically known for its artistic or vocal capabilities, squawks out his patiently rehearsed lines, “YOUR MEDICAL COSTS-tttt-teee WILL NOT BE COVERED, SOBENTHIC HCA DOES NOT-tttt-teee COVER ELDERLY OR OVERWEIGHT-tttt-teee PATIENTS”. The Audience is visibly concerned, their investments, they believed, were going to good use. The audience tenses for they are elderly and overweight themselves. Pionston cries, “WHO WILL GO ON A NIGHT-DIVE WITH ME?” The custodian, the daughter begins to sob, then suddenly shrieks “Father spoke to me”, and all goes black. Applause erupts amidst the audience. When the spotlights don’t turn on, the elite’s post-play anxieties begin to stir. As all the Ruba Rombic glasses become ammunition and the audience starts to riot, and descend further into the abyss of hysteria, the hoarder, the custodian, and watchtower-keeper rush to the balcony and board the prison-barge, never to return to Garden Key. As the prison-barge drifts off into the twinkling moonlight, The Captain thinks about the revised script in the play, and, in general, about all the roles he has played. In a moment of clarity, the captain thought that, like the monitoring of the both the inmate-guests and contaminated waters of the deep Gulf, it didn’t matter whether his role as captain was lenient or strict. It mattered not whether his role during the Winter Gala’s play was embarrassing or glowing. It mattered less whether his healthcare plan was fungible or fraudulent. The inmate-guests and the seaworms of the deep could live with more or less any set of pollutants or scripts or healthcare plans, so long as they are consistent. The vagaries of the inmate-guests daily routines, the wavering whims of the piratical flycatcher… it was the unflinchingly arbitrary despotism of his maritime manners that ensured the captain would know no peace in his later years on Garden Key.

The Eco-Prison of the Dry Tortugas 111

the eco-prison barge, shortly after being mutineered by the watchtower-keeper, after outrage following the captain’s healthcare plan- “sobenthic hca” IS REFINANCED ON NOTHING MORE THAN “SPECIAL SIPHONING RIGHTS”-before the stranding on s.w. key shoal THE INMATEGUESTS WILL MAKE THEIR OWN ISLAND.

04-All Else

Digitized from: Edwin C. Bearss, “Fort Jefferson National Monument, FL- Shipwreck Study- The Dry Tortugas,� from Eastern Service Center, Office of Historic and Historic Architecture, (Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Interior National Park Service, 1971).

Digitized from: Edwin C. Bearss, “Fort Jefferson National Monument, FL- Shipwreck Study- The Dry Tortugas,� from Eastern Service Center, Office of Historic and Historic Architecture, (Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Interior National Park Service, 1971).

Digitized from: Edwin C. Bearss, “Fort Jefferson National Monument, FL- Shipwreck Study- The Dry Tortugas,� from Eastern Service Center, Office of Historic and Historic Architecture, (Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Interior National Park Service, 1971).

Digitized from: Edwin C. Bearss, “Fort Jefferson National Monument, FL- Shipwreck Study- The Dry Tortugas,� from Eastern Service Center, Office of Historic and Historic Architecture, (Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Interior National Park Service, 1971).

Digitized from: Edwin C. Bearss, “Fort Jefferson National Monument, FL- Shipwreck Study- The Dry Tortugas,� from Eastern Service Center, Office of Historic and Historic Architecture, (Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Interior National Park Service, 1971).

Digitized from: Edwin C. Bearss, “Fort Jefferson National Monument, FL- Shipwreck Study- The Dry Tortugas,� from Eastern Service Center, Office of Historic and Historic Architecture, (Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Interior National Park Service, 1971).

Digitized from: Edwin C. Bearss, “Fort Jefferson National Monument, FL- Shipwreck Study- The Dry Tortugas,� from Eastern Service Center, Office of Historic and Historic Architecture, (Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Interior National Park Service, 1971).


1- Excerpt from “Thirty Months at the Dry Tortugas” The Galaxy Miscellany, June, 1869, pp 282-288. 2- Butler, Smedley. War is a Racket ( New York: Feral House, 1935), p.1 3- Lauren E. Glaze and Erika Parks. Correctional Populations in the United States, 2011 ( Washington D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2012) , accessed February 18th, 2013, 4- Marguerite Yourcenar, The Dark Brain of Piranesi and Other Essays ( Toronto, ON: Collins Publishers, 1984) 120. 5- Giles MacDonough, After the Reich:From the Liberation of Vienna to the Berlin Airlift (London, UK: John Murray Publishers, 2008) 6- Dan Hoffman, “Erasing Detroit,” in Architecture Studio: Cranbrook Academy of Art, 1986-1993, 28. 7- Kevin Baxter, “Statistical Architecture; incarceration, exploration, and identity in Florida” (M.Arch diss., University of Florida, 1996). 8- Easterling, Keller. Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and Its Political Masquerades (Boston: MIT Press, 2005) 170. 9- Kevin Baxter, “Statistical Architecture; incarceration, exploration, and identity in Florida” (M.Arch diss., University of Florida, 1996). 10- Michelle Brown, The Culture of Punishment (New York: New York University Press, 2009), xx. 11- Hookway, Branden. Pandemonium: The rise of Predatory Locales in the Postwar World ( New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), 25. 12- Gregg Miller, “Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists,” The Washington Post, October 23, 2012, 68. 13- Michelle Brown, The Culture of Punishment (New York: New York University Press, 2009). 14- Craig Willse, “The Public Space of the Prison,” Loud Paper The House, Public (Volume 4, Number 2), accessed November 30, 2013, 15- Michelle Brown, The Culture of Punishment (New York: New York University Press, 2009), 144. 16- Michelle Brown, The Culture of Punishment (New York: New York University Press, 2009), 88. 17- Joe Day, Corrections and Collections: Architectures for Art and Crime (London: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 2013), 147. 18- Brooks Barnes “At Disney Parks, a Bracelet Meant to Build Loyalty (and Sales),” New York Times, February 27, 2010, accessed December 28, 2013, 19- “Education vs. Incarceration,” The American Prospect, accessed November 26, 2013, education-vs-incarceration. 20- Jon Hurdle and Sabrina Tavernise, “Former Judge Is on Trial in ‘Cash for Kids’ Scheme,” New York Times, February 8, 2011, accessed November 28, 2013, r=0 21- Gueorgi Kossinets and Duncan J. Watts, “U.S. Justice Department Awards USF Researchers Grant for Dozier School Project,” University of South Florida News Aug 28 2013: 411, accessed November 28, 2013,

templates/?z=123&a=5625. 21- William Yardley “Recovery Still Incomplete After Valdez Spill,” New York Times, May 5, 2010, accessed December 28, 2013, 22- Paul Virilio, The Original Accident (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2005), 40. 23- Kevin Baxter, “Statistical Architecture; incarceration, exploration, and identity in Florida” (M.Arch diss., University of Florida, 1996). 24- Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Robert Pear, “Leftover armored trucks from Iraq coming to local police agencies,” NY Daily News, November 26, 2013, accessed November 28, 2013, 25- Joe Day, Corrections and Collections: Architectures for Art and Crime (London: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 2013). 26- “Architect pleads not guilty in Fire,” last modified February 16th, 2012, 27- “The brutal truth about the London Olympics,” Freedom Anarchist News and Views, accessed September 19, 2013,

Image Credits

Figure 01-1_ Figure 01-2_ Figure 01-3_ Figure 02-1_ Figure 02-2_ Figure 02-3_ Figure 03-1_ Figure 03-2_ Figure 03-3_ Figure 03-4_ Figure 03-5_ Figure 03-6_

Captive Keys: Architecture for Fun and Profit in the Carceral Currents of the Dry Tortugas  

A Master’s Research Project presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in partial fulfillment for the degree of Master of...

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