6.6 ft.

Today, the islets of Tuvalu only rise 6.6 feet above the sea level of the Pacific Ocean. Since 1993, the mean water line has ascended 0.5 centimetres annually, twice the global average. This puts the country‘s territory at stake – and raises questions on the contemporary understanding of a nation state. Can the physical condition of territory be (re-)defined as a fluid element in deep time? This project proposes a possible form and framework for a permanent existence beyond the inhabitable lifetime of a geographical home.

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During his appeal to the members of the United Nations during COP27 in November 2022, Tuvalus minister of communications and foreign affairs, Simon Kofe, addressed the elephant in the room. The speech unfolds: Moving palm trees in the background and the sound of waves washing ashore. Now, the camera starts to move away from the minister, revealing him to in fact stand on a digital clone of one islet. Entailed in the delivery of the speech we also come to understand a possible future. The state aims to create a digital version of itself, claiming to become the ‘worlds first digital nation’. The digital heritage of the island, however, dates back much longer. Some 30 years ago: The internet starts to take off. Every country is assigned a top level domain (TLD). Tuvalu is assigned .tv – By chance, abbreviating the word ‘television’. A gold mine as it turns out. It was not long until foreign interest was attracted. In a race to capitalise on the two letters that would later become the ending of many professional news- and streaming outlets, an American company convinced the local government to host the domain – withholding much of the revenue from the island. Although only a small portion of the company’s turnover (50 million USD over 10 years) reached the state treasury, for the economy that relied mainly on fishing, it still meant a significant increase. To celebrate, a special collection of stamps was made. Tuvalu branded itself as „The TV Corporation“. More paramount: the money was used to become the 189th member state of the United Nations at the millennium, even before Switzerland. But the source is at stake: once a country disappears, its top-level domain consequently is deleted, too. This is closely related to our understanding of a state. Currently, the global order of modern nation states as we know them is based on three principles that have been agreed upon during the convention of Montevideo in 1933. Article one defines: A permanent population, a defined territory and a government. Still, until this day, there is no universally valid definition of a State under international law – But rather, a common denominator. Ultimately, there is no precedent for the loss of the entire territory – where such a situation would be permanent, statehood could be questioned. Almost one hundred years after the Convention, and as the impacts of climate change will render parts of the globe uninhabitable, likely before the close of the century; our current definition might therefore be up for debate. Credits: Author(s): Jaritz, Florian Kilian Assistants: you know Music: CFCF – Memoryland Enhanced [BGM Solutions, 2021] Contributors: Carolina Contreras Alvarez, Leonard Kilian Jaritz Voice-Over Secondary Text Sources: Cornelia Vismann – Terra Nullius; Gilles Deleuze – Desert Islands; Athanasius Kircher – Mundus Subterraneus Read less

Thesis Project
Florian Jaritz
Arno Brandlhuber, Meghan Rolvien, Pan Hu, Bing Liu, Jolene Lee, Olaf Grawert, Severin Bärenbold
Carolina Contreras Alvarez, Leonard Kilian Jaritz
6.6 ft._MIRAGE
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Plan 1
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Ocean of Stones
Stamp 2