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Monumentalising Defeat

The best photographic journal bar none has to be Polar Inertia - if it's not, let me know. Issue #32 for Summer 2008 is now out (h/t Bouphonia) and features a photographic essay by Belgian photographer Christophe Abrassart, Atlantik Wall

atlantik13.jpg 

In Abrassart's words:

Atlantik Wall - this strategic line of coastal fortifications was constructed by the Germans during WWII to defend against Allied attacks. By the time the allied forces broke that line during D-day it stretched out along the Atlantic coastline from the high north of Norway till the spanish border south. Today still a lot of those bunkers and batteries are untouched or maybe just sealed at the most. This set of pictures was taken during the spring of 2007 between the Belgian border and the coast of Normandy where it all happened on the 6th of June 1944.

Where some of the places were touristic beehives, others were pure, untouched and rightfully in a phase of natural destruction. A magical process and being there, alone, gives one a very surreal feeling. It is indeed a very weird experience strolling around alone in such places, knowing what happened. The absurdity of war suddenly becomes crystal clear when you're standing on top of the steep cliffs at Pointe de Hoc or Omaha beach.

One book that doesn't even make it to my anti-library, on account of not managing to track down an affordable copy, is Paul Virilio's Bunker Archaeology. This is Virilio's extended dissection of military space, focusing particularly on the WWII concrete fortifications of the Atlantic coasts. I want.

See also:

Bunker Archaeology, Geoff Manaugh, BLDGBLOG [cross-posted at Subtopia]

Simon Norfolk - photographer extraordinaire 

The Atlantikwall Website

The Atlantic Wall Linear Museum

Bunker Archaeology - a record of Kepa's explorations, sadly not updated for a while

Update: If I'd actually got around to checking my RSS reader properly, I'd have noticed that Bryan Finoki also took a look at the new issue in Inertia Gems.

 

Posted on Saturday, June 21, 2008 at 23:14 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

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