The interview was carried out days after the centenary of the First World War was widely covered in the international media. Though we expect the interest in the no-man’s land of the Western Front to increase as we near next year’s centenary of the Battle of the Somme (August 2015), the interview provides some reminders about the longer history of the term and some of the uses that expand its meaning beyond the killing zones of the Great War.
The interview prompted an infteresting connection on Geoff Manaugh’s BLDGBLOG, between no-mans land research and “the notion of a buffer landscape: a marginal, otherwise unused land that is nonetheless deliberately maintained as a spatial intermediary between two very different zones.” Geoff makes an unexpected, but important link between no-man’s lands and acoustic buffer zones, like the one designed by artist Paul de Kort around Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
The sensory dimensions of no-man’s lands are a pivotal element in our project, something we touched upon in a recent blog on the corporeal experience of space and the often violent enmeshment of body and earth in no-man’s lands. More on this in the future.
Certainly, buffering is a key function of no-man’s lands. But we wonder whether no-man’s land entails more than limited utilitarian function? Geoff’s emphasis on the deliberate maintenance of a state of “in between” is crucial, and enables us to think about the social, economic, ecological and geopolitical appearances of no-man’s land as well. Noam points to some of these directions in the interview.