Interactive Nolli map

Giambattista Nolli’s 1748 Map of Rome –


– “is widely regarded by scholars as one of the most important historical documents of the city ever created. This project is a collaborative exploration of the exquisite Nolli engraving, through its historic significance and contemporary application.”


In other words, two professors at the University of Oregon have made it interactive: you can focus on the Tiber, on the city walls, zoom in, zoom out, switch to a satellite view…
Plus this guide to Nolli’s cartographic symbols:


Symbols used thusly:


(Nolli link originally spotted on Archinect; also see Pruned).
In this context, however, I can’t resist putting up some of Piranesi’s Rome images, as I have a somewhat irrational love for Piranesi:

Simulating, replacing, or otherwise


Oliver Boberg’s work identifies generic typologies of space – a loading dock, an underpass, or public square – and collects snapshots of different examples, in order to distil their essence into home-made hand painted table top models. He then hires a photographer to shoot this “ideal” reconstruction, creating an image of familiar yet placeless space that “verifies the imaginary.” According to Boberg, “It’s as if I’m building a personal version of the world. I hope that in 20 years or so there will be something like a Boberg Universe.”


Meanwhile Thomas Demand, a fellow German, takes photographs of life-size architectural models. Usually, he finds an image of a culturally or historically important space, and then rebuilds it in paper and cardboard. He then – you guessed it! – photographically reproduces the life-size simulation of a model that was built from a magazine or newspaper illustration in the first place. Not only that, but he apparently accounts for the distortions of single lens photography (as opposed to bifocal human vision) when building his model, “so that the experience of viewing the photograph of his construction is more true than viewing the photograph of the real thing.” Although Demand’s photographs are titled generically (“Barn,” “Room,” “Studio,”) and although the fact that everything is made of colored paper takes away any specificity of place, these reconstructions are not Bobergian “types.” In fact, Demand’s Universe consists rather specifically of Hitler’s Berlin bunker, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s hallway, the Berlin headquarters of the Stasi following the fall of the communist regime, and the untidy kitchen of Saddam Hussein’s Tikrit bunker.


The Demandian reproduce, reproduce, destroy, proliferate process (model/photograph/destroy model/multiple prints) has also encompassed the office where the rebuilding of Munich was planned after World War II, as well as a model/photograph that is either Bill Gates’ dorm room or the hotel room in which L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, wrote Dianetics (Google could go either way on that one). One of Demand’s most recent works is “Space Simulator,” which does not, as you might otherwise imagine, automate his working method. In fact, it seems rather nostalgic and Heath Robinson-esque – “like some kind of mistake – like a crumpled piece of paper, or a Frank Gehry building that hadn’t been finished.”


Is this the seductive engine of simulacra’s final triumph?
And finally, there are more constructed histories in “Burned Cabin,” “Unpapered Cabin,” or “Dark Bathroom,” where very specific clues to solve real-life crimes lie hidden in “Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.” Frances Glessner Lee (who grew up in Chicago’s Glessner House) built 19 dollhouses to teach forensics to police recruits. She noted, “The inspector may best examine them by imagining himself a trifle less than six inches tall.” In case you were wondering, the photographer Corinne May Botz has already beaten you to it …

Ground effects: surrogate earths: *terra infirma*


(Landscape in a can: available from Uncommon Goods, and originally spotted on Inhabitat.)

More often than not lately, I find myself running not outside in the city as a runner arguably should, but indoors on a treadmill: a treadmill called ‘Ground Effects.’ Like the earth – the ground – but only in effect. Landscape-on-a-belt.
It’s the treadmill as landscape architecture.
Replaced beneath my feet by this moving technological substitute, the earth meets its counter-earth – some rogue machine-landscape, a prosthetic planetary surface, an evil twin – come back re-invented by man and his opposable thumbs, nothing but a thin ribbon of reinforced nylon repeating beneath me at 7.5 miles an hour. Difference and repetition.
‘Ground Effects’.
On a surface so named, where has the earth actually gone? This isn’t a portable landscape, like the flower-cans pictured above; it’s a landscape of interference, blocking your access to the planet it seems meant to replace and amplify. Terrestrial augmentation.
Some brief physics questions: does a treadmill operating fast enough – and I mean a really small treadmill, on the nano-level – counteract the gravitational effects of the planet beneath it? In other words, could you negate a gravitational pull by inserting insanely fast nano-treadmills – nanomills – between that gravitational pull and the object it is supposed to attract? Does the circular torque of the nanomills’ motion have any sort of countering effect upon centralized gravity? By dispersing it somehow?
And some questions of rhetoric: were Precor, the treadmill’s manufacturers, aware of the Heideggerian overtones of choosing the name ‘Ground Effects’? Were they hubristically attempting the complete rhetorical obliteration of the planet? By suggesting a world in which you could never contact the ground again, you could only experience ‘ground effects’, does the ‘Ground Effects’ treadmill constitute, in that way, a statement of some kind?
Is it an act of interpretation?
I’m tempted here to suggest the world’s most ambitious – if abjectly terrifying – planetary engineering project, in which the entirety of the earth’s surface is replaced by moving walkways, escalators, treadmills, and other automated surfaces, if only for the purposes of making a philosophical point. The earth can be simulated, and replaced.
For instance, in Japan, there is the ‘Earth Simulator‘:


The Earth Simulator was, until last year – when it was beat by IBM’s Blue Gene (why not the Gene Simulator? would Gene Simmons sue them for libel…?) – the fastest supercomputer on earth. And, yes, its purpose is to simulate the earth: ‘In 1997 a team of Japanese engineers dared to imagine a computer so powerful that it could keep track of everything in the world at once – steaming rain forests in Bolivia, factories in Mexico belching smoke, the jet stream, the Gulf Stream, the works. What’s more, they dared to build it. On March 11, 2002, when they turned it on, the engineers did something no mere mortal had ever done before: they created the Earth. Or at least the next best thing.’
‘At least the next best thing’ – I thought that was gelato.
Using the Earth Simulator, ‘researchers can create a computer model of the entire planet, then scroll it forward in time to see what will happen’ – which is funny, because I remember a joke about that from the film 12 Monkeys: Brad Pitt’s character explains how his parents and psychiatrists recorded all his responses and statements as a child, then put them into a computer, created a program, ran the simulation, and now a perfect virtual model exists, predicting in advance every move and thought and impulse Brad Pitt might now undertake… The Brad Pitt Simulator.
And while I’m aware that I’m about to let the material get slightly ahead of me here, I do have to mention in this context the following news story. You want a Brad Pitt Simulator? Well, two already exist:


‘Twins [they were already twins! before the surgery!] Mike and Matt didn’t just dream of being movie-star handsome – they had one particular movie star in mind. The 20-year-olds from Arizona wanted to look like Brad Pitt. So they went under the knife. Plastic surgeons gave them new noses, chin implants, and whiter teeth. The result? The twins say they’re pleased, but even they admit that no one is going to mistake either of them for Jennifer Aniston’s husband’ – probably because they now look like Val Kilmer.
The interwaltzing dance of simulacra and copies here is almost impossible to track. Who’s who? Which is which? Are the twins still twins if they’ve been surgically altered? And what’s Brad Pitt got to say about this?
Perhaps most importantly, could I sue someone for deep psychological trauma if they showed up at my flat after having had plastic surgery to look like me? Attack of the clones. Or a Lovecraft story gone horribly wrong.
Can you copyright your own face?
In any case, returning rather quickly to the real subject of this post – surrogate earths – artist Buster Simpson makes ‘Portable Landscapes’ out of seeds, turf, and suitcases:


We find here – in fact, in all these examples – that by simulating, replacing, or otherwise making redundant the earth itself, landscapes – portable (the flower-cans, the suitcases) or not (the treadmill, the supercomputer) – can become active philosophical statements in which ‘the ground’, ‘the original’, is replaced by its simulacra.
Predictive models, advanced algorithms, even the simplest of seedbanks – not to mention Biosphere 2 or the Eden Project – provide us with new landscape architectural possibilities: engineering *terra infirma*. Earth Redux.
Difference and repetition, again.


(Image: Terraforming Mars.)

Silophone resonance: architecture to play by phone

“It’s hard to miss,” says the Montreal Mirror.


“Stroll west along Montreal’s Old Port from St-Laurent and you’ll see it standing defiant like a 45-metre, steel-reinforced middle finger in the face of the surrounding gentrification. Abandoned in 1996, Silo #5 has received a new lease on life thanks to two young Montreal-based artists known as [The User]. Using strategically placed loudspeakers, microphones, next-level telecommunications technology and the building’s 22 seconds of natural reverb, Thomas McIntosh and Emmanuel Madan converted the Silo into a giant interactive sound installation, playable from anywhere with a good Internet connection.”


Now known as the Silophone, it “combines sound, architecture, and communication technologies” – another way of saying that it’s architecture you play by phone. (Incidentally, Thomas McIntosh – one half of [The User] – studied -yes- architecture).
As NPR’s “All Things Considered” describes it, McIntosh and Madan “channel sounds via phone and the Internet into the silo. Sounds bounce around the Silophone… and a microphone picks up the echoes and returns them to the listener. (…) The silo’s chambers reach up to 10 stories high and have an impressive reverberation time of more than 20 seconds. Even simple sounds are transformed into something completely different.”
This not only architecturalizes the North American phone system in an interesting way, but it telephonizes Quebecois architecture.
NPR continues: “Silo #5 was built in 1958 and has been called a masterpiece of modern architecture. The building has three separate sections, joined together by elevated corridors.”


And now it’s a musical instrument.
Meanwhile, in a recent post on BLDGBLOG, the BBC program *Coast* was cited – but you may or may not have noticed that the website for that show’s first episode featured something called “sound mirrors”:


“These three concrete ‘listening ears’ range in size from 20 to 200 feet in size. They were built between World War I and II: designed to give early warning of incoming enemy aircraft.” While not able to be played by phone, as it were, the Kentish sound mirrors very clearly relate to the topic of resonance as an architectural phenomenon – about which I hope to post again soon.
It would be interesting to consider, meanwhile, whether it’s possible to build a structure like the Montreal Silophone, but with an extraordinarily long internal resonance period.
1) You could say something, for instance, and let it echo round, feedbacking and folding into itself through curtains of reverb – until your mate comes by the next day, records the noises, filters it somehow, writes down what you said and there you go: it’s the world’s most labor-intensive intercom system. Conversations on time-delay.
2) You could build it on a particularly windy area of the Canadian shield


– and you could pierce the outer walls with windows attached to small alcoves attached to small doors in such an exact way that the wind, at every moment of the day, is always playing certain notes. By the time the notes have stopped resonating, maybe two or three days later, maybe even two or three weeks, more wind has come along and the tower is never silent. Certain storms have certain sonic signatures.
3) To torture bats you could release them into the silo in an extreme gale and then – [censored by the ASPCA] –
Finally, if you like abstract electronic music inspired by architecture, check out this CD by Savvas Ysatis and Taylor Deupree. And, since the company that put this CD out appears to have gone bankrupt (?), any budding entrepreneurial types out there reading BLDGBLOG surrounded by heaps of Benjamins who might want to start a music label dedicated to architectural phenomena – *Soundtracks for Architecture* – give me a shout…

World’s largest diamond mine

[Image: The Mirny diamond mine; photographer unknown].

This diamond mine in eastern Siberia (Mirny, to be exact) is so deep that the surrounding “air zone… is closed for helicopters” after “a few accidents when they were ‘sucked in’ by downward air flow…”

[Images: Mirny diamond mine; photographers unknown].

Look for the tiny red arrow in the following photograph; it’s pointing to a 220-ton rock-hauling truck more than 20′ tall.

[Image: The Mirny diamond mine; photographer unknown].

Thanks to Javier Arbona for both the link and photos.

Meanwhile, something altogether different and Jules Vernian is about to occur thanks to some Japanese scientists hoping to drill down into the earth’s mantle: “Using a giant drill ship launched [in July 2005], the researchers aim to be the first to punch a hole through the rocky crust that covers our planet and to reach the mantle below.”

Then, in an oddly Borgesian—or perhaps MC Escherian—moment of nomenclatural mise-en-abîme, “The 57,500-tonne drill ship Chikyu (Japanese for Earth) is being prepared in the southern port of Nagasaki. Two-thirds the length of the Titanic, it is fitted with technology borrowed from the oil industry that will allow it to bore through 7,000 metres of crust below the seabed while floating in 2,500 metres of water—requiring a drill pipe 25 times the height of the Empire State building.”

Let’s repeat the: the drill-ship is called Earth and it is drilling down into the Earth… The attack of the simulacra begins.

[See also: Mirny Mine, pt. 2 and Bingham Pit, Utah].

Law enforcement training architecture

In an interesting post on Design Observer, William Drenttel looks at disaster-preparedness exercises in Manhattan and West Virginia, in which fake catastrophes are role-played in otherwise everyday landscapes.


His post brings to mind an older exhibition at the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) in Los Angeles, which extended this analysis into a look at law enforcement training architecture—that is, totally abstract American “towns” where police, SWAT teams, FBI agents, fire crews, etc., can storm buildings, kick down doors, set up temporary command posts, and more.

That exhibition, called “Emergency State: First Responder and Law Enforcement Training Architecture” is totally fascinating, and well worth taking a look at. What’s particularly interesting is that these training villages, built to look as abstract and everyday as possible (complete with fake Starbucks, fake ATMs, fake drive-thrus), as if they are the absolute value of nowhere, actually just look like the United States.


That is, of course, their point. “Condensed simulacrum of our existing urban environments are forming within our communities,” CLUI writes, “where the first responders to emergencies, on a small or large scale, practice their craft of dealing with disaster.” Or, using a more Ballardian vocabulary, “Whether they are made for police or fire departments, these training sites are stylized versions of ordinary places, with the extraordinary horrors of the anticipated future applied to them on a routine basis.”


This opens up the somewhat more intellectually vertiginous implication that the United States already is a training landscape, militarized in advance and gridded for a surveillant centralization of control.


Susan Willis here comes to mind as someone writing about the strange, even uncanny, topology formed by America’s everyday national landscape and its overlapping, militarized simulation. “Operation Robin Sage,” in the pinelands of North Carolina, for instance, was a military training exercise that involves unwitting civilians and “real” streets and buildings for its successful execution:

Staged over a period of weeks, [Operation Robin Sage’s] scenes and acts occurring randomly across a 4,500 square-mile swathe of countryside, the play is sporadic and unpredictable. Weapons lend excitement. According to the Army’s script, no real soldier may carry live ammunition. But because North Carolina is a gun-toting state, citizens would be foolish not to duck and cover at the sound of gunfire. Thus, when Jessica Keeling ‘heard a spray of mock machine-gun fire behind the Citgo filling station . . . she quickly locked the doors, herded customers playing video poker into the store’s walk-in refrigerator and dialed 911.’ Keeling was an unscripted local, who without knowing it, fulfilled a role in what turned out to be a hostage-rescue scene staged by the Army at the body shop next door. Other unscripted locals have been chased and rounded up by military operatives who had mistaken them for locals scripted as guerrilla fighters. And one unscripted elderly couple was recently held at gunpoint in their home by soldiers decked out with face paint, camouflage and M-4 carbines.

Those interested in reading more can find Susan Willis’s complete article in the New Left Review.

Naxos quarries

A few years ago I was biking across Naxos, an island in the Cyclades of Greece, when, up ahead, bobbing in and out of view, I could see the top of a mountain that had been precision-cut and blasted into a rock quarry. Carved down into a quasi-Cubist, high-altitude landscape of marble blocks, the sun – clear, white, omnidirectional Greek light – hit it from all angles; it looked like Georges Braque had perhaps faked his own death and moved to Greece to become a megalomaniacal landscape engineer in the spirit of Ernst Blofeld. (Which beings up the interesting question of what would have happened if, say, Getty Oil or Fiat had given the Italian Futurists access to hugely expensive earth-grinding machinery and then set them loose in a granite landscape the size of Texas, or perhaps just a small Greek island: what awe-inducing polished bowls and sloped blurs of mineral aggregate could they have produced and uncovered? A Futurist renovation of the Earth. Why did they *paint*, for god’s sake? Landscape engineering! Geotechnics! It’s the avant-garde of all time, just look at Nazca. Could the whole earth be machine-ground into a jewel? Could we now produce a *Diamond Sutra* for the geotechnical industry? Is anyone willing to donate a small Greek island to BLDGBLOG along with some earth-moving machines?).
Till that happens, here are some photographs by Edward Burtynsky, including quarries and mines, some not at all unlike Dante’s Hell.


Ürümqi.bldg, then Moscow to LNDN, via Baghdad, Berlin and Bahrain

Building booms are a dime a dozen lately. The earth’s surface is being processed, ordered, stacked, shipped, registered and reconfigured into “architecture” elsewhere. Materials, mineral wealth, reserves.

Even in unexpected places and global blindspots, as Ürümqi now testifies. Ürümqi? It’s the capital of Xinjiang, China’s northwesternmost desert province. Recently, William Beeman wrote that Ürümqi “looks like lower Manhattan, with skyscrapers rising almost in front of one’s eyes.”


“The city, a century ago [sic: only a century?] a major stop on the Silk Road, is flourishing again with economic activity doubling every year. The city is becoming the mercantile trade capital of all Central Asia, and there is not an American in sight. In fact, aside from a few intrepid German tourists, there are no westerners to be seen anywhere.”

Ürümqi, Beeman writes, “is clean and bustling 24 hours a day. It is clearly a shopper’s paradise with huge bazaars everywhere. One ‘bazaar’ is nothing but a four-storey building full of small offices representing every possible Chinese manufacturer or distributor of consumer goods – from cashmere shawls to computer chips. Of U.S. companies, only Nike is present. All the signs in the complex are in Chinese, Russian and Uighur, a member of the Turkic family and the official language of Xinjiang.”

A brief biographical note here: I spent four months in Beijing in the summer of 1997, living with a Chinese student called Abraham. We watched fireworks explode over Tiananmen Square the night Hong Kong turned its back on Cornish pasties, the Spice Girls and Pret-a-Manger to become geographically Chinese once again. Our shared little breeze-block dorm room was only steps away, through the narrow between-space of an alley that twisted away from the high street, from what we called Uighurville. I’d buy large loaves of flatbread there and realized that, even in the middle of the capital of China, there were other people as foreign as I was, and it wasn’t because they were “foreigners” as such; it was their desert religion, and their social movements, and their noodle bowls, all, in effect, internally colonized. To live in a country does not mean that you are of that country.

In any case, Tajik entrepreneurs, Chinese tourists, Uighur college students, Russian dumplings – Ürümqi is “a booming economy operating outside of Western influence, combined with ethnic tensions that are already proving explosive”.

So while Ürümqi booms – and Shanghai, and Beijing itself, and the whole of Guangdong – what do you know but Moscow is also in on this, too: in the August 2005 Architectural Record, Paul Abelsky writes: “While the world focuses on Beijing and Shanghai as the new centers of building construction, Russia’s capital, Moscow, is undergoing a transformation unmatched since the massive overhaul of the Stalin era. The building boom has overtaken huge swathes of the city (…) [and] about 50 million square feet of housing were added. Public officials have spoken of building 38 high-rises of up to 45 stories in the next several years, with 22 more expected by 2015 as part of a program known as the New Ring of Moscow.”


“The planned series of towers and modern infrastructure promise an infusion of high-tech energy whose vertical extension will resemble Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai more than a European metropolis.”

Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas.

Then there’s the “Moscow-City” district (surely there’s a novel in that name! a whole series of something-or-other mystery/horror/spy thriller novels?), “a sector northwest of the city center that has been designated as the future administrative and financial nucleus.”

Recall Berlin in the 1990s. Of course, the new Economist City Guide newsletter about Berlin informs us that, today, “[t]he number of flats in Berlin has risen by 6% to an astonishing 1.88m over the past six years. That’s one flat for every 1.8 Berliners,” or “what gives Berlin its youthful buzz: 920,000 (or 27.6%) of the city’s residents are under the age of 27. They are growing used to having plenty of personal space, since the average flat in Berlin measures 70 square metres.” Another way of saying that, however, is that they built too much.

Bahrain, meanwhile, in forecasting the end of the oil economy, is setting itself up, through yet another building boom, to become a tourist attraction and offshore financial services hub. To do so, Bahrain has turned to “innovative offshore developments and land reclamation projects.”

Then there’s Baghdad, and “Bremer walls” (huge, ubiquitous, monolithic concrete blast shields –


– somewhere between Stonehenge and fortress urbanism, and named after the well-groomed Mr. Paul Bremer himself [a former reinsurance executive: this PDF is amazingly informative in that regard]), and this article about Lieutenant James Vandenberg’s tour of duty as a “combat architect” in that fabled city.

Finally, because I’m running out of steam: London. LNDN.bldg.




London now looks forward to “31 major new developments… all £100bn worth of them, including the 2012 Lea Valley Olympic Park.” That equates to “400,000 new homes, around 8m square feet of new offices (four Empire State Buildings’ worth),” as well as “so many secret, or simply obscure, developments” that the New London Architecture centre (aka NLA) was created at least partially to help make sense of it all.

Brief questions: where is all this material coming from? I know new earth’s crust is continually being formed near the core/mantle boundary, for instance, and that superplumes of volcanic matter form massive geological features such as the Ontong-Java undersea Plateau, but you can only build so much architecture before you start to carve quite deeply into the planet. So: where are the negative spaces of these building booms? For every skyscraper in Ürümqi, is there a corresponding hole, quarry, or mine being dug or deepened somewhere in Kazakhstan? Or Montana? The Canadian arctic?

Like the urban geology walks mentioned in a recent BLDGBLOG post, could you do a geophysical tour of the earth’s voids, where huge quantities of mineral reserves and raw metals have been excavated, to say: this was Shanghai? Here is the hole that was transformed into Beijing?

The empty flats of Berlin, the New Ring of Moscow, New London Architecture – all rearrangements, transformations of the void, ever-deepening holes as we strip-mine the face of the planet.

Urban rock walks, or: how to podcast a landscape

If you’ve ever wondered what the streets and buildings and monuments of the UK are constructed from, a good enough place to start is the BBC’s Walks with Rocks, where psychogeography meets paleontology meets continental drift. Paleo-psycho-ontogeography, perhaps. In any case, now you can learn the geological origins of paving stones, the density, formation pressures and tectonic ancestry of the architraves on that rockin’ bldg across the street from Boots.


For instance: ‘Looking at the foyer of Berkeley Square House we can see Norwegian igneous combined with Italian freshwater spring limestones. The adjacent Citroen and Rolls Royce showrooms tempt us with Tethyan limestone full of fossils. The Tethyan region was the seaway that lay to the South of the Eurasian Continent and to the North of Australia/India/Africa during the Late Paleozoic and Early Mesozoic periods’ – from Stop 7 on the Dover Street, W1, map.
While you’re at it, my televisual posts continue with British Isles: A Natural History on BBC One: ‘The series and inserts explore how over three billion years Britain has been boiled in lava, buried under tropical swamps and swept by desert sands. They show how it was crushed by enormous glaciers, released by warm winds, forested from north to south and how the influence of human life has dramatically changed the landscape.’ You can also ask what’s beneath your feet – no, it’s not sheepshit, it’s…
Then there are these audio recordings from the BBC’s new *Coast* show, which despite suffering from a rather alarming quantity of badly-accented historical reenactors offers one model for how to podcast a landscape.
Here’s a link to the first episode of the TV show, which, in combination with the second episode, traces out the following geography:


Finally, more Atlantis b.s. in the news, but I still think it’s cool: another tsunami theory, this one about Spartel Island (now submerged) in the Straits of Gibraltar:

Fortress urbanism 3

As security culture intensifies and cameras are installed and walls are built and our cities become slowly fortified – Baghdad, for instance, as Dexter Filkins writes in tomorrow’s *NYTimes*, “seems a city transported from the Middle Ages: a scattering of high-walled fortresses, each protected by a group of armed men. The area between the forts is a lawless no man’s land, menaced by bandits and brigands” – I’m left wondering if perhaps Belfast – yes, Belfast, though maybe Derry (once the most televised city on earth due to the incredible extent of its police CCTV network) – could someday serve as a predictive future history for cities like London and New York – or, for that matter, Baghdad.


That coming urban secrecy and fortressed paranoia is, in fact, already marked in advance for future readers in a poem by Seamus Heaney:

‘O land of password, handgrip, wink and nod,
Of open minds as open as a trap,

Where tongues lie coiled, as under flames lie wicks,
Where half of us, as in a wooden horse
Were cabin’d and confined like wily Greeks,
Besieged within the siege, whispering morse.

(…)

This morning from a dewy motorway
I saw the new camp for the internees:
A bomb had left a crater of fresh clay
In the roadside, and over in the trees

Machine-gun posts defined a real stockade.
There was that white mist you get on a low ground
And it was déjà-vu, some film made
Of Stalag 17, a bad dream with no sound.

…We hug our little destiny again.’

(from ‘Whatever You Say Say Nothing’)