The line of contact between the sea and land has its own particular infrastructure. It is fundamentally different than the divisions between other cities and settlements. Goods and humans converge at this line of contact, temporarily stored in waiting rooms and on piers, in container parks and warehouses, only to be loaded, shipped and sent on their horizontal journey once again. The standardisation of goods containers since the 1970s may have contributed to the first truly global architecture: Container terminals were no longer integrated in the city, but located outside of city limits and separated by walls. Barcelona, Algeciras, Istanbul, Port Said or Beirut – their cranes and container ships qualify the sea as a neutral medium of circulation. And yet the standardised visuality only levels the cultural and political contradictions on the surface: „Sailors and dockers are in a position to see the global patterns of intrigue hidden in the mundane details of commerce. Sometimes the evidence is in fact bizarrely close at hand: Weapons for the lraqis in the forward hold. Weapons for the Iranians in the aft hold. Spanish dockers in Barcelona laugh at the irony of loading cargo with antagonistic destinations.” (Allan Sekula)
Harbour tour in Barcelona