Thursday, July 11, 2019

"PROJECT X" FIELD OF VISION


A fascinating short documentary based upon a Top Secret NSA handbook that was discovered among the vast collection of files and information "freed" by Edward Snowden. It doesn't really contain anything we didn't already know, but it's an intriguing glimpse into the institutional aesthetics of the American intelligence community, right down to the brutalist architecture of the Project X building at 33 Thomas street in New York, NY, an imposing and (according to Tom Hanks) downright terrifying building that formerly sat in the shadows of the Word Trade Center's Twin Towers. Esquire's Keith Flamer describes the building thusly:
The tower is 550-feet high but only 29 stories tall due to its nearly 20-foot double-height floor-to-ceiling interiors. It also has three sub-basement levels. Labeled “Project X” in Warnecke’s original architectural drawings, it was designed as “a skyscraper to be inhabited by machines.” Today, the former long distance telephone and telegraph hub operates primarily as a fortified, high security corporate data complex (and alleged covert government nerve center) with powerful computers, cables, switchboards and “big brother” surveillance equipment.
A skyscraper to be inhabited by machines, eh? And this was built a fairly long time ago, too... in the heyday of the technocrats and in the early days of cybernetics. So much so that the documentary above would make a decent companion piece, or appendix, to Lutz Dammbeck's documentary The Net: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet., for which I wrote an in-depth concordance a little while back.

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