Smout Allen

Theo Jones Y4

Diplomatic Containment. Expressed through a series of case studies, diplomatic borders and containment are considered in a digital context. 

The Diplomat's Jacket reflects the story and experience of Julian Assange in his home of diplomatic containment. Assange via political asylum lived inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London for over 6 years. He initially occupied one room then gradually took over others inside the Knightsbridge building, as his stay was extended. 

Based on the limited documentary information about the space he occupied, the jacket acts as a diplomatic bag holding a collection of rooms that can be folded up, hidden, and transported with diplomatic immunity. This includes the street facing balcony, the only external space he could access, and a series of domestic rooms, some of which are shared with the Ecuadorian embassy staff. 

The single floor flat in the Ecuadorian embassy is Ecuadorian territory. While Assange was inside with asylum, the flat offered him an island of protection. Inside the jacket, this flat is folded down—secretly moving Assange and the territory of Ecuador that protected him. No longer trapped at a fixed location in Knightsbridge, Assange now has a protected escape route to Ecuador or another refuge. 

The Diplomatic Bag journeys to the borders of France, Switzerland and Germany. Travelling across borders the ‘bag’ carries the minimum architectures to establish a physical foothold in Switzerland. The architectures are modelled after the small businesses in Basel's old town and a quadrat contained inside is used to sample the border conditions in Basel.

Terra Incognita 2019