A critical and poetic reworking of the bizarre story of a tiny, unrecognized micronation located on an abandoned World War II gun tower in the North Sea. The tower has been occupied since the 1960s by a British family, who claim the artificial territory as their own, independent from all state power.
The family originally intended to use the tower to broadcast pirate radio, later they worked with two cyber-libertarians in the early 2000s to establish the world’s first data haven—what they described as “pirate internet.” The data haven promised to be a refuge for unregulated data—the only truly safe place in the world to keep information. HAVEN explores the tower as a paradoxical site: at once promoting sovereignty and autonomy while also being inaccessible, exposed to the elements, and controlled by a closed and isolated family unit.
HAVEN’s experimental narrative approach speculates on the rift that occurred between the family and the data haven’s founders. It also touches on other failed utopias and neoliberal ventures, such as the libertarian Seasteading project, which aims to build floating communities described as “start-up countries,” and Microsoft’s Project Natick, the world’s first undersea data center. Newitt incorporates these references to interrogate the possibilities the sea provides for extraterritorial places—spaces beyond the territory of the state—while critically analyzing the often capitalist and colonialist ideologies behind such ventures.
Director : James Newitt
Animation: Arif Ashraf
Producer : Mes Newitt
With the support of the Australia Council for the Arts
A three-channel video installation developed in the framework of SIC.
Website : https://jnewitt.com/
Galerias Municipais, Lisbon, Portugal, 06-09/23
Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, Oldenburg, Germany, 04-06/23
Adelaide Festival, Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide, Australia, 03/23