Charlie Hailey is Assistant Professor in the University of Florida’s School
of Architecture. He is the author of Campsite: Architectures of Duration
Top right: 3.33. Poncho/Parachute Shade Shelter,
FM 21-76: U.S. Army Survival Manual.
Right: Rockey Vaccarella, Mock FEMA Trailer in
front of U.S. Capitol. (Steven Scaffidi and Ghost
Rider Pictures, All Rights Reserved).
A Guide to 21st-Century Space
What is a camp? In August 2005, television news showed viewers an estimated
20,000 Katrina evacuees camped out in the Superdome, Cindy Sheehan protesting
the Iraq War on President Bush’s doorstep in “Camp Casey,” Texas, and Israeli
and Palestinian young people at the Seeds of Peace Camp in Maine discussing
the evacuation of settlement camps in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, off camera,
summer campers all over America packed up their gear, preparing to depart
Scout camps, computer camps, and sports camps, and millions of recreational
vehicles owners were on the road, permanent itinerant campers. In Camps,
Charlie Hailey examines the space and idea of camp as a defining dimension
of 21st-century life.
The ubiquity and diversity of camps calls for a guidebook. This is what
Hailey offers, but it is no ordinary one. Not only does he establish a typology
of camps, but he also imbeds within his narrative a key to camp ideology. Thus
we see how camp spaces are informed by politics and transform the ways we
think about and make built environments. Hailey describes camps of diverse
regions, purposes, and forms, and navigates the inherent paradoxes of zones that
are neither temporary nor permanent. He looks first at camps of choice, including
summer camps, protest camps, drift camps (research stations on Arctic ice
floes), and LTVA (Long-Term Visitor Area) Camps, then at strategic camps
regulated by power — boot camps, GTMO (the detention
camp at Guantánamo Bay), immigrant camps, and others —
and finally at transient spaces of relief and assistance, among
them refugee camps, FEMA City, work camps, and Gypsy
camps. More than 150 diagrams, sketches, building and site
plans, photographs, political cartoons, video game screenshots,
aerial and satellite images, and maps illustrate camp space in
unprecedented complexity and variety.
Today camps are at the center of emerging questions of
identity, residency, safety, and mobility. Camp spaces register the
struggles, emergencies, and possibilities of global existence
as no other space does.