2019 US Military Base in Menorca

Jack and Sally

Summer 2019. I ignore the intimidating ban signs set up by the Spanish authorities, squeeze myself through a gap in a rusty fence surrounding a 1960's military compound above the Menorcan town of Ferreries and find myself in another world. The Cold War is suddenly tangible again. The US Army's abandoned radar installations remind me of the "zone" in Andrei Tarkovsky's film Stalker. On second glance, I notice the site has long since been discovered by the international graffiti scene. Countless tags and images have been created in this inhospitable, secret location. Up here, I discover the love story of Jack and Sally. The young couple, preoccupied with themselves and their first experience of love, describe their feelings in a former US Army dormitory. As I'm leaving the compound – repurposed by Spanish telecommunications companies – to avoid further exposure to thousands of watts of non-ionizing radiation, a pair of real lovers suddenly appears. They talk enthusiastically about another military compound near Son Bou in the south of the island, and for a moment, to me, they are Jack and Sally.

The silent and deserted hundred-square-kilometer site is part of an elevated plain right next to the sea, which has been reclaimed by nature again. Tortoises and lizards approach me trustingly. Roman well systems are evidence of the site's strategically important location. Then I stumble upon old 15″ Vickers-Armstrong naval guns, which are surprisingly well preserved and look ready for action at any time. I imagine hearing the voices of soldiers at a swimming pool in the officers' mess a little further away, and am reminded of Adolfo Bioy Casares' novel La Invention de Morel or the film L'année dernière à Marienbad by Alain Resnais and Marguerite Duras, where people and scenes from times long gone appear inexplicably. By chance I discover the labyrinthine system of tunnels that connects all the underground facilities. Entering them, I am suddenly struck by a feeling of unease and I quickly return to the daylight again, shivering. 

Genre: Reportage
Camera (digital): Nikon Z6 with Nikkor-Z zoom-lens 24-70mm/2.8
Nikkor-Z zoom lens 14-30mm/4
Nikon Flash SB500