Sea as Land
Infrastructure, Politics and Oil in the Caspian Sea
A videographic essay by Rituparna Simlai, Saadia Mirza , and Ryan Bouma
This video is produced for the 'DES 3241 : Theories of Urbanism, Landscape, Ecology', a course taught by Pierre Bélanger at Harvard University Graduate School of Design in the Fall 2013.
"Following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, five littoral countries posture to control Caspian Sea oil extraction rights. The Caspian is considered a 'special inland sea', a strategic maritime designation that enables ownership of the sea floor and the associated resources below.
Overlapping claims between, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran, as well as contested pipeline infrastructure, contribute to an accelerated militarization of the sea.
Littoral countries are now building navies to patrol the Caspian and Military ships have confronted oil exploration vessels in contested waters. Recent joint military drills between Iran and Russia, simulating defense of oil fields, caught the attention of neighboring countries, the international oil companies who own extraction rights and the governments that back them.
More a disputed land than a body of water, the weaponized Caspian represents a territory of increasing convergence between regional politics, intercontinental infrastructure and global energy."
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