There’s a new book that explores this dichotomy of spaces, both real and political. It’s called “Spaces of Disappearance: the Architecture of Extraordinary Rendition.” Its author, Jordan Carver, is a writer, researcher and the Henry M. MacCracken Doctoral Fellow in American Studies at New York University. Carver has a formal background in architecture and he seeks to create an understanding of the dark side by making it visible.
“Spaces of Disappearance” is a comprehensive visual history of the Bush administration’s detention and interrogation program. The spatial layouts of CIA black sites, interrogation rooms, and prison cells are rendered in architectural diagrams, recreated from the account of prisoners held in those sites. Alongside other visual elements — satellite images of the black sites in Romania and Afghanistan, snippets of the insidiously bureaucratic memos justifying torture, and photographs of the actual prisoners of this program — the book places the reader in these once unknowable spaces, to make an incomplete history seem slightly less incomplete.