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Guantanamo Bay Museum of Art and History

Guantanamo Bay, or Gitmo as it is usually referred to, is one of those places that doesn’t seem to exist. No one really gets to see the place, as reporters’ and other visitors’ experiences are carefully shaped and guided by U.S. authorities. The detention camp, as a place where people are held, interrogated, and sometimes tortured, remains an imaginary place for all but the prisoners and the national security officials who operate it. Week by week, we seem to read both of its imminent closure and its stubborn persistence, making the end of the prison paradoxically appear as inevitable and impossible.

The Guantanamo Bay Museum of Art and History (GBMAH), an imaginary museum that speculatively exists in place of the prison, draws its power from this resonance: if Gitmo exists because of one fiction, perhaps another can close it? In other words: If one form of legal and political exception allowed for Gitmo to emerge, perhaps another kind of imaginative exception is needed to finally make it nothing more than a memory.