James Newitt


HAVEN is a critical and poetic reworking of the bizarre story of a tiny, unrecognised micronation on an abandoned World War II gun tower in the North Sea. The tower has been occupied since the 1960s by a British family, who claim the artificial territory as their own, independent from state power.

Originally intending to use the tower to broadcast pirate radio, the family worked with two cyber-libertarians in the early 2000s to establish the world’s first data haven—what they described as “pirate internet.” The data haven promised to be a refuge for unregulated data – the only truly safe place in the world to keep information. HAVEN explores the tower as a paradoxical site: at once promoting sovereignty and autonomy while being inaccessible, exposed to the elements and controlled by a closed and isolated family unit.

HAVEN’s experimental narrative approach speculates on the rift that occurred between the family and the data haven’s founders. It also touches on other failed utopias and neoliberal ventures, such as the libertarian Seasteading project, which aims to build floating communities that they describe as ‘start-up countries’, and Microsoft’s Project Natick, the world’s first undersea data center. HAVEN incorporates these references to question the possibility the sea provides for extraterritorial places — spaces beyond the territory of the state — while also critically analysing the often capitalist and colonialist ideologies behind such ventures.

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Public Programme

Guided tour and Listening session “Haven”
James Newitt, João Polido
Guided Tour /Listening session
Boavista Gallery