Feral Federation

FERAL FEDERATION reveals emerging, contested geographies – a growing constellation of urban enclaves governed by non-state actors.

So-called ‘feral cities’ operate beyond the control of nation-states, outside the rule of law. Instead of local governments, ‘feral cities’ may be ruled by cartels, militias, paramilitaries, or non-governmental organizations. Military doctrine is shifting to target ‘feral cities’ as prime loci of impending geostrategic conflicts. These ‘feral’ geographies are thought wild, untamed, unpredictable, and potentially targets.


FERAL FEDERATION manifested as an exhibit and installation at the Rubin Center in Fall 2016. The exhibit appropriates the tools of nation-building at the service of these rogue cities. A feral frieze displays the historical legacy of ferality. This visual history collects references from literature, science, film, and popular culture to envision the many worlds inscribed by concepts of ferality. The frieze reveals the changing use of the term – once reserved for animals and humans living beyond the confines of civilization, the term has recently entered the popular imagination as a designation of space, place, and territory.

An online interactive map serves as the first publicly available database of ‘feral cities,’ culled from references in recent military publications, academic scholarship, and public news-sources.

A feral library collects essential texts on ferality and its impact on the city.

The space is filled with the materiality of ferality. Rubble from construction waste, often indexed by military analysts to assess the degree of urban destruction and disorder in feral environments, serves as a substrate for feral vegetation.

Project updates at www.feralfederation.org


Feral Frieze Excerpt