COMPOST logo in blue over water reflections
COMPOST logo in blue over water reflections


mai ishikawa sutton and Tal Milovina

Traditional Dhow at the shore during sunset.
Traditional Dhow at the shore during sunset.

Trek into the Unknown

Chantal Onyango


Alexandra Kumala

Musselled Out

Dolly, Niall, Eamon Foreman, Elinor

Throwing a net around the sea

jacob sujin kuppermann

Ribeirão da Paciência

Portal sem porteiras

relating to the infinite


Distributed Press workmark written in black Gothic text on blue.
Distributed Press workmark written in black Gothic text on blue.

A New Medium for Your Messages

mai ishikawa sutton and mauve

Musselled Out

Dolly, Niall, Eamon Foreman, Elinor

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Musselled Out is a game about conservation, borders and surveillance in the Mediterranean.

In the past few years, the EU has increased its “maritime ‘awareness” in the Med1. This “awareness” has sought to link two issues—the defense of borders and the protection of marine ecosystems—and has been implemented through the notoriously brutal security agency, Frontex.

To justify its oppressive approach to administering EU border policy, Frontex has relied on a particularly pernicious form of greenwashing. Going far beyond the remit of PR slogans and soundbites, greenwashing for Frontex is a material/strategic reality that involves deploying the very same funding and infrastructure to monitor both people and environmental change. This has been seen in several of their initiatives including CISE2, Copernicus3 and their campaigns against environmental crime4. From drones and underwater sensors to satellite data, tools of violence have been recast as a crucial means of tracking marine pollution, illegal fishing and temperature rise, among other ecological issues. This multi-purpose approach has enabled European nations to develop fluid borders that can easily expand to requirements, transforming a once common space—the high seas—into a securitised plain of defense. It has also provided an ethical guise, allowing Frontex to conceal or justify their numerous abuses: workplace harassment, alleged fraud in public procurement, and the covering up of illegal push-back operations conducted by Greece and other states.5

Musselled Out looks at how surveillance infrastructure is normalised, and how border enforcement agencies attempt to justify their actions in an environmental context. In doing so, it aims to situate Frontex’s work in a broader colonial history that has legitimized land-grabbing as a conservationist endeavor, while also questioning the efficacy of conservation as a means of supporting ecosystems.

Both conservation and borders rest on a premise of division. We ask: Can the siphoning off of small protected areas really provide a sustainable solution to the systemic effects of climate change? As infamous emitters, why should we rely on security agencies to enforce environmental standards? How can we build forms of resistance to their violence?


Dolly is a London-based writer and filmmaker, focusing on  technology, politics and culture. Her work has been published in Current Affairs, Real Life, Hyperallergic and the Baffler, among other publications. Niall makes games and interactive art in Glasgow. Eamon Foreman is a musician, electronic producer and sound designer based in Porto/London. Elinor is a trainee solicitor at a public interest law firm in London. Her recent work has focused on group claims on behalf of asylum seekers who have crossed the English channel. She enjoys making visual art in her free time and is currently developing her practice as an illustrator.