Derinkuyu – Deep Beneath Cappadocia, Turkey
Today we are digging deep into the bowels and if you thought we were above making poop jokes and talking about our jocks, you do not know us well enough. Please review our archives. You may ask yourself, “under where” or “underwear?” We support either question and believe they both deserve acknowledging! See, underneath our topography (this is getting sexy) is the stuff that dreams are made of, and we don’t share it with the world, only our significant or insignificant others like yourselves. What you won’t see on the map of Turkey is 460,000 square meters reaching 113m beneath the surface. It’s carved out of volcanic “tuff,” which, ironically is prone to collapsing, so tread with care. The “town” has air shafts, water channels, and storage rooms large enough for months worth of supplies as well as livestock. An entire community hid in these tunnels to escape to religious freedom and safety. The underground complex was discovered just recently in 2013 while demolishing public housing. and due to this fantastic discovery, the housing projects were booted to the burbs and art galleries and hotels were erected in their stead to turn the area into a haven for tourists. Hopefully that tourism comes and brings more work for the folks who got booted from their homes, or perhaps they should get to digging to escape such an oppressive situation. Poop. Underwear. Getting treated like shit.
The Labyrinth – Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, USA
“Other explorers are dicks,” is one of our favorite quotes from someone who is clearly hanging out with the wrong mates. The Labyrinth is a system of gas, telephone and trolley lines running beneath Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. Someone at some point decided it was their goal to get down there and explore the tunnels and caves beneath the city in a feat of their own urban spelunking. Others followed, and soon a group of college students who saw themselves as rebellious adventurers began a group they called “The Action Squad.” The squad has since disbanded, or graduated, or just turned against itself. In 2001 they published an intricate map of the underground lair, only to later strip it of any identifying features, otherwise known as what makes it a map. As people began making discoveries, they decided they had laid claim to certain caves and tunnels devolving into children who found a treasure and immediately tore it apart while screaming, “No! It’s mine!” Fights ensued between urban hunters and the city putting locks on entrances and rolling stones over gaps and we would call it all beneath us, but some if this has resulted in actual death threats. The last update on Action Squad’s website was posted in January of 2014. It seems the webmaster, “Max Action” has married off and moved to a farm. While he won’t reveal the Labyrinth, he now reveals his true identity, which is Gabe Sehr, and encourages you to join his CSA, as well as promoting funding for his mapmaker who is attempting to dig his own tunnels. Sounds like a cheater’s way of making maps. Ultimately, the Action Squad is like an angsty, aging metal band. They’ve broken up, but their stuff is still out there.
HI-SEAS (Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) – Hawaii
The most recent mission failed due to “a minor accident” after only 3 days. In other words, the vault was open and everyone had to simulate dying. If this were On a Scale of Fun to Dead, it appears this maxes out on dead, but only in pretend life. While life in the dome is very real, the entire pretext is just that. This is an experiment, testing real people and their ability to suffer through what would be a year on Mars. While you may presume that NASA is testing equipment, the real equipment being tested here is the human element. What exactly are people able to endure? While this community may not be underground, it is very much enclosed with about 1300 cubic feet of living space and only 33 steps across the floor in the largest reach across. Communication with the outside world “ground control” is timed with a 20 minute delay even though earth is outside the door. That earth is the closest representation of Mars in the midst of a volcano, where the crew is tasked with regular exploratory missions that they complete while wearing full space suits. This is one year without fresh air. One year in the close company of strangers who tend to bring music instruments which they are taking this year to learn. One year of dehydrated tangerines and powdered eggs. One year of being completely isolated from the outside world and sleeping next to your own shit in the compost toilet (which got overwhelmed in Mission I requiring some crew members to don tall gloves and create a poop schedule). One year of living life on Mars that would make David Bowie proud. The podcast, Habitat, was recently released on Gimlet Media and follows the mistakes, rage, romance and overall adventure of Mission I. New applicants currently being accepted, you nutballs.