D) Empire / Persistence of the Frontier

Throughout the history of white occupation, the places we call Groom Lake and the Nellis Range Complex have inhabited an in-between space; a space in the seemingly paradoxical position of being both inside and outside the state at the same time. A space of indistinction. During the frontier era, the "black world" known to some people as Newe Sogobia was "outside" the U.S. state. But as the U.S. took and transformed this land, it largely preserved the qualities that had made this land an "outside" – laws didn't apply, things could be done in secret and without consequence, the land could be bombed indiscriminately, and so forth. When the U.S. established much of Nevada as an exclusively military landscape, it was as if the "black-world" of the frontier made a smooth and almost effortless (from the U.S.' point of view) transition into the "blackworld" of military weapons, testing, and secrecy....

... The paradoxical nature of this space – its neither/nor-ness, is a part of an overall testing strategy, a strategy designed to blur the line between the Nellis Range Complex and the places where the "testing" at Nellis will be reenacted "for real." By producing nowhere in the testing sites of Nevada, the U.S. rehearses its ability to reproduce nowhere. Elsewhere.

Groom Lake and the Imperial Production of Nowhere
Trevor Paglen