Catacombs

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More than twenty thousand square feet of underground passageways run beneath Market and Delaware streets in downtown Indianapolis. Most residents don’t know why the catacombs were first built in 1880, although a copy of The Indianapolis Register from July 1886 hints that the network of tunnels accommodated the city’s red light district. “Our practical leaders know they cannot eradicate the vice that is spreading from Chicago and Detroit,” says the editorial. “Yet being a modest Midwestern town, we can certainly conceal it underground.”

During this year’s Indianapolis Film Festival, the catacombs will be open to the public for a screening of Fight Club on May 16. More importantly, the following Saturday night marks the kick-off of the city’s first proper fight club which, of course, is not being advertised. However, sources indicate that the owners of the conservative powerhouse Freedom 95 Radio will face off against four randomly selected Democratic members of the city council. Although this match-up has yet to be confirmed, it is worth noting that in a public ceremony at City Market on Monday morning, council member Jose Evans changed his party affiliation to Republican.

Learn more about Indianapolis at the Bureau of Manufactured History

by Oliver Blank and James A. Reeves

Inspired by the methodology of Surrealism and the madness of Dada, the Bureau of Manufactured History works to uncover the unconscious content of the city. As our lives and neighborhoods become increasingly hyper-planned data-driven sites for commerce, the need for unpredictability, mystery, and romance becomes more urgent. “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth,” wrote Albert Camus, and the fictions of our cities deserve more attention.

With this principle in mind, we will collect rumors, dreams, historical moments, personal reports, and coincidences that can be reconfigured into a chaotic wide-angle portrait of today’s city. Cities are subjective and wildly emotional creatures, and the Bureau shall bear witness to the dreams of the people who make them tick.

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