A year ago, we gave to ourselves to chance to take a sabbatical year to mark out the 7 years of our collaboration and DAAR production. Thanks to the support from the Foundation for Art Initiatives, we finally had the chance to systematize scattered texts written in occasion of exhibitions in a coherent structure of a book. This gave us a sense of conclusion and a new possible beginning.
At the moment that “Architecture after Revolution” will leave its on life, we are preparing ourselves for a new beginning. One central characteristic of DAAR has been the possibility to create a group formed by people that “can not be together”. We profaned national borders and religious affiliations. In the coming years we want to continue and accelerate this “profane collaborations”. For this reason we decide to set up a studio in exile, that will work as a twin with the architectural studio and art residency in Beit Sahour. By having a studio in exile we will have the possibility to work and gather people that could not otherwise be together due the political situation in Palestine. The work will be organized around two winters residency (in Beit Sahour) and a summer residency (in London and other locations).
DAAR/studio in exile aims at creating an intellectual and physical space that allowed architects, artists and researchers from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Libya to undertake common projects in sites inaccessible to some of the group’s members. Providing a network of relations and sites throughout the South-eastern Mediterranean, the “studio in exile” will undo the local relation between architect and site, between social communities and building, and between a building and its context. This will be articulated by looking at and working with diasporic communities, Palestinian and others, in establishing a remote set of relations.
Architecture is produced by the interaction of three basic elements: site, social context and the architect. DAAR/studio in exile seeks to challenge this triangle of local relations by mobilizing “exile” as an architectural and political concept. Exile – that is forced distance between communities, architects, and buildings — is a prevalent condition within fast transforming contemporary South-eastern Mediterranean countries, where an increased number of people are forced to live far from their social, cultural and political context. In DAAR/studio in exile we consider exile, rather than being a state of postponements –delaying actions until a particular time is fulfilled — we consider it as an operational tool for actions that take place into the present able to transgress borders and forced dislocation.
The model for turning exile into an operation context come from DAAR’s long term relation and work with displaced and dispersed Palestinian refugee communities. These communities have no access to the site most important to their political identity – the site of their origins – and are further dispersed between different countries with no immediate access between them. The architecture in exile built in refugee camps was always thought as a bridge to site. In DAARs projects – we used exile as a political concept to connect between refugee groups, themselves and between them and the inaccessible site. Other models for political action at a distance are grounded in DAAR’s long-term analysis of parliaments in exile, and its experience with working remotely in an architectural studio.
One of the location of the studio in exile will take place in London (the place where many governments in exile took place), because it is a neutral ground for people coming from Palestine and elsewhere. During summers – we plan to organize a summer school — as already experimented with in DAAR/Beit Sahour. During two months in July and August it will include lectures, seminars and workshop. The pilot projects for this year and for only two weeks will include architects from Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Libya.
After the initiation of project during the summer, two winter programs – located in Beit Sahour– will implements ideas discussed and proposed during the summer. A yearlong program will culminate back in London with a public forum and an exhibition.
Summer residency at Delfina in London
(24 of June – 7 of July)
Participants: Alessandro Petti, Sandi Hilal, Eyal Weizman, Ismae’l Sheikh Hassan, Muhammed Jabali, Umar al-Ghubari, Shourideh Molavi, Gautam Bham, Ruba Saleh.
Winter Residencies – Studio based program in Beit Sahour
(1 November 2014 – 15 June 2015)
Two winters programs open to ten artists and architects (1 November 2014 – 1 Feb 2015; 1 Feb- 15 June-2015) Open call for the residencies will be published soon.
Summer residency at Delfina in London and other locations
(1 July – 31 August – 2015)
End of the first year cycle and beginning of new investigations.
In collaboration with Foundation for Art Initiatives, British Council, Delfina Foundation