Decolonizing Architecture Advanced Course (2020-2021): Modernism and Demodernization 

Application deadline May 5, 2020

The specific focus of this year’s course is to unveil the connections and relations between modernism and colonialism, and to speculate on possible projects of architectural demodernization. The European colonial/modern project of exploitation, segregation, and dispossession has divided the world into different races and nations, constructing its identity in opposition to “other projects” labeled as traditional or backwards. The suppression of alternatives was, and is, an attempt to create a singular modernist/colonial epistemology, and hence modernity cannot exist without the disqualification and degradation of other approaches, and world views. While architectural modernism, in particular, continues to be celebrated for its progressive social and political agenda, what the modernist rhetoric of progress and innovation obscures is its dark side, namely its inherent homogenizing, authoritarian, and segregational dimensions. These modernist conceptions are still present in contemporary architecture and urban planning; where in the name of modern architecture, entire communities, forms of lives, and historical sites, are erased. While alone, a critique of modernism is not enough, having already been conducted by postmodernism, the task of the present is, additionally, to imagine architectural forms of demodernization.

The course is intended for those with a background in architecture, art, urban research, decolonial theory or activism who are interested in the ideological, social and political dimensions of Architecture. It welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds committed to developing an artistic, architectural and collective practice that is both theoretically and practically engaged in the struggle for justice and equality. The course is particularly relevant for participants interested in collaborative forms of knowledge production that emerge from collective discussions, peer to peer learning and engagement with specific sites and communities.

The courses are led by Alessandro Petti, professor in Architecture and Social Justice in collaboration with Marie-Louise Richards, lecturer in Architecture and enriched by the contribution of advisors and invited guests.

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Deadline application is May 5th, 2020

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Refugee Heritage installations in Dubai, Chicago, Seoul and Timișoara

DAAR, Refugee Heritage (2015-2021)
Photographic dossier Luca Capuano
Photo installation  Kendall McCaugherty

Chicago Architecture Biennial (September 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020)


Chapters and iterations of the ongoing Refugee Heritage project (2015-2021), conceived, publicly discussed and produced in Dheisheh refugee camp in Palestine, have been displayed at the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, Chicago Architecture Biennial, The Art Encounters Biennial in TimișoaraSeoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. Since 2015, DAAR, along with politicians, conservation experts, activists, governmental and nongovernmental representatives, and residents, gathered to discuss the implications of nominating Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem—a place established with the intention of being temporary—as a World Heritage Site. Refugee Heritage presents the heritage nomination application, images of Dheisheh as it is today, and documentation on the current state of the home villages of Dheisheh refugees. By reusing, misusing, and redirecting UNESCO World Heritage guidelines and criteria, Refugee Heritage challenges definitions of heritage and their foundations in colonialism, asking instead how architectural instruments can be undermined, or mobilized as agents of political transformation.


DAAR, Refugee Heritage (2015-2021)
Photographic dossier Luca Capuano
Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Dani Baptista

 Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai  (October 09, 2019 – February 20, 2020)



DAAR, Refugee Heritage (2015-2021)
Photographic dossier Luca Capuano
Photo installation Adrian Catu

The Art Encounters Biennial in Timișoara (September 20–October 27, 2019)


DAAR, Refugee Heritage (2015-2021)
Photographic dossier Luca Capuano

Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism  (September 7– November 10, 2019)

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Concret Tent in Rabat

On occasion of the inauguration of the Rabat Biennale in September 2019, the Concrete Tent project traveled to Marocco. The first Concrete Tent was built in June 2015 in Dheisheh refugee camp as a gathering space for Campus in Camps participants and social events in the camp such as weddings, conflict resolutions meetings, and informal meeting point for the youth in the camp. The desire to build the concrete tent emerged from Campus in Camps participants wanting to give form and material manifestation of the permanent temporariness of the camp. On occasion of the exhibition Permanent Temporariness at the New York University Abu Dhabi Art Gallery in February 2018, a second Concrete Tent was build at the Abu Dhabi Campus. In this new contest, the Concrete Tent became a gathering space for students and teachers at the campus interested in exploring experimental and egalitarian learning environments. Poetry readings, acting, and performances are taking place during the year. Moreover, the space made possible a public conversation around the permanent temporariness of guest workers in the Emirates.

Al Nada neighborhood reconstruction in Gaza: phase I completed

Seventy-five new units have been assigned to families that had their homes destroyed in the Israeli invasion in 2014. Congratulation to the families that can finally enter their new homes.  Since 2016, when DAAR and studio azue, in collaboration with Al Nada – Al Isba Neighborhood Committee, the Beit Hanoun Municipality, the Joint Service Council for the Northern Area, and the Italian Agency for Development and Cooperation, started the process of designing the community-based master plan, many things have been changed. Receiving overwhelming messages of appreciations from the inhabitants of al Nada is the best reward for the efforts made for one of the most challenging projects that we have ever realized.

Photo documentation via  ابرج الندى – الابراج الايطالية

Construction and Reconstruction 

Agency

Reconstruction timeline

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FK2-D_5_tK42idIqIyncn_TvjaaxRH6l/view?usp=drivesdk

 

 

 

2019 Fall seminars and lectures

STATISTA CONFERENCE
13-16 September 2019, Berlin
House of Statistics

The House of statistics was built 1968–70 and served as the headquarters of the GDR’s central bureau of statistics. After the reunification, it housed the Federal Statistical Office of Germany and the Stasi Records Agency. Today, the building near Alexanderplatz is a unique project, in which a broad coalition of urban stakeholders define a pioneering location for urban development: 100.000 sqm in the heart of the city will provide space for culture, social projects, education, affordable housing, a new city hall, and administrative buildings. Partecipants: ExRotaprint, MACAO, CATPC, Campus in Camps, Planbude, Nachbarschaftsakademie Prinzessinnengarten, Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, Chto Delat, ruangrupa.

program

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ARCHITECTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY
16 September 2019, Oslo

Architectural anthropology – processes of creativity, participation, and design. Architect and artist Sandi Hilal will be among the presenters. The seminar aims to inspire dialogue and discussions on emerging topics in the cross-section of anthropology and architecture. The event is hosted by the Work Research Institute, Oslo Metropolitan University and The Nordic Research Network for Architectural Anthropology.

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MENA NATIONALISM
15 September 2019, Malmö Konsthall

Opening Speech By Parvin Ardalan; 12.15 pm, “Art Through War” Mariam Haji (online) + Suzi Yaseen Moderated by Salma Afash. The Conversation will be held in Arabic; 1 pm “Colonial Encounters at the Borderlands: Writing and Resistance”; Behrouz Boochani (online) + Hashem Ahmadzadeh + Rahel Weldeab Sebhatu Moderated by Amin Parsa; The Conversation will be held in Farsi/English; 2 pm Theatrical Performance “Roots” by Hadi Mohedin The Performance will be held in Swedish; Perspectives on Memory and Migration by Ashraf Haddad founder of Malmö Multicultural Center The Speech will be held in English; 3 pm “Exclusions”; Michael Rakowitz + Sandi Hilal + Joanna Lombard Moderated by Ana Maria Bermeo. The Conversation will be held in English. Art Exhibition “Mother Tongue”. Honorary Video Art Display – By CANAN + Işıl Eğrikavuk + Nezaket Ekici + Selda Asal + Savas Boyraz + Çağdaş Kahriman + Pınar Öğrenci. Mother Tongue presents seven video artworks that deal in different ways with experiences from today’s Turkey, from a female perspective. The exhibition is curated by Malin Barth and Brynjar Bjerkem for the institutions Foundation 3.14 and TrAP. Art Director and Graphic Designer: Karim Mortada. Coordinator: Mamak Babak-Rad Program Manager and Host: Parvin Ardalan


MEDITERRANEAN FASCISM(S)
04 October 2019
University of Basel

Over the course of this day-long workshop, participants from a range of disciplines will analyse and theorize the manifold legacies of fascism and colonialism that endure in the myriad crises that now reverberate across the Mediterranean region in the present. As a particular form of political and social logic which circulates within and contours contemporary debates, policies, and state projects, the workshop will both diagram Mediterranean Fascism(s), but will also aim to locate the resistant practices that suggest the possibility of something otherwise being put into motion. Specifically, the workshop will explore what is the place of art, architecture and material heritage in shaping and inspiring practices of resistance and processes of de-fascistization.
Participants: Heba Amin, Ida Danewid, Emilio Distretti, Beth Hughes, Platon Issaias, Emily Jacir, Léopold Lambert, Ian Alan Paul & Alessandro Petti

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EVERYDAY FORMS OF RESISTANCE
4-6 October 2019,
Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art Warsaw

17:00–18:15
Permanent Temporariness & Looking for a Host
Sandi Hilal, DAAR
18:15–19:15
On Stones in Conflict
Joanna Rajkowska, Sandi Hilal, Wim Catrysse
Discussion moderated by Anna Ptak
21:30–00:00
شعب بلا شعر ، شعب مهزوم / A People with no Poetry is a Defeated People
Party with DJset by Timo Tuhkanen, Laboratory
05/10, Saturday
14:00–15:30
Peasant Resistance, Communal Land, and Settlement — then and now
Salim Tamari, Institute for Palestine Studies
16:00–17:30
Forms of Resistance in Collectivity and Arts
Jaśmina Wójcik, Jumana Emil Abboud, Mohammad Saleh
Discussion moderated by Dominika Blachnicka-Ciacek
18:00–19:30
Strategies for the Operation of Cultural Institutions in a Situation of Deficiency: What is the Potential of Culture Institutions Nowadays?
Jarosław Lubiak, U–jazdowski, Juha Huuskonen, HIAP, Khaldun Bashara, RIWAQ, Salim Tamari, Institute for Palestine Studies, Sally Abu Baker, Ramallah Municipality
Discussion moderated by Bogna Świątkowska, Bęc Zmiana Foundation
20:00–22:00
Fermentation Station: the Table
Performance by Mirna Bamieh, Palestine Hosting Society (registration required)
06/10, Sunday
16:00–17:30
Urbanity and Biotop. Understanding the logic behind division of the space in Palestine and its influence on society.
Talk by Khaldun Bshara, RIWAQ
17:45–19:15
Urbanity and Biotop from the artist’s perspective
Ahmad Alaqra, Karolina Grzywnowicz, Wisam Sharabati
Discussion moderated by Simone de Iacobis, Centrala Tasks Force

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STOCKHOLM EXPLORATIVE TALKS
14 October 2019, Stockholm
Nobel Prize Museum & Stockholm Academic Forum

Stockholm Explorative Talks is a forum with an aim to move beyond habitual patterns and methods. A number of carefully selected scholars from different disciplines and from different universities in Stockholm, will be pushed to challenge themselves and each other to try ideas and problems in a creative way. This year theme is Boundaries

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STRUCTURES OF DISPLACEMENT
18 October 2019, Vienna
Institute of Architecture – University of Applied Arts

The UNHCR reported that there were 68.5 million displaced people in the world in 2017. The tangible and intangible dimensions of (forced) human displacement are complex. Displacement inscribes itself in a set of interwoven temporal, spatial, social, economic, legal, and cultural variables. Looking at place, space, and displacement in relation to each other, displacement further manifests in a paradox of temporariness and permanence.We want to discuss what the temporal, spatial, and social implications of human displacement are and how they manifest themselves. In a single question: What are the structures of displacement?

Symposium with Alessandro Petti (DAAR), Mario Rizzi, Romola Snyal, Moderator: Isin Önol


PERMANENT TEMPORARINESS
28 October 2019, Hong Kong
Asia Art Archive

Permanent Temporariness is a condition forcing people to live as eternal guests. The condition no longer applies only to refugees; as a growing population finds itself living somewhere other than its place of birth. The sense of alienation and non-belonging, job precarity, and the lack of access to public services, all permeate vast sectors of contemporary societies. All of which results in a form of inhabitation where everything becomes temporary, and where political action and social engagement are postponed. Trapped between dreaming of permanency, of becoming full citizens (an illusion for the majority of newcomers), and the disempowered condition of migration and exile, is it possible to imagine a full political life despite the regime of permanent temporariness that limits every decision? Beyond the deprivation of temporariness, or the illusion of permanency, how to aspire to meaningful political action in the present moment?

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Permanent Temporariness: book launch and public conversations

Permanent Temporariness is a book, a catalogue, and an archive that accounts for fifteen years of research, experimentation, and creation that are marked by an inner tension and a visionary drive that re-thinks itself through collective engagement. It is the result of the profound desire of its authors, Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti, to look back in connection with the eponymous retrospective exhibition that was inaugurated at the New York University Abu Dhabi Art Gallery and at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven.

This book is organized around fourteen concepts that activate seventeen different projects. Each project is the result of a larger process of collaboration and is accompanied by individual and collective texts and interviews that contextualize and expand the reach of every intervention.

Contributors to projects and texts include Maria Nadotti, Charles Esche, Robert Latham, Salwa Mikdadi, Eyal Weizman, Okwui Enwezor, Munir Fasheh, Grupo Contrafilé, Murad Odeh, and Rana Abughannam. Edited by Maria Nadotti and Nick Axel. The publication of this book has been made possible with the generous support of the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm; New York University Abu Dhabi Art Gallery; Van Abbemuseum; and the Foundation for Arts Initiatives.

You can order the book here

Eindhoven, February 21, 2019, Van Abbemuseum, in conversation with Lieven De Cauter, Nick Axel, Magdalena Malm, Shafiq Kakar, Isshaq Al Barbary, moderated by Charles Esche.

Ramallah, April 13, 2019, AM Qattan Foundation, in conversation with Yazeed Anani 

Paris, May 14, 2019, Institut Suédois, in conversation with Michel Agier and Kader Attia

Lund, March 20, 2019, School of Architecture, in conversation with Per-Johan Dahl

Stockholm, May 28, 2019, ArkDes, in conversation with Walter Mignolo, Marie-Louise Richards, Rahel Shawl, Madina Tlostanova. Introduction by Kieran Long and Sara Arrhenius.

Amsterdam, June 18, 2019, Pakhuis de Zwijger, in conversation with ZUS

Read the conversation with Maria Nadotti

The reconstruction of Al-Nada social housing in Gaza

Reconstruction is often imagined as the counterpoint to destruction. While the two are often seen as opposites, in reality, and particularly that of Gaza, these moments are linked in a cycle. Since 1948, Palestine has been constantly destroyed and reconstructed. In most cases, the effects of reconstruction were more destructive than the destruction itself. At the same time a project of reconstruction reframes power relations and imposes a different kind of space, social structure, and mentality.

What does it mean to reconstruct in a territory that is not only under a blockade, but also faces the imminent threat of yet another war?  Architecture is usually called upon to intervene after conflict. But what role can architecture play during conflict? Is it possible to imagine an architecture that preserves a sense of collectivity in spite of continuous  aggressions?

To think reconstruction means to think of Gaza beyond a military gaze. Reconstruction forces to think about life beyond, or in spite of, war. Reconstruction forces to see things from the ground and from the perspective of the community, rather than from a distance or above. Reconstruction forces to consider longer temporalities of transformations, rather than short-lived events cultivated by the media.

It is within the intersecting force fields of destruction and reconstruction, displacement and return, collaboration and resistance, refugeehood and citizenship, informality and formality, public and private, that in 2016, along with Studioazue, we were commissioned by the Italian Agency for Development and Cooperation to produce a reconstruction plan for Al Nada Neighborhood in close collaboration with the technical team of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Gaza. The objective of the project was to rehabilitate the 386 residential units that were partially damaged during the wars, construct 207 additional housing units, and regenerate urban infrastructures and open spaces. The preparation of the community-based master plan involved the Al Nada and Al Isba Neighborhood Committee, the Beit Hanoun Municipality, the Joint Service Council for the Northern Area, local families, and individuals.

The work for the reconstruction has began in January 2019.

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SEPARATION | in conversation with Charles Esche

Extract from the book Permanent Temporariness

Alessandro Petti This book is the first time we have really acknowledged the part of our practice that materializes itself as an installation or in an exhibition. Even though our projects can start or end as “art,” we have never fully documented or outwardly reflected upon this process. This book accounts for this important aspect of our work, one which has allowed some of our projects to exist.

Charles Esche What do you mean by the art world allowing your projects to exist?

ap Exhibitions play the role of a catalyst. Having to think about a project’s spatial manifestation gives us a certain autonomy from it, as it initially exists only in a specific site and for a specific community. Especially in the context of Palestine, it is very easy to be trapped in the NGO logic that quantifies success and measures impact statistically. The art world was ambiguous and remote enough for us to use it as a critical platform. Instead of being a self-referential space, for us, the exhibition was always a space for experimentation that could not take place elsewhere.

Sandi Hilal Hannah Arendt, in one of her interviews, said: “when I write, I clarify my ideas through the writing.” For us, more than writing, art exhibitions are occasions for being in conversations, to explore and clarify ideas that are far away from our every- day reality. The conversation is a way to share doubts and explore suspicions.

ce But also the artworks or the installations themselves, no? They also seem to be a way of concretizing some suspicions or ideas you have. The photographs and light- boxes of Refugee Heritage, for instance, give you a certain way to talk about and share your experience of being so closely attached to Dheisheh for so many years.

ap One aspect that might clarify our relation with the exhibition space is that it always creates a space of tension. Since most of our projects are very site-specific, the exhibi- tion is a space of necessary alterity that allows us to clarify our understanding of the projects. This means that we never have the intention to either represent the projects themselves, or simply bring the social practice inside the museum. We are not interested in translating our work into exhibitions. For example, Fawwar Square took eight years of community participation to make. We don’t find it interesting to rep- resent or mimic this process in the museum. What is at stake for us in exhibitions is the ability to continue our explorations in different ways. We are not interested in institutional critique, as it tends to merely perpetuate the cultural hegemony of the modernist white cube. If we look at the museum from an architectural perspective, however, we could ask ourselves how to reuse the white cube of the museum for aims different from those it was design for. This speculative approach opens a much more constructive way to engage with it that is not only critical, but also engages in an ongoing process of its transformation.

continue reading here

videos and pictures Van Abbemuseum exhibition

INAUGURATION OF AL-MADHAFAH  THE LIVING ROOM PROJECT IN THE YELLOW HOUSE IN BODEN 

September 1st, 2018

Located between the domestic and the public sphere, Al-Madhafah, in Arabic, is the living room dedicated to hospitality. It has the potential to subvert the role of guest and host and give a different socio-political meaning to the act of hospitality. It seeks to mobilize the condition of permanent temporariness as an architectural and political concept able to challenge the binaries of inclusion and exclusion, public and private, guest and host. It activates the rights of temporary people to host and not to be eternally a guest, the right to claim life in the new destination but without feeling obliged to revoke the desire to belong to the life back home

Al Madhafah the living room is a project created by Sandi Hilal, based on her experience conducting fieldwork for the Public Art Agency Sweden with refugees in the city of Boden, Sweden, in November 2016. Boden is a former military town located in northern Sweden, 80 kilometers from the arctic circle. From being a military town, it has now become an important reception center for asylum seekers. The project is inspired by a story about a Syrian refugee couple Yasmeen and Ibrahim, who had moved to Boden from Syria two years previously, and drew on the tradition of hospitality, never accepting that they should give up their right to be hosts in their new home. They continued what was an important part of their life in Syria, opening up their living room to host both Swedes and others. The living room, when opening itself to host the stranger guest, functions as a self-representational space, that has the potential to subvert the role of guest and host and give a different socio-political meaning to the act of hospitality. The possibility of hosting had become, for them, a way to regain access to their lost personal and collective history, combining their lost life in Syria with their new life in Sweden. By exercising their right of hosting and activating their living room, Yasmeen and Ibrahim no longer felt themselves to be statistics, passive guests in Sweden but to be owners of their own story.

Over the past two years, the Public Art Agency Sweden, Bodenbo, Havremagasinet and the Defense Museum Boden have collaborated with the architect Sandi Hilal and  Yasmeen Mahmoud and Ibrahim Muhammad Haj Abdullah in the Al Madhafah / Living Room art project. With common forces, a local living room has been created, a place where conversation, cooking, and learning become art and the exchange of knowledge. Al Madhafah / The Living Room in the Yellow House at Prästholmen is a work of art, but also a living room open to those who want to host new encounters.

Living Room, a short film about the first phase of the project directed by Ana Naomi de Sousa, was commissioned by ArkDesk, Stockholm, with the support of Public Art Agency Sweden.

Al Madhafah is a project by DAAR: Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti in collaboration with Yasmeen Mahmoud, Ibrahim Muhammad Haj Abdulla, and Ayat Al-Turshan. A network of various living rooms activated simultaneously in five different locations:  the house of Yasmine and Ibrahim (1)  and The Yellow House in Boden supported by the Public Art Agency Sweden (2),  ArkDes Museum in Stockholm (3)  Fawwar refugee camp in south of the West Bank (4),  and in the  living room of Sandi and Alessandro in Stockholm supported by the Arab Fund for Art and Culture (AFAC) (5). The five spaces interact, inspire, and feed each constantly.

Al Madhafah / The Living Room in Boden is included in Art Happens:
Art Happens (2016-2018) is part of the Swedish government initiative Äga rum, where the Public Art Agency Sweden was commissioned to produce examples of public art in the million program. After a long selection process, 15 areas were selected for implementation. Read more about Art Happens at statenskonstrad.se.