DAAR/studio in exile (2014/15)


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

Book presentation in Venice


Wednesday 4th June

“Architecture after Revolution”


S.a.L.E.-Docks, Dorsoduro 265, Venice

In occasion of the publication of their book “Architecture after Revolution” (Sternberg Press, Berlin 2013), members of DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency) Alessandro Petti, Sandi Hilal and Eyal Weizman will conduct a workshop on Al Masha as a possibility to re-articulate the relation of common and public spaces in Palestine in relation and beyond the events and places of the Arab revolts. This panel brings together architects, artists, activist and researchers to discuss the the role of common spaces today in the struggle of justice and equality. In the second part, in occasion of the presentation of the installation of “Italian ghosts” at the Venice architecture Biennale, DAAR will use colonial modernist architectures as point of departure in order to start a public discussion on colonization, decolonization and revolution in Libya. The workshop will explore the afterlife of Italian colonial architecture, its embarrassing beauty and its implications with crimes committed during the Italian occupation, its role in the construction of Italian identity and its ongoing influence and legacy.


Architecture after Revolution in London


Curator and art critic, Okwui Enwezor, and historian and political scientist Ilan Pappe join DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency) members in conversation to mark the publication of their book Architecture after Revolution (Sternberg Press, Berlin 2013).

This panel brings together an international line up of speakers who will touch on issues such as what decolonization is today, what role architecture can play in transforming decolonisation processes, and how political subjectivity should be re-thought from the vantage point of the displaced and extraterritorial refugee.

Professor Pappé obtained his BA degree from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1979 and the D. Phil from the University of Oxford in 1984. He founded and directed the Academic Institute for Peace in Givat Haviva, Israel between 1992 to 2000 and was the Chair of the Emil Tuma Institute for Palestine Studies in Haifa between 2000 and 2006. Professor Pappé was a senior lecturer in the department of Middle Eastern History and the Department of Political Science in Haifa University, Israel between 1984 and 2006. He was appointed as chair in the department of History in the Cornwall Campus, 2007-2009 and became a fellow of the IAIS in 2010. His research focuses on the modern Middle East and in particular the history of Israel and Palestine. He has also written on multiculturalism, Critical Discourse Analysis and on Power and Knowledge in general.

Okwui Enwezor is a curator, art critic, editor and writer, since 2011 he has been the Director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich. He was Artistic Director of the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale in South Africa (1996-1998), documenta 11 in Germany (1998-2002), Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo de Sevilla in Spain (2005-2007), 7th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea (2008) and the Triennal d’Art Contemporain of Paris at the Palais de Tokyo (2012). Enwezor’s wide-ranging practice spans the world of international exhibitions, museums, academia, and publishing. He is interested in African, European, Asiatic, North and South American art of the 20th and 21st Century, in modern and contemporary art of the African countries and the contemporary art of the African diaspora. Enwezor’s research includes video and photography, archives theory, photographic documentation, photojournalism and museums history. He also studies theories on diasporas and migrations, of post-colonial modernism and the architecture and urbanism of postcolonial African cities.

In collaboration with Delfina Foundation

Book here

Book presentation in Ramallah

Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti will present and discuss the newly published book by DAAR “Architecture after Revolution” at Riwaq, Centre for Architectural Conservation‎
Wednesday February 5th, 2.30pm
Al sharafeh Street, Ramallah
the book

Architecture after Revolution, now Printed!

Posted: 04.12.2013


The work presented in this book is an invitation to undertake an urgent architectural and political thought experiment: to rethink today’s struggles for justice and equality not only from the histor­ical perspective of revolution, but also from that of a continued struggle for decolonization; consequently, to rethink the problem of political subjectivity not from the point of view of a Western conception of a liberal citizen but rather from that of the displaced and extraterritorial refugee. You will not find here descriptions of popular uprising, armed resistance, or political negotiations, despite these of course forming an integral and necessary part of any radical political transformation. Instead, the authors present a series of provocative projects that try to imagine “the morning after revolution.”

Located on the edge of the desert in the town of Beit Sahour in Palestine, the architectural collective Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR) has since 2007 combined discourse, spatial intervention, collective learning, public meetings, and legal chal­lenges to open an arena for speculating about the seemingly impossible: the actual transformation of Israel’s physical structures of domination. Against an architectural history of decolonization that sought to reuse colonial architecture for the same purpose for which it was originally built, DAAR sees opportunities in a set of playful propositions for the subversion, reuse, profanation, and recycling of these structures of domination and the legal infrastructures that sustain them.

DAAR’s projects should be understood as a series of architectu­ral fables set in different locations: an abandoned military base near Beit Sahour, the refugee camp of Dheisheh in Bethlehem, the remnants of three houses on the Jaffa beach, the uncom­pleted Palestinian Parliament building, the historical village of Battir, the village of Miska destroyed during the Nakba, and the red-­roofed West Bank colony of Jabel Tawil (P’sagot) next to Ramallah-­El Bireh.


Meeting Points 7: Antwerp

Ten thousand wiles and a hundred thousand tricks
Curators: What, How and for Whom/WHW
Organizers: Young Arab Theatre Fund/YATF
October 25, 2013 – February 16, 2014 (M HKA)

The title of the project, Ten thousand wiles and a hundred thousand tricks, is a quote taken from “Wretched of the Earth” (1961) by Franz Fanon, a philosopher and a revolutionary, written as a reflection on the Algerian revolution and entitled after the opening lines of the Internationale, the song of the world workers’ movement. In the aftermath of the shockwaves of popular rebellion reverberating across the Arab world since 2011, Fanon’s book opens up a series of important questions pertaining not only to assessments of popular mobilization in the Arab world and the role of the West in the light of current attempts at stabilization that actually entails keeping dictatorship’s state apparatus in place, but also to popular mobilizations unfolding around the world since the beginning of structural crisis of capitalism. Fanon’s reflections on anti-colonial struggles, his unforgiving analysis of the nature of nationalist movements once in power, assessment of violence, centrality he places on the class struggle, his critique of nationalist movements as based in Westernized notions of proletariat and assertion of urbanized lumpenproletariat as ‘spearhead of the revolutionary movement’, endorsement of international consciousness against exclusiveness of identity politics, and of organizational structures as safeguards against ‘pitfalls of spontaneity’, offer relevant tools that could be fruitfully employed for understanding present constellation.


Meeting Points is a multidisciplinary contemporary arts festival focused on the contextualized presentation of art from the Arab World. The 7th edition of Meeting Points is a series of successive exhibitions titled “Ten Thousand Wiles and a Hundred Thousand Tricks” and taking place from September 2013 to June 2014 in several cities of Europe, Asia and the Arab world: Zagreb, Antwerp, Hong Kong, Moscow, Beirut, Cairo and Vienna.

Meeting Points 7 started in September 2013 in Gallery Nova in Zagreb, Croatia, where the exhibition included works by Filipa César, Iman Issa, Rajkamal Kahlon, Kayfa ta & Haytham El-Wardany, Maha Maamoun and Jumana Manna.

Further stations of Meeting Points 7, planned for 2014, are: Hong Kong (in partnership with Para Site), Beirut (in partnership with Beirut Art Center), Cairo (in partnership with Contemporary Image Collective), Moscow (in partnership with the V–A–C Foundation and the Presnya Museum) and Vienna (in partnership with Wiener Festwochen).

Participating artists
Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Marwa Arsanios, Kianoush Ayari, Filipa César, Céline Condorelli, Alice Creischer, DAAR, Paul De Vree, Simone Fattal, Robert Filliou, Simohammed Fettaka, Karpo Godina, Sharon Hayes, Adelita Husni-Bey, Iman Issa, Sanja Iveković, Maryam Jafri, Rajkamal Kahlon, Anton Kannemeyer, Kayfa ta & Haytham El-Wardany, Runo Lagomarsino, Maha Maamoun, Jumana Manna, Azzeddine Meddour, Tom Nicholson & Andrew Byrne, Anatoly Osmolovsky, Artavazd Peleshian, Marta Popivoda, Kerim Ragimov, C K Rajan, Alexander Rodchenko, Edgar Morin & Jean Rouch, Luc Tuymans, Mona Vǎtǎmanu & Florin Tudor.

Workshop Call for Participation: Al-Mashaa’ or the Space of the Common

30 October – 1 November, 2013, at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin /Germany

The workshop takes place in the framework of the international, interdisciplinary symposium A Journey of Ideas Across – In Dialogue with Edward Said, 31 October – 2 November, 2013, at HKW.
Organizer: HKW, Berlin/Germany.
Concept and realization: Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti, DAAR (www.decolonizing.ps), Beit Sahour and Campus in Camps (www.campusincamps.ps), Dheisheh Refugee Camp, together with HKW.

In Western political thought, the notion of public space is often associated with a “collective interest”, a “common good”. However, in other cultural contexts, such as in Arab countries, the notion of public space is seen as suspicious. In years of colonial direct domination, the public has never denoted the “collective interest” of the local population; rather it expressed the arrogant, violent and exploitative power of the white European élite. In the name of the public, state colonial authorities expropriated what people shared in common. For instance, the expropriation of land by colonial authorities in the name of the “public interest” shows how the public does not necessary coincide with the common good. The difference between a static and rhetorical notion of public and the inventing and interactive notion of common has been polarized by the obsession of states apparatus with security and control. The overregulation of public spaces expresses the fear of the authorities to see a plaza, a roundabout, a boulevard transformed into a political space able to undermine state authorities.

Unfortunately, most of the Arab regimes that followed independence from colonialism continue to suffocate the very existence of common spaces. Public spaces -instead of expressing freedom, people sovereignty and dignity- turned into the repressive and conservative face of the regime. The neo-liberal waves that invaded the Arab world during the last two decades dismantled any possibility of a public space linked to common unplanned uses.

However, since 2010, the Arab revolts have opened new political directions and possible re-articulations of the public, the common, and the private. These events could be fundamentally interpreted as the will to re-imagine and re-claim the existence of common spaces. The demonstrations in Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis, the occupations of the roundabout in Tahrir square in Cairo, and Pearl roundabout in Manama are only a glimpse into a more profound struggle for the common political spaces in the Arab world.

During the weeks following the Egyptian revolt that began on January 25, 2011, we observed a public plaza transform into a common space owned by the people themselves. Tahrir Square became the political space where new claims were invented, represented, and translated into political actions. The day after President Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down, protesters began cleaning the space, an act that highlighted the end of a regime and the beginning of a possible new era for the Egyptian people. The space was no longer perceived as public—the space of authority—but rather as the space of the people. Owning the space implied owning the future of the country. Cleaning the square was a gesture of re-appropriation, ownership, and care. In fact, this apparently banal act demonstrated a sense of reconstituted community and collective ownership.
The power of people gathering and transforming public space into a constituent common space manifested itself in other places throughout the Arab world. In February 2011, people began assembling around the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, Bahrain, converting the anonymous infrastructure into a political arena. As in Cairo, this roundabout became a constituent assembly capable of undermining the political regime. Consequently, on March 18, local authorities brutally intervened, completely destroying the roundabout. This demonstrates the importance of a physical space where people can assemble and assert their rights—without it, the virtual space of social networks is ineffective.
The ambiguous nature of contemporary public space can also be observed in Western society. During the summer of 2011, a group of protesters tried in vain to assemble and camp out in several public spaces of New York. Paradoxically, their attempts were limited by regulations and curfews imposed on these spaces. Only on September 17 were the protesters able to set up camp in Zuccotti Park, a privately owned public space. This crack between the public and private perhaps represents all that remains of a shared collective space, what we call a common space, nether public nor private.

The aim of the workshop is to expand the reflection on public space beyond these events and exploring ways in which the public and common spaces are shaped and constituted.

We would like to propose a critical understanding of the contemporary notion of the public by re-imagining the notion of the common. Rather than the term “commons,” more familiar in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, we prefer to use “common” in order to refer to its Latin origin communi. The latin communem is composed of com=cum “together “and mòinis, originally meaning “obliged to participate”. This fundamental aspect of the common, a demand for active participation, is also present in the Arabic term al mashaa’, which refers to communal land equally distributed among farmers. This form of “common land use” was not fully recognized under Ottoman laws – for this reason, masha was not acknowledged under a written title in the Ottoman Code – and was dismissed by colonial authorities for its supposed economical inefficiency. Colonial regimes, interested in territorial control, see in masha land a collective dimension beyond state control. Consequently, masha have been transformed into state land and therefore fall under the control of public land managed by state apparatus. Masha is shared land, which was recognized through practice in the Islamic world. It emerged as a combination of Islamic property conceptions and customary practices of communal or tribal land. Masha could only exits if people decided to cultivate the land together. The moment they stop cultivating it, they loose its possession. It is possession through a common use. Thus what appears to be fundamental is that, in order for this category to exist, it must be activated by common uses. Today we may ask if it is possible to reactivate the common cultivation, expanding the meaning of cultivation to other human activities that imply the common taking care of life (cultivation from Latin colere=taking care of life).

The Refugee Camp as Site of Political Invention
Refugee camps are definitely sites where the categories of public and private no longer make sense. Within camps, neither public nor private property exists. After sixty-four years, Palestinian refugees still cannot legally own their houses (though in practice they do) and the camp is a space carved from the territorial state. Though states and non-governmental organizations are actively participating in conceiving and managing camps, we are still struggling to fully comprehend how the camp form has contaminated and radically transformed the very idea of the city as an organized and functional political community. Thus, the birth of the camp calls into question the very idea of the city as a democratic space. If the political representation of a citizen is to be found in public space, in the camp we find its inverse: here, a citizen is stripped of his or her political rights. In this sense, the camp represents a sort of anti-city, but also a potential counter-site in which a new form of urbanism is emerging beyond the idea of the nation-state.

Considering the returns of Palestinian refugees will not only insist on the changing of the political system of Israel and Palestine, but it will also imply the transformation of the entire region. There are almost half a million refugees in Lebanon and Syria, and two million in Jordan. Exploring the present return means also exploring ways in which the figure of the refugee and its associated spatial regime of dislocation reshape the larger geo-political space of the present.

The format of the workshop
The workshop, that will take place at the Haus Der Kulturen der Welt, is centred on practices and conceptualization of common spaces in the Arab World. It will take the form of discussions around the idea of common space including and beyond the places of the Arab Revolts. There will be the participation of young collective, theoreticians, activists, artists and academics. The participants, some invited and some nominated through an open call, will come from the Mediterranean countries. In order to aloud lively and informal discussions, part of the conversations will take place in private and public spaces in Berlin, involving more directly its inhabitants and engage with local community.


Please submit an abstract not exceeding 500 words (1 page), explaining with what ideas, topics and projects you would like to contribute to the workshop, together with your CV to project assistant Fabian Ledwon, Ledwon@hkw.de by August 17, 2013.
Selected participants will be granted the journey to Berlin and accommodation in Berlin for the duration of the workshop and the symposium. All travel arrangements will be organized by HKW.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10 10557 Berlin – Germany
Tel: +49 (0)30 39 787 0
Supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and Goethe-Institut as part of the German- Egyptian and German-Tunisian Transformation Partnership.

Call for Participation_Workshop Al-Masha or the Space of the Common_30.10.-1.11.2013_HKW

The Life of Forms. Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism

The Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism is an experiment in global conversation based in the South. Located in Johannesburg, we seek to be a critical node in the re-territorializing of global intellectual production. We are a centre for theoretical work that takes seriously a position in the South while addressing international conversations and problématiques. We take the labour of theory and criticism to be significant political work that is crucial to the experimentation in social forms.

The Session will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from June 23 to July 2, 2013 under the theme The Life of Forms. The 2013 participants come from various parts of the world, including Latin America, Asia, Europe, the United States and Canada, and the rest of the African Continent.



Thanks to the generous support of Fondation for Arts Initiatives, we are taking some time to finally write a book centered around DAAR research and architectural projects. The book will be published by sternberg-press by the end of this year.


Workshop rethinking “occupations” – Duke University

Thursday – Friday, March 28-29, 2013
FHI Garage – C105, Bay 4, 1st Floor, Smith Warehouse
Franklin Humanities Institute
Duke University

During the last year a new type of political struggle has emerged in numerous places around the globe, in which activists of all kinds “occupy” public spaces, or turn private spaces public through their “occupation” for relatively long periods of time. “Occupying” has come to designate the main organizing practice of what seems to be a new type of non-governmental politic. It defines a space of action, a form of co-existence and partnership, modes of interaction with governments and media, and a basis for global collaboration. In the occupied spaces citizenship is re-imagined and re-thought, the multitudes emerge in new forms, the system under which they are ruled and governed are questioned with a long forgotten vigor, and power is both sought and challenged in new ways.

However, in this workshop we wish to think the “occupying movement” in relation to the more standard meanings of occupation, both as social role and profession that the market determines and distributes, and as a condition of rule in which the government is not accountable to the ruled population. Demonstrators in the Middle East and elsewhere carried posters saying “Occupy Wall Street, not Palestine”. The contrast is simple and straightforward, but it points to a much more complex field of relation between the visible oppression and subjugation characteristic of Palestine, where military occupation has lasted longer than any existing occupation, and the more subtle interplay of freedom and oppression demonstrated in each and every occupied public (or semi-public) square.