Showing Decolonizing Architecture

Posted: 01.09.2008

Decolonizing Architecture will be soon shown in two european exhibitions.
At first in Gemak Gallery (Den Haag, Holland) in the frame of No Man’s Land? exhibition from 6th September to 31st October.

Afterwards inside the Venice Biennale of Architecture, Padiglione Italia, from 10th September to 23rd November.

The final set will be shown at the Bozar (Bruxelles) from 31st October to 4th January.

Stateless Nation at the Still Life exhibition in Leeds

Posted: 17.06.1008

Stateless Nation – Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti

Architects and artists Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti of Decolonizing Architecture present their exhibition and long term research stateless nation presented at the Venice biennale 2003. The work explores the current Palestinian condition, including suffering military occupation, undergoing alienation in one’s own native land, and exile. In particular the work investigates and observes the new relationships between territory, state and populations, and further reflects the new meanings and implications of this on the physical and social Palestinian experience of space.

21.06.08 at Henry Moore Institute in Leeds

Decolonizing Architecture at “Islands + Ghettos”

Posted: 17.06.2008

There will be a preview of Decolonizing Architecture within the project Islands + Ghettos taking place at the Heidelberger Kunstverein in Heidelberg from February to September 2008.
The stereoscopic videos by Armin Linke and Francesco Mattuzzi will be shown during the exhibition (from 06.06. to 31.08.2008) and Alessandro Petti will give a lecture about the project on the 18th of June.

1000 Thoughts in 1 Bethlehem night – 11.06.2008, 07.30 pm

Posted: 09.06.2008

A series of informal meetings designed to open up a space for the exchange of thoughts and project developments.

11, June 2008, 07.30 pm

Mujaawara vs. Decolonization
The importance of perceptions, references, and relationships

The choice of words and meanings reflect our references, and form our perceptions, and control our relationships… This has been detrimental in the case of the Palestinians; and we don’t seem to be healing from it…

I am choosing the word decolonization as an example of rootless words, and suggesting the word mujaawara instead, as a nurturing tooted word…

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Munir Fasheh was born in Jerusalem in 1941, forced out in 1948 and since
then has been living basically in Ramallah. He taught math and physics at Birzeit University and in the United States. He worked with West Bank schools for 5 years in the 1970s. And later established Tamer Institute in Ramallah in 1989. In 1997, he established the Arab Education Forum at Harvard University’s Middle Eastern Studies department. He resigned in October 2007 and came back to Ramallah. The common thread of his work since 1971 has been how to build on what is abundant, beautiful,
inspiring, and healthy in people, communities, and
in culture…

1000 Thoughts in 1 Bethlehem night – 26.05.2008, 07.30 pm

Posted: 25.05.2008

A Trilogy on Tehran

Today Iran’s population is twice as big as it was before the revolution of 1978. Over 70% of the population is younger than 25. About 80% of the society can read and write. Before the revolution only 40% of the Iranians could do so. Young people are self confident. They are on their way to change the society, although slowly but certainly. Through these changes, conflicts between the generations obviously grow. One effect is the increasing number of young people, who run away from their homes. Most of them are girls between 15 and 18 years.

The documentary Good Times/Bad Times is about five young people, each as a representative of a certain group in the Iranian society, whereas the so called ‘Run away Girls’ are absent. Because, although they are visible in the city, in the society they mainly seem to be invisible. And, as they have decided to leave their homes, I do not see the right to `present` them in front of the camera. So I decided to mention them, but not to make an eye catching subject out of them for the video.

Tehran 1380 is an attempt to go one step deeper into the city of Tehran. The city was analyzed in the first video, the new inhabitants of it shall be the subject of the second one. The camera gets closer to the characters and focuses on the city from another point of view. Without an Off-Text, and using as less obvious explanations as possible, images shall get more importance. The video is a description of one moment. It has no definite ending, just as no thesis exists about the next future of the Iranian society.

Persepolis is the third video of the Tehran Trilogy. The title of the work is the name of a modern high rise building in north Tehran in which the author lives. It’s a collection of the memory of Tehran. Neighbors of different ages describe the city in different times. Neither the person nor the city is visible. Voices and images of living-rooms are the only elements through which the viewer can imagine the city and its inhabitants.

Excerpt from a text in Flash Art, Chus Martinez (2006):

Urban Development in Istanbul: The Compounds (new work)
The new upper classes have found homes in the prosperous pettiness and civic mindedness of the gated communities. The insipid colors of the high buildings match the green grass of the tennis courts as well as the turquoise of the inviting but lonely swimming pools. Removed from the loud and moody mass movements of people and traffic in the streets of downtown Istanbul, these compounds are built around the notion of difference. This difference leaves behind a pleasing feeling of self-sufficiency: it suggests, vaguely but intensely, that the country beyond the limits of the compound moves towards a regulated future, a promise of sustainable happiness perhaps with space for a few more – but who knows… Difference alone is not enough to elicit pleasure… The term exotic is normally attached to more colorful and faraway things than these strange wastelands in the middle of nowhere, quite disconnected from the city center. In this way, the work features a new twist on exoticism: the private club as the perfect platform for a rehearsal of life removed from the inconveniencies of life itself.

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Solmaz Shahbazi was born in Tehran in 1971, and now divides her time between Germany and Iran. She completed her studies in fine arts and architecture at the Akademie der bildenden Kuenste in Germany in 2000, and since then, has been producing video and photographic works. She uses the documentary format in both her videos and her photography as a tool to analyse different modes of imagery, expectations of the unknown and affecting perception. Her collection of images testify to the potentially fictitious nature of the photographic medium, providing a view as to how we filter images, formulate conceptions—and ultimately awakening us to the fallibility of preconception, the power of the photographic frame. In addition to the 7th Sharjah Biennial, the 9th International Istanbul Biennial in 2005 and 1st Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art Shahbazi’s work has been exhibited widely in Europe, USA and the Middle East since 2001.

Spatial Intervention 01: Hotel Oush Grab

Posted: 17.05.2008

Today Fabio, Bianca, Jesse and Anne have been painting in Oush Grab in order to re-de-colonize the space which had been visually occupied by israeli settlers. The zionist writings on one building and on the water tower were first nicely covered with a thick layer of white paint. Hotel Oush Grab was then set up in the first building. 3 confortable suites in a peaceful location and with a super nice view of the surrounding palestinian landscape. Soon Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Ghandi came and moved in. Che Guevara, Edward Said and Aung San Suu Kyi are expected to come after them, so no rooms will be free for settlers for a long time…

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Puzzling creative visual resistance: The buildings of Oush Grab after the re-occupation by the settlers and after the artists’ détournement


Gaza settlements completely erased

Posted: 06.05.2008

Last night our friend Andrea Merli visited us and showed us some stunning fotos he took in Gaza, in areas where Israeli colonies used to be. Some of them, like Netzarim and Nisanit, apparently have been completely erased from the landscape. Nothing of the settlement, except some streets and the green houses (the only cultivated land) is there anymore.