Six years ago, in one of our gatherings inside the Concrete Tent, we asked: do refugee camps have a history? Is the camp just a site of misery or does it produce values that need to be acknowledged and protected? What is going to happen to the camp if Dheisheh is recognized as a World Heritage site? And how should the concept of heritage change in order to acknowledge the camp’s condition?
In 1940, the Fascist regime established the “Entity of Colonization of Sicilian Latifundia / Ente di Colonizzazione del Latifondo Siciliano” following the model of the “Entity of Colonization of Libya” and colonial architecture in Eritrea and Ethiopia. These territories were considered by the regime “empty,” “underdeveloped,” and “backward” and therefore in need to be “reclaimed,” “modernized,” and “repopulated.” For this purpose, the “Entity of Colonization” inaugurated in Sicily eight new rural towns and as many remained unfinished. Today most of these villages have fallen into ruin.
However, what does not seem to be in ruin in Italy is the persistence of colonial and fascist rhetoric, culture, and politics. Despite the fall of fascism following the Second World War, Italy’s de-fascistization remains an unfortunately unfinished process. This is one of the reasons why Italy still has visible architectures, monuments, plaques, and toponymy that celebrate the fascist regime. Furthermore, Italy – having lost its colonies during the Second World War – has never embarked on a real process of decolonization.
In 2017, the nomination of Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its fascist and colonial architecture built during the period of Italian occupation, posed a series of fundamental questions for both the ex-colonized and the ex- colonizers: who has the right to preserve, reuse and re-narrate fascist colonial architecture?
The installation presented for the 2020 Quadriennale d´arte- FUORI at Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, home to the First International Colonial Art Exhibition (1931) and other propaganda exhibitions of the regime, proposes to rethink the rural towns built by the “Entity of Colonization” in Sicily starting from the nomination of Asmara as a World Heritage Site. The installation is the first intervention ”Towards a Decolonization Entity / Verso un Ente di Decolonizzazione” that will be made up of those who feel the urgency to question the broad historical, cultural and political heritage steeped in colonialism and fascism, and thus begin a common path towards new practices of decolonization and reparation.
VERSO UN ENTE DI DECOLONIZZAZIONE, 2020
A project by Sandi Hilal e Alessandro Petti (DAAR)
Photographic dossier: Luca Capuano
Installation: Video projections, photographs and plexiglass
Research and texts: Emilio Distretti, Husam Abu Salem
Graphic design: Diego Segatto, Rosanna Lama
QUADRIENNALE D’ARTE 2020 | FUORI
Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Roma
30 October 2020 > 17 January 2021 more
Hosted by Alserkal, join the Round table discussion “Mutual understanding” with Mary Ellen Carroll, Lumumba Di-Aping, Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti, Katya García-Antón, Basim Magdy, Jahnavi Phalkey and Akeel Bilgrami.
SEPTEMBER 2, 2020, 7PM (GST)
Watch the video recorded conversations between Katya García-Antón, Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti around the question “How will we Return?”
Meanwhile, the Israeli government, with the support of the United States of America, is planning to expropriate more land in Palestine, tonight Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem started its mutation reconnecting itself to the villages of origin.
Dheisheh camp is constituted by the assemblage of people that have been expelled since 1948 from 44 villages south of Jerusalem. Walking today from one neighbor to another is similar to walking from one village to another in 1948. The camp has preserved the names of the villages of origin, the languages, the memories. When colonial aggression intensifies, it becomes more urgent than ever to reconnect the refugee camps to their villages of origin. Images via www.karama.org; Map by DAAR
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 Timișoara, Seoul 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
EVERYDAY FORMS OF RESISTANCE
4-6 October 2019,
Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art Warsaw
Permanent Temporariness & Looking for a Host
Sandi Hilal, DAAR
On Stones in Conflict
Joanna Rajkowska, Sandi Hilal, Wim Catrysse
Discussion moderated by Anna Ptak
شعب بلا شعر ، شعب مهزوم / A People with no Poetry is a Defeated People
Party with DJset by Timo Tuhkanen, Laboratory
Peasant Resistance, Communal Land, and Settlement — then and now
Salim Tamari, Institute for Palestine Studies
Forms of Resistance in Collectivity and Arts
Jaśmina Wójcik, Jumana Emil Abboud, Mohammad Saleh
Discussion moderated by Dominika Blachnicka-Ciacek
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
Fermentation Station: the Table
Performance by Mirna Bamieh, Palestine Hosting Society (registration required)
Urbanity and Biotop. Understanding the logic behind division of the space in Palestine and its influence on society.
Talk by Khaldun Bshara, RIWAQ
Urbanity and Biotop from the artist’s perspective
Ahmad Alaqra, Karolina Grzywnowicz, Wisam Sharabati
Discussion moderated by Simone de Iacobis, Centrala Tasks Force
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
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
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?
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.
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