In conjunction with the exhibition, a panel co-presented with the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House convened a group of individuals from diverse disciplines and backgrounds, including Iain Boal, Teddy Cruz, Alessandro Petti, Geoff Manaugh and Kimberli Meyer on Wednesday, January 26 at REDCAT.
On May 6 2008, Eyal Weizman presented Decolonizing Architecture at REDCAT in Los Angeles.
Selected by ARTFORUM in January of 2010 as one of the top ten projects of the decade, Decolonizing Architecture was originally conceptualized and its pilot stage produced in dialogue with Eloisa Haudenschild and Steve Fagin, partners in the haudenschild Garage, Spare Parts projects.
Decolonizing Architecture is a collaboration between the haudenschild Garage and London-based architect and theorist Eyal Weizman and Bethlehem-based architects Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti. Decolonizing Architecture is a multi-pronged project that addresses the possibilities of understanding and redesigning Palestine in preparation for a post-evacuation time and context through two case studies, the former military base, Oush Grab, and the settlement of P’sagot. A scale model, architectural plans and public events, including an exhibition and symposium with Eloisa Haudenschild, Steve Fagin, Sandi Hilal, Eyal Weizman, Alessandro Petti and Lieven de Cauter at the Bozar Center for Fine Art in Brussels (October 31 2008 – January 4, 2009), were produced around plans for turning the fabric of the case studies into Palestinian public institutions.
The Manual of Decolonization was the result of a residency at Decolonizing Architecture in August 2008 with Salottobuono (www.salottobuono.net). The manual was a choral work where different approaches stood out at the same time. The production of the manual was supported by the haudenschild Garage and based upon a series of meetings with the “stakeholders” in this process including representatives from various organizations, community members, NGOs, government and municipal bodies, academic and cultural institutions, and local resident associations. Click here to view the manual.
The manual and scale models were on view in Los Angeles at SUPERFRONT as part of the exhibtion UNPLANNED: Research and Experiments at the Urban Scale (March 25 – July 2, 2010).
In 2009, the project was presented at the Venice Biennale and was selected for the 11th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale (2008). Decolonizing Architecture has also been exhibited at COAC in Barcelona (2009) and at the 4th International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam (2009-2010).
Decolonizing Architecture is a project set up in 2007 as a research studio and residency program in Beit Sahour, Bethlehem. The studio examines architecture to articulate the spatial complexities of decolonization, taking the conflict over Palestine as their main case study. Collaborating with a range of individuals including artists, filmmakers, activists, academics, and non-profit organizations to embark on a broad spectrum of critically-engaged and highly-focused research projects, the studio works within a spatial reality of the occupied territories. Offering new possibilities for insight and engagement, the studio aims to inaugurate an “arena of speculation” that incorporates varied cultural and political perspectives as interventions within the political, legal, and social force fields that exist there.
For REDCAT, Decolonizing Architecture will develop an exhibition — their first presentation in the U.S.— that builds on their work over the last three years. Comprised of research material, photography, architectural models, video/film works, and a series of books, the exhibition brings together three core projects (De-Parcelization, Return to Nature and The Red Castle and the Lawless Line) to recast the largely discredited term decolonization and to consider how the transformation of financial, military and legal infrastructures in the area can lead to what the architects have called “the construction of counter apparatuses that find new uses for the abandoned structures of domination.”
De-Parcelization deals with a fundamental question of how Israeli-built structures can be reused, recycled or re-inhabited by Palestinians. Taking Psagot in Ramallah, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, as a case in point, the project turns the “geography of occupation” against itself by superimposing pre-settlement maps. Return to Nature attempts to transform former army barracks in Bethlehem into a bird observatory for migrating birds, working with the Palestinian Wildlife Association. Their most recent project The Red Castle and the Lawless Line takes the 5-meter band, the literal ink line drawn on the map of the 1993 Oslo Accords, as extraterritorial space unlegislated by Israeli or Palestinian control, and as a critical site for architectural appropriation and intervention.
Assembled together for the first time at REDCAT, the three projects represent the visual products of research initiated by the studio and its collaborators including Michael Baers, Amina Bech, Suzanne Harris-Brandts, Nadav Harel, Armin Linke, Francesco Mattuzzi, Sara Pelligrini, and Diego Segatto. The studio was recently re-established as the Decolonizing Architecture/Art Residency to capture its full range of activities and programs.
About Eyal Weizman
Eyal Weizman is an architect based in London. He studied architecture at the Architectural Association in London and completed his PhD at the London Consortium, Birkbeck College. Weizman is a founder member of DAAR. He is the director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Before this role, Weizman was Professor of Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Weizman works with a variety of NGOs and Human right groups in Israel/Palestine. He co-curated the exhibition A Civilian Occupation, The Politics of Israeli Architecture, and co-edited the publication of the same title. These projects were based on his human-rights research, and were banned by the Israeli Association of Architects. They were later shown in the exhibition Terriories in New York, Berlin, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Malmoe, Tel Aviv and Ramallah. Weizman has taught, lectured and organised conferences in many institutions worldwide. His books include The Lesser Evil (nottetempo 2009), Hollow Land (Verso Books, 2007), A Civilian Occupation (Verso Books, 2003), theseriesTerritories 1, 2 and 3, Yellow Rhythms and many articles in journals, magazines and edited books. Weizmanis a regular contributors to many journals and magazines and is an editor at large for Cabinet Magazine (New York). Weizman is the recipient of the James Stirling Memorial Lecture Prize.