For a freeing architecture at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale
The project “Talking Stones” explores the effects of the Israeli colonial policy of apartheid in the cities of Acres and Hebron, based on stories and practices related to the memory of places, multiple affiliations, experiences of exile and aspirations to return to Palestine, during the “16th International Architecture Exhibition – Venice Biennale 2018: Free Spaces”.
It is initiated by the MedFil Humanities Institute thanks to the participation of Venetian partners (Pas-e and Bienniale Urbana) and international ones (Riwaq in Palestine and others). The team is working with a group of local volunteers in Palestine, composed of students, young workers, architects and artists, and inhabitants, in collaboration with Italian participants.
It gives rise to two workshops, Studio Palestine from 29 to 31 August at Studio Pas-e, Cannaregio 3561, Venice and Topographies, from September 2 to 4, with the creation of a space of intervention and exhibition from September 10 to November 15 2018, within the program Lieux infinis with Esperienza Pepe / Biennale Urbana, in Caserma Pepe on the Isle of Lido.
The task of the project consists of exploring the cities of Acres and Hebron since 1948, through a connection between cultural heritage and the production of space under the occupation, where collective memory and architecture meet one another. The questioning of this space-time will be lead following different paths: it will include a model of one district of Hebron as well as a mapping of the cities, audio and video interviews with old inhabitants, photographies of the places and the ruins, a gathering of popular arts, craftsman-ships and raw materials.
These several patterns aim to expunge the rigid boundaries between scholars and young people, between professional artists, architects, video makers and the public, to avoid the petrification of the spectator in favour of a real experimentation where no subjective point of view is excluded.
As it is well-known, colonization has a plastic grasp on both collective memory and public space. At these levels, Palestinian people have suffered and still suffer from a multiple process of “deconstruction”: several scales of disintegration, fragmentation, settler colonization and military occupation which ghettoized an entire society behind walls and checkpoints, forced exile and living in refugee camps for 70 years.
Consequently, our project is part of a movement opposed to this mortifying deconstruction, it is thought of to “build” the conditions to think of a future, starting from the resistance to the ruins of the present, as it exists in cultural heritage and daily life. The project is on the one hand to build continuity and a future-oriented attitude precisely where occupation brought fragmentation and depletion. On the other to question the meaning of a decolonial architecture, as in rebuilding houses that have been destroyed, repairing historical abandoned monuments, places of worship and socializing spaces.
August 29th-31th, 2018
Studio Pas-e, Cannaregio 3561, Venise
Topographies are measured to architecture in a temporal perspective, and on an immaterial and affective dimension of space, where space is in interaction with subjective and collective memory.
The project, a nomadic work-in-progress, will give rise to a work of sound composition, oriented towards the sound creation and the musical creation and its elements of the voice and the song, the traditional music of the Middle East, where the voice has a great importance, the contemporary music, the sound creations of the participants, the collective narratives, stories, and poetry … By using sound archives as well as new realizations, it is possible to build a geographical topography but also historic, both at once. The morphology of territories corresponds to sound recordings.
In this intimate journey of listening (of the other) lies the political use of language, voices materialize, sounds circulate in living spaces, silences protect the inexpressible.
As in music, composition is a necessary element of architecture, where differences are expressed.
We develop a path, a dual circuit that goes from the collection and recording of stories and their contexts, to the realization of a cartography describing the places, situating stories, archival documents, and images; this journey is materialized in a constellation composed of all these elements in a new geography.
A collection of oral and visual stories that reflect everyday life, places of life, work, passage and memory, music (radio archives and sound creations, voices, songs, background sounds, music, interviews and conversations, etc.) collected.
September 2d to 4th, 2018
Caserma Pepe, Lido di Venezia
1948, a milestone in the modern history of the Palestinian people, is also the date of the creation of the State of Israel on the ruins of Palestinian society. Palestinians identify this date as a day of disaster, Al-Nakba, which destroyed the cultural, architectural and social infrastructure of historic Palestine.
Al-Nakba is a collective trauma, a place of memory for an entire community and a matrix of a nascent nationalist political narrative.
The destruction of Palestinian homes and traditional lifestyles, combined with the separation and brutal situation of uprooting and loss of origins, has materialized through the accumulation of refugees exiled into distant camps and in the heart of historic Palestine. The camp became the “other self” of the Israeli colony built on the territory of destroyed towns and villages, turning into a mirror of a Palestine absorbed by Israel. In addition, thanks to the development of a national consciousness, stateless Palestinian refugees have drawn from the popular and scientific literature of the Nakba to build a lost Palestine future.
Studio Palestine will explore the architecture of the occupation and its historical development in recent decades in the city of Hebron. A model of a district of the city will be realized on the spot and stories of the daily life of the city and the struggles will be created through images and drawings gathered around the problematic of the production of the space and its consequences, the heritage and patrimonial legacy and the transformation of itineraries and neighborhoods since 1948, through cartography.
Night of September 3, 2018
Retrospective of documentary films
MedFil Humanities Institute (France-Palestine) – http://medfil.org
Pas-e (Italy) – http://www.pas-e.org
Biennale Urbana (Italy) – http://www.biennaleurbana.com
Riwaq (Palestine) – http://www.riwaq.org
Arab Youth Association Haifa (Israel) – http://momken.org
NGO Zochrot (Israel) – http://zochrot.org
The 6b Saint Denis (France) – http://www.le6b.fr
Marina Nebbiolo – MedFil Humanities Institute (blueno-log.org)
Victor Nebbiolo di Castri and Valeria Zane – Pas-e (infopas-e.org)
Andrea Curtoni and Giulia Mazzorin – Bienniale Urbana (infobiennaleurbana.com)
Elisa Cecchinato (canenmsgmail.com)
Lorenzo Romito – Stalker / Rome ON (lorenzo.romitogmail.com)