Decolonizing architecture art recidency

May 2, 2018

Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal presented their work Refugee Heritage, as a part of the conference Decolonizing Architecture, which is organized by the Decolonizing Architecture Advanced Course and the Research Lab at Royal institute of Art, KTH, Konsthall C and Tensta konsthall.

They describe their work as research-based, asking relevant questions, always collaborations with different kind of communities and disciplines, working in an exhibition-space which allows experimentation, and finally a learning environment. DAAR’s view of decolonialism is the right to history and public space.

They have been working in Palestine refugee, and in Boden,  with the question of a refugee heritage.

Sandi Hilal explains the complexity of being an palestinian refugee, where they hold on to a temporal and individual life, since they are afraid of losing their history, and therefore lose their right to the land, instead of recognizing that they are part of a community.  So they hold on to the role of an victim, as part of protecting their history. On the same time, Hilal and Petti says, it is an active political life built during 70 years, and actually a very collective space.

DAAR ask themselves:

Is it possible to think of an architecture of refugees?

How can we bring back politics to public space?

Do refugee camps have history?

The life as a refugee is a non-normalisation and a temporality, with no history and no future.

So how to work with architecture?

They tried to inscribe the camp to world heritage, but then the questions came who has the right to nominate?

A concrete tent was built to create a collective narration, and to show the desire of permanency and also to create agency of a refugee.

The question of how do we find agency as a refugee, was explored further on in Boden.

Boden lies in the north of Sweden and has big a military structure which became housing for refugees.

Here they find that the living room is the space of interaction, and also the space for the relation guest and host. Can the right to host be part of the political struggle today, Sandi Hilal asks?

The presentation ends with a question to everyone in the room: What are we doing with our public space today in Sweden?

/Andrea Bodelsson

26 april 2018, KTH

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