UNGROUNDING: Decolonizing Architecture
In this presentation, Israeli-born, London-based architect Eyal Weizman deals with a question whose conditions of existence have not yet materialized: How can Israeli settlements and military bases (the architecture of Israel's colonization in Palestine) be reused, recycled or re-inhabited by Palestinians, at the moment that it is unplugged from the military/political powers that charge it?
Set up as a collaboration between Weizman, Sandi Hillal and Alessandro Petti in Bethlehem, (and produced by the Haudenschild Foundation), this project attempts to use architecture as an “arena of speculation” about possible futures of Palestine. Rather than undo the power of Israel’s architecture of occupation, the project seeks to turn it on its head, reorient and thus liberate its potential, thereby dealing with the political problem of the re-use of the architecture of exclusion, violence, and control. The transformation of the suburban single-family house of Israel’s colonial architecture may thus suggest a possible repertoire of actions for the urbanization of suburbia at large.
Weizman is the author of the critically-engaging and richly-layered book Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation published by Verso in 2007. Weizman studied architecture at the Architectural Association in London and completed his PhD at the London Consortium at Birkbeck College. He was Professor of Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. His work includes buildings and stage sets in Israel/Palestine and Europe and has worked 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 Territories in New York, Berlin, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Malmo, Tel Aviv and Ramallah. He is currently the director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College in London.