Visited Permanent Temporariness book launch at Publics on Tuesday. Artists-architects Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti offered an introduction to the work they do at and in relation to Palestinian refugee camps. They provided a great overview of the contemporary Palestinian condition and offered some hints on their approaches to art making. In their presentation, they separated the work they engage in at camps from the art they present in museums (and biennales etc.). I got the impression that their work is rooted on a double-reading: They are using art for activism and activism for art.
Sometimes calling a their work “art” grants them the possibility to access places that are restricted from political operators and sometimes people living in camps, use their work for non-art activities like education and meetings (See Concrete Tent, 2015). It felt like they celebrated refugee camps as incubators for agile and non-normative agency. I appreciated the spin – This approach acknowledges skills which refugees manifest. Instead of approaching refugees as victims they can seen as some sort of re-organization specialists. It felt like Hilal and Petti were trying to craft an alliance between contemporary precariat workers and refugees: Both parties are pushed into motion by the same global capitalistic conditions. This part of their talk remained me of an encounter at the Finnish refugee policy protest camp in 2017.
They have an interesting archive of course descriptions on decolonizing.ps site Decolonizing Architecture: Sites of Knowledge production.
Architecture is too important to leave to the Architects. (Giancarlo De Carlo)