Territories brings together architects and artists in an exhibition about politics, architecture and geography. As the title of the exhibition implies, a number of projects are presented dealing with the occupation, control and defence of space. The exhibition speaks less about the cultural meaning of land use, housing and cultivation, but rather explores the strategic use of architecture and planning in times of crisis and conflict, bearing witness to the increasing fragmentation and militarization of the global political landscape.
Territories’ description of space thus creates insights into the working of today’s political, economical and military strategies beyond what appears as the daily content in the newspapers. In Malmö Konsthall photographs, videos, cartography and models are presenting and questioning the relation of power and space and its representations at the same time.
Territories thus investigates the strategic construction of landscape. An important part of the exhibition is based on the research by the architect duo of Eyal Weizman and Rafi Segal into Israeli architecture on the West Bank. The territories of Israel/Palestine today serve as an intense laboratory of this kind of “spatial warfare” – a war carried out not only by means of tanks and guns, but by the very construction and destruction of the landscape, including housing and infrastructure. The project was originally commissioned by the Israeli Association of Architects for the world congress of the UIA (Union Internationale Des Architectes) in Berlin in 2002, but was hastily cancelled for political reasons by the same organization.
The work of Berlin-based periodical/group, An Architektur, discusses Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and other ex-territorial spaces in the War On Terrorism, where the United States by virtue of its claimed territory gives itself the right to experiment with human rights and the legal aspects of territories. In his contribution to the exhibition, the American artist Sean Snyder has investigated US military bases around the world. These Americas in miniature exist in at least 93 countries by now, strategically positioning themselves as part of a global network. The Danish artist Joachim Koester and Matthew Buckingham of the United States have created a project on the ever topical “free city” of Christiania, exploring the very notion of utopian space as islands where society can be perfected. In the video installation “Sandra of the Tuliphouse or How to Live in a Free State”, the fictitious character of Sandra reflects on various ideas about this controversial and disputed urban district in Copenhagen. Dreams of and desires for the possibility of a better world are conveyed through pictures, anecdotes and facts.
The Territories exhibition has no physical boundaries and its relevance can be found everywhere, both locally and globally. For example, white middle-class suburbs in Sweden and Malmö create small territorial “islands” in relation to other geographical areas whose population is almost exclusively composed of immigrants, and gated communities are being built in the heart of our cities. New regions and territories which no longer reflect respect for the traditional way of regarding the demarcation of boundaries are constantly being created. Economics, law, politics and ideology are becoming increasingly important factors as these new maps of our world are beginning to be delineated.
Territories is a cross disciplinerary exhibition where architects and artists jointly focus on subject fields which with the passage of time are becoming more and more relevant. The project examines and calls into question the ruling state of affairs in a world that cannot be thought of any longer as composed of separated independent entities.
Territories is produced by Malmö Konsthall in collaboration with the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. The exhibition was curated by Anselm Franke together with Eyal Weizman, Rafi Segal and Stefano Boeri.
2 aerial images (courtesy of Peace Now) Shaked, Jenin Region,