What does it mean “To Decolonize”? 6

2023 – 2024

Al Masha – Rural Commons
This year DAAS course’s collective site of investigation is a four-hectare plot of land located in Diso in the south of Italy, co-owned by a group of artists, curators, designers, and researchers interested in exploring collective forms of inhabitation and agroforestry. The land is cultivated in collaboration with Casa delle Agriculture, an organisation composed of farmers, artists and activists aiming to revive abandoned lands; repopulate the countryside; generate solidarity-based economies; and build new cultural and social models of living together. Participants of the DAAS course worked to expand the possibilities of rural commons. The course started with Notte Verde: Agricultures, Utopias and Community, a festival dedicated to the environment and ecological agriculture, held in 29-August 2023 and ended in Borgo Rizza, Sicily in the spring of 2024 with a colloquium at the former building of the Entity of Colonization of Sicilian Latifundium.

 

Publication

Download the publication

6 May 2024
Borgo Rizza, Sicily

Launch of “The Anti-Atlas of Colonial-Fascist Architecture in 1940 Sicily” by Husam Abusalem
The book presents an artistic research project comprised of a collection of architectural interpretations and photographs, revealing merely a small fraction of the fascist structures scattered across Sicily. The core objective of this Anti-Atlas is to disrupt the normalized presence of these structures, redirecting attention towards the ideology and propaganda they embody and their contribution to the expansive colonial project. By acknowledging the true nature of these structures and their multifaceted role in colonial history, we begin to understand the intricate historical and social context that defines our surroundings.

Author: Husam Abusalem
Supervision: Alessandro Petti
Photographic Documentation: Luca Capuano
Architectural Visualisation: Husam Abusalem
Graphic Design: Stefan Fuchs
Published by: Decolonizing Architecture Advanced Studies (DAAS) and Architecture Art Research Gallery (AARG!)
Printing: TRT – Tallinn Book Printers

Many thanks to Alice Pontiggia, Davide Fornari, Emilio Distretti, Herman Hjorth Berge, Khalid Dader, Marta Pagliuca Pelacani, Matthieu Cortat, Silvia Susanna, Steffie De Gaetano, Tiril Sofie Erdal, and my family.

The creation of this Anti-Atlas has been made possible with the generous support of the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm through its research and development grant (KFoU).

Download the publication

May 6–10, 2024

ENTITY OF DECOLONIZATION THIRD ANNUAL GATHERING
Borgo Rizza, Carlentini (SR), Sicily

Following on from the previous two editions of the Difficult Heritage Summer School – a collaborative effort between the Municipality of Carlentini, the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, the University of Basel, along with the art installation “Ente di Decolonizzazione: Borgo Rizza” by DAAR – in May 2024 the annual gathering will encompass a week-long intensive program consisting of collective learning, interventions, and performances, rooted in the three core branches of the Entity of Decolonization:
Pedagogy
Art and Architecture
Commoning

This year the hosting institutions are the Municipality of Carlentini, the DAAS program at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London, IASPIS (the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s International Programme for Visual and Applied Arts), DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Research), and Museo delle Civiltà in Rome.

PROGRAM
Sunday, May 5
10:00-18:00 Arrivals
19:00 Opening of Difficult Heritage: Under Repair
(self-introductions, reconnecting with previous editions)

Monday, May 6
Difficult Heritage Summer School
Hosted by DAAS and RCA School of Architecture
10:00 > Learning with: An Anti-atlas of Colonial-Fascist Architecture led by Husam Abusalem and Stefan Fuchs
11:30 > Learning with: The stratigraphy of Borgo Rizza led by Silvia Susanna, Steffie de Gaetano, Alice Pontiggia
> Learning with: Your Decolonial Entity led by Robin Dingemans
13:00 Lunch
17:00 Collective assembly
20:30 Communal Dinner

Tuesday, May 7
Difficult Heritage Summer School
Hosted by DAAS and RCA School of Architecture
10:00 > Learning with: Grain communities led by Sara Pellegrini
> Learning with: Two Hours Ago, I Fell in Love led by Sveva Crisafulli
11:30 > Learning with: Southern landscapes led by Megumi Nakahashi
> Learning with: Hostis led by Ahmed Al-Nawas
13:00 Lunch
17:00 Collective assembly
20:30 Communal Dinner

Wednesday, May 8
Commoning the Private: Casa Decoloniale
Hosted by DAAR
10:00 Learning with: Campo Paradiso led by Judith Wielander and
Luigi Coppola
11:00 Assembly: Commoning the Private, with the participation of
the citizens of Carlentini
13:00 Lunch
15:00 Press conference with the Mayor of Carlentini
and installation of the plaque of the Entity of Decolonization
17:00 Collective walk through the old town of Carlentini
20:30 Communal Dinner

Thursday, May 9
Difficult Heritage Symposium: Under Repair
Hosted by the School of Architecture (RCA)

10:00 Architecture of Repair in Palestine
12:00 Seeding the Uncommon Commons led by Cooking Sections /
CLIMAVORE x Jameel at the RCA
13:00 Lunch
17:00 Assembly: “Repair and Decolonisation” led by RCA and guests
20:30 Communal Dinner

Friday, May 10
Urgent Pedagogies
Hosted by IASPIS
10:00 > Learning with: Urgent Pedagogies led by Pelin Tan and Amalia Katopodis
> Learning with: My Fascist Grandpa led by Laura Fiorio, Mario Margani and Ginevra Ludovici
13:00 Lunch
15:00 Urgent Pedagogies workshop led by Magnus Ericson, Pelin Tan
17:00 Internal Assembly
18:30 Public Assembly
20:00 Performance by DAAR: Burning the Facade
21:00 Communal Dinner + closing party

Hosted Session by DAAS continuation course by
Laure Catugier, Ann Mirjam Vaikla and Sebastian Moske

On Monday 15th April 2024
11:00 – 13:00

“A never-ending stone” is a 3-month research project that Laure Catugier is currently carrying out at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, combining the notions of concrete and social utopia. The starting point for this work is the little-known story of one of the inventors of concrete, the Frenchman François Coignet. In 1860, he began experimenting with low-cost housing in Paris, using his “stone paste” to create “artificial stone at will, much cheaper than natural stone. A never-ending stone”.

Ann Mirjam Vaikla & Sebastian Moske brought their individually carried research-topics, developed in the course, into conversation through a letter exchange over a few months period. This conversation took its first form as an extended essay / video “Agua Mansa – Designing filth in gentle waters”. Using excerpts of the video Mirjam and Sebastian will open up their research and questions combining thoughts on environmental trauma and gay romanticism in conversation with the group.

Programme (CET):

Gathering / brief intro
11:00–11:30 Presentation by Laure Catugier: “A never-ending stone”
11:30-11:45 Q&A
11:45-12:00 Break
12:00-12:40 Presentation by Ann Mirjam Vaikla & Sebastian Moske “Agua Mansa – Designing filth in gentle waters”
12:40-13:00 Q&A
Wrap up / goodbye

Link to Teams online meeting

DAAS Living Room for Palestine Open Door

KKH – Royal Institute of Art
On Thursday 22nd February 2024 at 15:30

As it’s our last session in Stockholm and at KKH this week, we would like to invite you to join us this Thursday, 22/02 from 15:30 at our Living Room for Palestine, at the entrance of the Royal Institute of Art, for an open-door session.

We will share our experience creating the space in solidarity with Palestine, give a chance to other students, staff and faculty members to share their reflections and experiences and think together how we can continue our work.

Please join us for conversations, reflection and tea

Conversation on research and activism
with Matt Peterson & Malek Rasamny

DAAS Living Room for Palestine at KKH
KKH – Royal Institute of Art
On Friday 15th December 2023 at 14:00

Presentation and discussion around the film “Spaces of Exception” directed by the activists and filmmakers Matt Peterson & Malek Rasamny.

Active Stills with Shachaf Polakow

DAAS Living Room for Palestine at KKH
KKH – Royal Institute of Art
On Friday 13th December 2023 at 14:00

On the 13th of December 2023 we will have a conversation with Shachaf Polakow at the Living room for Palestine located at the entrance of the Royal Institute of Art.
Shachaf Polakow is a photographer with more than 20 years of experience in social and political photo-documentary work and organizing. Polakow is a member of Activestills, a photographers’ collective that operates in Palestine/Israel since 2007, where he is originally from. The collective, comprised of Palestinian, Israeli, and international photographers, focuses on social justice struggles, while practicing horizontal organizing that defies hierarchical worldviews and structures. In Activestills, Polakow’s work spans from photography and editing to curating, and lateral organizing with other activists, as well as scholars, festivals, and publications. As his most recent contribution exemplifies – as an editor for Mohammed Zaanoun, an Activestills photographer documenting the ongoing Israeli onslaught on Gaza – Activestills allows Polakow to reinstate his alliances in social and political struggles, while centering the role of photography in these struggles as a decolonial tool.

General Strike for Gaza

DAAS Living Room for Palestine at KKH
KKH – Royal Institute of Art
On Monday 11th December 2023

Solidarity Conversations

DAAS Living Room for Palestine at KKH
KKH – Royal Institute of Art
On Friday 10th November 2023 at 12:00

Statement in solidarity with the Palestinian people

Stockholm, October 19th 2023

We – participants in the Decolonizing Architecture postmaster programme at the Royal Art Institute, accepting the invitation from Birzeit University and following the statement from Ghent university – strongly condemn the war crimes committed by the Israeli regime against the civilian population in Gaza. We express our solidarity with the Palestinian population and call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the blockade.

The ongoing Israeli assaults are the most recent evidence of the enduring occupation, which stands as the longest in contemporary times. Long before Hamas came to exist, Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid worked to establish a Zionist system founded and maintained on ethnic cleansing, land dispossession, illegal annexation, and the denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and sovereignty.

For decades, the West has turned a blind eye to the Israeli government’s numerous human rights violations inflicted on innocent Palestinian civilians. On Monday, October 9th, 2023, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said, “we are fighting human animals”, referring to Palestinians, and pledged to “act accordingly.” He declared a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip, saying there would be “no electricity, no food, no fuel.” The October 16th airstrike on the Baptist Hospital in Gaza, killing upwards of 500 civilians, is a clear testament to this genocidal regime.

The Israeli regime’s constant breach of international law has not moved Western institutions to assert their so-called values of human dignity, freedom, democracy, and human rights. In this regard, the UK, USA, France, Italy, and Germany have offered Israel ’steadfast support’ in a joint statement, giving the Israeli regime the green light to commit war crimes and atrocities against the Palestinian population. We strongly condemn the European Union’s consistent double standards and lack of political action regarding the genocide and ethnic cleansing committed against the civilian population of Gaza, the ongoing settlement expansion, and settler terrorism in the West Bank, and the apartheid faced by Palestinians in the 1948 territories.

Academia’s silence is deafening. The term “decolonise” has been widely used within academia and mainstream media without pointing out its most obvious example of colonial continuity. Decolonization is not a metaphor, nor is it only a theory to be used for intellectual clout. It is about supporting the right for self-determination of Palestinians to live freely and with dignity. We strongly urge the academic community worldwide to mobilize and take action to end the dehumanization of Palestinians. Choosing to remain silent is a loud endorsement of the oppressor.

DAAS Students

Campo Paradiso Summer School

Al Masha – Rural Commons

28 August – 10 September 2023

This year, the DAAS course’s collective site of investigation is a four-hectare plot of land located in Diso in the south of Italy, co-owned by a group of artists, curators, designers, and researchers interested in exploring collective forms of inhabitation and agroforestry. The land is cultivated in collaboration with Casa delle Agriculture, an organisation composed of farmers, artists and activists aiming to revive abandoned lands; repopulate the countryside; generate solidarity-based economies; and build new cultural and social model of living together. Participants of the DAAS course will be asked to expand the possibilities of rural commons in complicity with all other life forms.

Full Program

What does it mean “To Decolonize”? 5

2022 – 2023

Internal Colonization and the Countryside
In a series of texts written at the beginning of the 1920s, Antonio Gramsci depicts the so-called Italian “southern question” as a form of internal colonization, establishing a fundamental link between imperial ambitions and internal forms of colonization. Legitimized by the rhetoric of modernization, “peripheral territories” within Europe have equally been objects of internal colonization via extraction and expropriation (among them Sápmi and Ireland), forcing the local population to emigrate. The abandonment of the countryside was the natural consequence of decades of exploitation, subjugation, and migration. How do those stories of internal colonization force us to rethink contemporary migration and the countryside today?

 

Publication

Download the publication

Continuation of the public program organized by participants of Decolonizing Architecture 22/23 to discuss and share collective and individual researches.

April Hosted Session

As part of the Decolonizing Architecture 22/23 program, participants organize a series of public events to discuss and share their collective and individual research.

Clothes or Colonialism?
Decolonize your wardrobe! 

On April 24th 2023 at 2 pm in Hus 28 at Royal Institute of Art – KKH

In the session we will have Nikissi Serumaga joining us online to discuss her research project on the second hand clothing market in Kampala (Uganda) and think about how we engage with our own clothes.

Please follow her words and prepare as follows:

“Ahead of our session, please encourage participants to challenge themselves to either wear/bring/take a photo of an article of clothing that they haven’t worn in a year or more, and are unlikely to wear again. We will use these clothes to think about the clothings’ lifespan from origin to disposal, what constitutes ‘good’ usage, and how our personal choices create and are influenced by collective culture.
Since starting the podcast, I have really struggled with the disposal of ‘dead’ clothes myself, and would love to know more about the journeys of others as well!

Please find below some links that represent our work. By no means do I expect anyone to look at all of them in advance. As it is the same concept on different platforms, people are encouraged to explore whatever platform best suits them – be it social media, podcast, website or article.”

Vintage or Violence Website
https://www.vintageorviolence.com

One-min Intro Video (Episode 1)
https://vimeo.com/586250418

Podcast on Anchor FM
https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/vintage-or-violence

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/2ndhandviolence/

Interview with Bobby about Buzigahill
https://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/55969/1/uganda-bobby-kolade-second-hand-clothing-trade-landfill-africa-buzigahill

And a bonus because the OR Foundation is fantastic:
https://www.instagram.com/theorispresent/

Organized by Stefan Fuchs, Olya Zovskaya and Robin Dingemans

Weathering, Rendering and Smashing atoms

April 25th 2023 at Medborgarhuset in Hägerstensåsen.
We will meet 10 o’clock in the subway station Telefonplan and make a walk together.

During the session we will dig into the concept ”weathering” proposed by Astrida Neimanis and Rachel Loewen Walker, partly through the practice ’Weather writing’. We will further try out the somatic practice ‘Collective dying’ proposed by Olive Bieringa, watch films by Emilija Skarnulyte, GeoCinema, Sondra Perry etc. And last thing will be to hear a presentation from Asia Bazdyreva partly based on her text ‘No milk, no love’. Please read some texts before the session as stated underneath.

Weathering:
“Weathering, then, is a particular way of understanding how bodies, places and the weather are all inter-implicated in our climate-changing world. Weathering describes socially, culturally, politically and materially differentiated bodies in relation to the materiality of place, across a thickness of historical, geological and climatological time. As that part of speech known as a gerund (an -ing word that functions as a noun), weathering also names a practice or a tactic: to weather means to pay attention to how bodies and places respond to weather-worlds which they are also making; to weather responsively means to consider how we might weather differently—better—and act in ways that can move towards such change.”

No Milk, No Love
”Ukraine-as-a-territory is at the core of my argument in this text. I will focus primarily on land, soil, and living and nonliving matter cast as inhuman resources.
Ukraine has been rendered a territory through dual colonization by Western Europe and the Russian Empire, a position that was further reinforced during the Soviet era. In this text I focus on the material aspects of the complex colonial gaze that Ukraine has been subject to: First, the process of “resourcification” that sees Ukraine—its territory, natural resources, and people—as an operational space, merely a site for material transaction. And second, the way this view manifests itself when the territory is deemed exhausted of its resources, no longer of use—or is placed under existential threat, such as the one Ukraine faces today.”

Organized by Yasamin Ghalehnoie, Emma Dominguez, Herman Hjorth Berge, Ann Mirjam Vaikla, Hannah Wiker Wikström

Meanwhile, in between Bed-time Stories

Decolonizing Architecture Office, Royal Institute of Art, 3rd floor
on April 27th 2023 at 14:00-17:0

With the guests: writer Luce deLire and curator Alba Baeza.
In response to the collective investigation site Bed-time Stories, Alba Baeza will discuss two former curatorial projects. The group exhibition “Intimacy is Political” (2017) was conceived for the MetQUITO in Ecuador and addressed the construction of contemporary subjectivities, analysing how the politics of domination rests on intersecting categories of sex, gender, class or ethnicity. And  Luce deLire will give an introduction and hand  it over to her alter ego, “Comrade Josephine”, who will tell us about “Pink Totaliterianism”

Organized by Kibandu Pello-Esso, Sebastian Moske, Ali Naghi Ardalan, Angelos Chiotis

2nd and 3rd years Participants Closure

Decolonizing Architecture Office, Royal Institute of Art, 3rd floor
on April 28th 2023 at 13:00-16:00

In the continuity of her project “facadism”, Laure Catugier invites the berlin-based multi-disciplinary artist collective Guerilla Architects to present some of their projects. By focusing their work on spatial interventions and socio-critical art projects, they approach urban development by being „guerilla“. This means that great value is not necessarily only created by building on a grand scale. On the contrary, by working with existing structures, it often only requires minimally invasive interventions in order to give new meaning to former invisible spaces. Guerilla Architects draw on the untapped potential of political, legal und spatial grey zones as well as the free resources which are available due to the abundance and overproduction of urban society. https://www.guerillaarchitects.de/

Reporting from Borgo Rizza as part of “:After – Architecture Festiva” in Sicily, Zeno will present an attempt to keep places alive and build on the stratifications of stories that architecture embodies. The session articulates around reflections on the Borgo Rizza kitchen intervention during the “Difficult Heritage Summer School – edition II” in 2022, and on the event “:After festival” a co-curated architecture festival that travels through architecure and symbolic spaces that made the history of the last 100 years in Sicily.

More information about “:After festival” at: https://afterfestival.xyz/programmait/ and https://www.instagram.com/afterfestival.xyz/


Mikaela invited Care to help guide reflections on belonging and imagination, who will graciously share their perspectives through the lens of their multifaceted artistic and care practices.
Care (they/them) is a light-skinned Black trans non-binary trauma-informed care practitioner, transformative justice & eco-somatic practitioner, artist and doula, whose work focuses on re-membering somatic experiences of awe, connection, miracles and care. Their work blooms at the intersection of Black interiority, somatic memory and queer intimacies.
Always reflecting on their longing for home and belonging, they create rituals and ceremonies as portals through which displaced people can step into a healing, imaginative space, unburdened by colonialism’s many violences. All of their practices draw from ancestral knowledge, and seek to re-enact and/or re-create rituals. Their practice is grounded in an intimate relationship with the land, ancestors, spirit, the elements, and the more than human.
https://www.selflovetribute.com/ @selflove_tribute

Organized by Laure Catugier, Mikaela Karlsson and Zeno Franchini

Continuation of the public program organized by participants of Decolonizing Architecture 22/23 to discuss and share collective and individual researches.

March Hosted Session

Concrete Toxicity

Decolonizing Architecture Office, Royal Institute of Art, 3rd floor
on March 13th 2023 at 14:00-17:00

A session looking in to the relations between concrete, toxicity and corruption.
We are opening up the room with the following guests to shed a light on the topic they find most urgent in the theme of the session. We will open up for a shared discussion after the presentations.
*Barış Can Sever – PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at Middle East Technical University, currently based in Turkey. He is working on the Ph.D. dissertation entitled “Migratory Movements as A Multifaceted Process Under the Impacts of Climate Crisis: The Case of Central Anatolian Agricultural Basin in Konya/Turkey”. He maintains socio-ecological and academic works by mostly focusing on the intersectional areas of social theory, sociology of migration, environmental  sociology, and climate crisis.

*Tuba Kolat Lidén – Studied urban and regional planning in the School of Architecture at Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul and completed her master’s degree at KTH in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design programme. She has been working as a planning architect in transportation and infrastructure projects in Sweden since 2018. Tuba is interested in the conflict between public interest and the construction industry and how corruption affects the lives of citizens. She would like to compare the decision-making and control processes between Sweden and Turkey.

Collapsing buildings and infrastructure in earthquake stricken areas such as most recently Turkey, Kurdistan and Syria, as well as in war zones, produce toxic smoke and dust posing added risks to the people affected. Buildings often collapse due to poor construction as a result of corruption. The buildings kill, not the earthquake. We also have a toxic relationship with concrete as both provider and abuser. Concrete provides welfare, housing and a degree of comfort while extracting, polluting and exploiting.

Organized by Yasamin Ghalehnoie, Emma Dominguez, Herman Hjorth Berge, Ann Mirjam Vaikla, Hannah Wiker Wikström

Decolonize your gaze

Decolonizing Architecture Office, Royal Institute of Art, 3rd floor
on March 15th 2023 at 14:00-17:00

We warmly invite you to our second hosted session “Decolonize your gaze: evaluation from (non) western perspective”

This time we will be joined by Vigen Galstyan from Yerevan, who will start with a workshop followed by a talk about his practice as an art historian & curator and his approaches in evaluating objects from museum collections and second hand markets. We will conclude the session with questions and reflections on the topic.

Organized by Stefan fuchs, Olya Zovskaya and Robin Dingemans

Bedtime Story 2

Decolonizing Architecture Office, Royal Institute of Art, 3rd floor
on March 16th 2023 at 14:00-17:00

This time we would ask you to bring a story (book, movie, etc) from your childhood you can remember and still feel a connection to and share it in our session with the group. If you like, please bring a picture, clip or even a little quote/passage.

We would then like to work further around these stories with you in class
and take a trip to the Kungsträdgården Metro Station.

Organized by Kibandu Pello-Esso, Sebastian Moske, Ali Naghi Ardalan, Angelos Chiotis

2nd and 3rd years Participants Closure

Decolonizing Architecture Office, Royal Institute of Art, 3rd floor
on March 17th 2023 at 14:00-16:00

Organized by Steffie De Gaetano, Francesca Gattello, Alice Pontiggia and Silvia Susanna

As part of the Decolonizing Architecture 22/23 program, participants organize a series of public events to discuss and share their collective and individual researches.

February Hosted Session

Bedtime Story

Värmeverkets Bibliotek– on February 6th  2023 at 14:00 – 17:45

The Hosted Session Bedtime Story have a collective reading, a film, an invited guest lecture by Stavros Kousoulas and an urban walk. It is organized by Kibandu Pello-Esso, Sebastian Moske, Ali Naghi Ardalan, Angelos Chiotis.

2nd years Participants Closure

Decolonizing Architecture Office, Royal Institute of Art, 3rd floor
on February 7th  2023 at 15:00 – 18:00

Organized by Laura Fiorio, Sara Davin Omar and Peter Nylund

Restitute Everything!

Decolonizing Architecture Office, Royal Institute of Art, 3rd floor
on February 8th  2023 at 10:00 – 13:00

The day starts with a decolonize your tongue warm up, help us tune into our international guests. The decolonizing of place names, the general ability to hear in-real-life “the decolonial” can be fundamental to change. This “decolonize your tongue” workshop will also help us be better hosts to our international guests. Ideation from Whangarei to Kyiv.

Following an online panel with Te Arikirangi Mamaku-Ironside and Oscar Lara. We will take a look at two repatriation processes of objects stolen or taken from Aotearoa and Peru. Our first guest from the repatriation team from Te Papa Museum in Aotearoa New Zealand, followed by Oscar Lara’s project “Within Heritage Movements”.

We will round off the day with some more insights into our group’s research such as a glimpse at the colonial displays of Hamburg´s Ethnological Museum.

Organized by Stefan fuchs, Olya Zovskaya and Robin Dingemans

Haunting concrete : Concrete hauntings

Värmeverkets Bibliotek
on February 9th  2023 at 14:00 – 17:00

This session takes it starting point in a collective sound piece where we have gathered and curated different voices talking about concrete.
Following with an associative exercises moving between internal and external processes working with your different senses.

Organized by Yasamin Ghalehnoie, Emma Dominguez, Herman Hjorth Berge, Ann Mirjam Vaikla, Hannah Wiker Wikström

Difficult Heritage Summer School (Edition II)

Internal colonization and the countryside

September 3-10

In a series of texts written at the beginning of the 1920s, Antonio Gramsci depicts the so-called Italian “southern question” as a form of internal colonization, establishing a fundamental link between imperial ambitions and internal forms of colonization. Legitimized by the rhetoric of modernization, “peripheral territories” within Europe have been equally objects of internal colonization via extraction and expropriation (among them Sápmi and Ireland), forcing the local population to emigrate. The abandonment of the countryside was the natural consequence of decades of exploitation, subjugation, and migration. How do those stories of internal colonization force us to rethink contemporary migration and the countryside today?

The students will have the opportunity to travel to Sicily, Borgo Rizza, one of the new towns built by the Entity of Colonization of Sicily in 1940. Since the last year, the course has helped the local municipality to transform the abandoned town into a new civic space for local organizations and international universities. Based on an already established partnership with the local municipality of Carlentini, the students will collectively contribute to a series of interventions and discursive exhibitions with the aim to reinhabit borgo Rizza and to connect the site with other “case studies” around the world.

What does it mean “To Decolonize”? 4

2021 – 2022

The topic of this year aims to reflect and intervene in the debate regarding the architectural heritage associated with painful and violent memories. The course will focus on the rural towns built in the 1940s by the “Entity of Colonization of Sicily” during the fascist regime. These rural towns were built by the regime to “reclaim,” “modernize,” and “repopulate” the south of Italy considered “empty,” “underdeveloped,” and “backward”. The analysis of these towns will offer course participants the opportunity to problematize the persistence of today’s colonial relationship with the countryside, especially after the renewed interest in the countryside as a solution for the pandemic. Parallel to the collective research, every student is asked to research an individual case study of difficult heritage. The intersection between individual and collective research is shared with a larger public at the end of the year in a discursive exhibition. The course is organized in collaboration with the Critical Urbanism course at the University of Basel (Switzerland) and will take place in Stockholm, online, and in the former building of the “Entity of Colonization of Sicilian Latifundia” in Borgo Rizza, Municipality of Carlentini in Sicily.

Publication

Download the publication

Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence

At the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Decolonizing Architecture Studio, 2nd floor. – on April 25th  2022 at 15:00

In occasion of the exhibition “Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence” at the Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm (27 April – 19 June 2022), Hrair will give a talk about his photographic practice characterised by an element of search, as well as the dichotomy of visible/invisible.

More info here >

Past and present fascism: difficult heritage and collective memories

At the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm – on February 11th  2022 at 11:00 – 18:00

The session is in the context of the Decolonizing Architecture program and is the first of a series of public events which will take place monthly. It is organized by Peter Nylund, Laure Catugier & Laura Fiorio, Post-master participants at Decolonizing Architecture 2021-2022.

Download the program

Action 1 – “We were born without a heritage”

At the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm – on February 10th, 2022 from 10:00 to 13:00

A co-reflection to discuss what issues would be considered urgent and relevant for cultural workers. The group Merica Merica, composed by Michelle Jean De Castro, Zeno Franchini, and Francesca Gattello, will share its process and bits of content experimenting with ways to create knowledge from informality. The event is part of the Hosted Sessions program within the framework of the Decolonizing Architecture post-master course at the Royal Institute of Art.

Download the program

Student Activism as Anti-Racist Decolonial Practice

At the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm – on February 9th 2022 at 10:00 – 14:30

This event is the first in a series of self-organized hosted sessions by Sara Rossling, Denisse Vega de Santiago, Sara Davin Omar, Post-master participants at Decolonizing Architecture 2021-2022.

Download the program

Architectural Dissonances

December 2021

“Architectural Dissonances” is an e-publication edited in collaboration between the Decolonizing Architecture Advanced Studies and L’Internationale Online.
Echoing processual music terminologies, “Architectural Dissonances” challenge the dominant colonial/modernist understanding of architecture. The compositions, essays, videos and architectural projects in this collection explore strategies and modalities of practising and investigating architecture beyond the predominantly western modernist architectural canon.
Recognizing the limits and slippages of academic disciplines such as architecture, art history, museology and curating, and encouraging practices of unlearning, our task is, therefore, to situate a critical conversation around decolonization in Europe by challenging western epistemologies in relation to architecture, living and working spaces, territories of care, urban and rural planning.

With contributions by: Suha Hasan, Malin Heyman, Sepideh Karami, Lais Myrrha, Harun Morrison, Joar Nango, Itohan Osayimwese, Victoria Ogoegbunam Okoye, Laercio Redondo, Ayedin Ronaghi, Emilio Distretti and Alessandro Petti.

Editors: Corina Oprea, Alessandro Petti, Marie-Louise Richards, Tatiana Pinto, Roberta Burchardt.

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Difficult Heritage – Summer School

The Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm and the University of Basel are collaborating in the organization of the international summer program Difficult Heritage. Coordinated by the Decolonizing Architecture Course from Sweden and the Critical Urbanism course from Switzerland, the program takes place at Borgo Rizza (Syracuse, Italy) from 30 August to 7 September 2021, in coordination with Carlentini Municipality, as well as the local university and associations.
The program is constituted by a series of lectures, seminars, workshop, readings and site visits centered around the rural town of Borgo Rizza, build in 1940 by the ‘Ente della colonizzazione’ established by the fascist regime to colonize the south of Italy perceived as backward and underdeveloped.
The town seems a perfect place for participants to analyze, reflect and intervene in the debate regarding the architectural heritage associated to painful and violent memories and more broadly to problematize the colonial relation with the countryside, especially after the renew attention due the pandemic.
The summer program takes place inside the former ‘entity of colonization’ and constitutes the first intensive study period for the Decolonizing Architecture Advanced Course 2020/21 participants.

DAAS participation in Rundgång

Royal Institute of Art, November 2021

Borgo narrations from the living room

Participants of Decolonizing Architecture reflect on our physical or nonphysical experience of Borgo Rizza, the destination of the Difficult Heritage Summer School which we attended as introduction to this academic year.

End of year discursive exhibition of the Decolonizing Architecture postmaster course 2020-2021

Casa Punto Croce, Venice, 18–23 May 2021

Casa Punto Croce is a multidisciplinary cultural home project making waves in the Venetian independent scene since 2012. Its secret location, queer approach and interdisciplinary transactional happenings, made for and by locals, have throughout the years attracted folks, students, professors, contemporary and less contemporary artists and poets, researchers and performers from all over Italy and abroad.

Work presented by Silvia Susanna, Mikaela Britt Karlsson, Steffie de Gaetano and Alice Pontiggia (in order of appearance) with intervention of Sandi Hilal, Alessandro Petti and Tobia Tomasi.

What does it mean “To Decolonize”? 3

2020 – 2021

Under the headline Modernism and Demodernization, this year’s cycle of Decolonizing Architecture has engaged with ways to challenge modern approaches, locating and experimenting with approaches that seek to imagine a form of demodernization in architecture. During the pandemic, we have faced the challenge of not being able to meet in Stockholm – as a group or with guests of the course – for the majority of the year. As a result, the focus was set on matters closer to home, and the theme of isolation connected the course’s initial days in Långholmen Prison to the isolation of the island of Skeppsholmen, where the institution of the Royal Institute of Art itself is situated. The collective site of intervention has therefore engaged with issues raised within our own walls: how we relate to each other; how our institution relates to the rest of the world; belonging; and how to bring decolonial thinking and doing into our own house(s).

Publication

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Remembering to forget colonial memory, to learn to live, again

At the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm
on November 11th 2020 at 14:00 – 16:00 CET

During these days of empty metaphors and contradictions, I feel compelled to go back to basics. With all that’s going on, one wonders – am I really living? In other words, do I remember what it is to live? Yet isn’t this question what gives way to all else? That is why, by asking these questions, I’ve been little by little striving to align my daily life and privilege to my art and its related practices, so as to give life, and live. This questioning has led my efforts to the containment and deposition of colonial memory, particularly regarding the disproportionate violence and entropy that colonial memory self-inscribes. From my Caribbean perspective, I am exploring that entropy through various traumas that, to me, are sustained and repressed by the geological force that is colonial violence. By treating greenhouse technology as one of the object-relations of the memory of said violence, I give shape to that deposition as an infrastructure of epistemológica … a careful and transitional practice that at once reviews the scientific preparation, the expository prop, and political demonstration, so as to learn to live, again.

Luis Berríos-Negrón (San Juan, 1971*) is a Puerto Rican artist who explores the environmental forms of sculpture, discourse, and display that are shaped by the forces of global warming.

The seminar can be followed online.
Please register here.

What does it mean “To Decolonize”? 2

2019 – 2020

This year, course participants have spent time researching experimental sites of knowledge production, understood as physical spaces, as well as communities, experiences and bodies and anchored in personal experiences and collective processes. Based on the assumption that every student is a bearer of knowledge, course participants have intersected individual and collective research trajectories by establishing a common vocabulary as a theoretical framework and reference point for future spatial interventions. Three collective initiatives and fifteen individual research projects have emerged from the interactions between course participants, the city of Stockholm, and sites and communities both close and distant.

Publication

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Decolonizing Education

At the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm
on September 10th 2020 at 15:00 – 17:00

What does decolonization mean in a predominately white institution? How can institutions change to reflect the demographics in society? How can cultural institutions become more inclusive challenging the hegemonic positionings of society, attracting those that are historically marginalised? How can access to education become genuinely public?

These are some of the questions that Nadira Omarjee, Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute on the Africa Scholar Programme at Uppsala University, and Shahram Khosravi, Professor of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University, will use as a point of departure in their conversation hosted with the students of Decolonizing Architecture Advanced Course at the Royal Institute of Art, in Stockholm.

Nadira Omarjee is an decolonial feminist scholar, focusing her research on Decolonial Feminist Pedagogy: decoloniation, feminism, education, decolonial curriculum, intersectionality, gender and antiracism.

Shahram Khosravi research interests include anthropology of Iran and the Middle East, migration, human rights, forced displacement. He is the author of ‘Young and Defiant in Tehran’ and ”Illegal’ Traveller: An Auto-Ethnography of Borders’.

Video

What does it mean “To Decolonize”? 1

2019 – 2020

Publication

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End of the year Discursive Exhibition: What does it mean “To Decolonize”?

28 May – 29 May, 2019, Stockholm

The struggle of decolonization, once primarily located outside of Europe, has today moved within its borders. What the media continue to call the “refugee crisis”, “environmental crisis” “economic crisis” are, in reality, the incapacity of Europe to come to terms to the condition of five hundred years of colonialism. This public event is divided into three parts: a public seminar that introduces decolonial options and their relevance in the European context, followed by a public lecture by the renowned philosopher Walter D. Mignolo who has spent the last 40 years researching and teaching the historical foundation of the modern/colonial world system and imaginary, concluding with an open discussion on decolonial artistic practices by using as a starting point, Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti´s latest book Permanent Temporariness, a collection of research projects developed in over a decade of work within the artistic collective DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency).

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Public lecture by Walter Mignolo

Book launch

Seminar

 

Field Trip to Asmara and Addis Ababa

28 January – 8 February, 2019

Course participants traveled to Addis Ababa and Asmara to learn from the ways in which the local residents reused colonial fascist buildings. In Addis Ababa the course collaborated with Rahel Shawl her team at RAAS architecture that has mapped out architecture built during the Italian occupation. In a series of workshops, course participants joined local students, experts, architects and local associations in rethinking the possibility of reuseing one of these building for a center of knowledge production — a space that the RAAS team and Rahel envisioned especially for newly graduated architects. The exhibition organized by the RAAS team at the Urban Center featured a series of architecture built during the Italian occupation, generating an interesting debate around the use of the term decolonization, since Ethiopian was never colonized. In contrast, architectures build in the same period in Asmara were recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2017 under the title of “Asmara: A Modernist African City”. The course participants had a possibility to meet and discuss with the team of architects and conservationists of the Asmara Heritage Project, who prepared the nomination dossier.

Video of the field trip

Seminar on the Cities of Asmara and Addis Ababa

30 August, 2018 – Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm
David Rifkind, Mekonnen Tesfahuney and Peter Lang


Experimental Preservation

6 November – 9 November, 2018 – Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm
Jorge Otero-Pailos, Erik Langdalen, Torun Hammar and Carlos Minguez Carrasco

 


 

Internal Colonialism and Colonial Heritage

17 April, 2018, Stockholm

This conference is organized by the Decolonizing Architecture Advanced Course and the Research Lab at the Royal Institute of Art (RIA), the School of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Konsthall C and Tensta Konsthall.

The conference presents a series of comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of colonial architecture, expanding the notion of colonial space into present realities. It explores the internal colonization of Sámi land in Sweden, remittance urbanisms and new struggles of knowledge production within Europe, poses disruptive questions around the heritage of Palestinian refugee camps — the oldest refugee camps in the world — as well as confronting the colonial heritage of European museums and institutions. A second day is dedicated to guided exhibition visits to Konsthall C and Tensta Konsthall and an evening lecture by Forensic Architecture that will call for the mobilisation of architecture as both a form of research and activism.

 


Experimental Preservation

6 November – 9 November, 2018 – Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm
Jorge Otero-Pailos, Erik Langdalen, Torun Hammar and Carlos Minguez Carrasco

 


 

Manifesta 12

21 June – 23 June, 2018, Palermo

As part of the 5x5x5 program of Manifesta 12 in Palermo, the Decolonizing Architecture Advanced Course presented a project for the critical re-use of the Casa del Mutilato — a fascist building designed by Giuseppe Spatrisano and inaugurated by Benito Mussolini in 1936. The project took the form of an architectural intervention; a prosthesis to the Casa del Mutilato which acted as a tool to reorient the future uses of the building and pragmatically started a much needed restoration process.

Program


 

Decolonizing North

7 December – 8 December, 2017, Stockholm

This conference was organized by Konsthall C, the Advanced Course in Decolonizing Architecture at Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm and CEMFOR (Center for Multidisciplinary Research on Racism) at Uppsala University. The north is not only a geographical expression — it often also indicates a power relation based on a presumption of superiority. Despite violent border regimes and colonial processes on indigenous populations, northern European countries have scarcely dealt with their own self-image of colonial powers. Is decolonization today a possible political project of liberation against this historical prejudice? What is at stake and how should we position ourselves within an imperative process of decolonization in relation to land and knowledge? In particular, how can we de-align from the reproduction of oppressive structures and look instead to new alliances between native and migrant populations — towards solidarity practices within art, discourse and the situated locality.

Publication

Program