Radical media, politics and culture.

Exhibit on Israeli architecture banned by Patron, Opens in NYC

Anonymous Comrade writes

"A Civilian Occupation

The Politics of Israeli Architecture

Rafi Segal and Eyal Weizman

February 12-–March 30, 2003

Opening reception: February 12, 7-–9 p.m.

Storefront for Art and Architecture

97 Kenmare Street

New York, NY 10012

t. 212.431.5795

e. info@storefrontnews.org

National conflicts are characterized not only by the rapid processes of
eruptive transformations, but also by the slow duration of building and
the lengthy bureaucratic mechanisms of planning. Together these form
the scale at which territorial conflicts are played out. Throughout the
last century, a different kind of warfare has been radically
transforming the landscapes of Israel and Palestine. In it, the mundane elements
of planning and architecture have been conscripted as tactical tools in
the Israeli state strategy, seeking national and geo-political
objectives in the organization of space. The relationship between the landscape
and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is symbiotic. The terrain dictates
the nature, intensity and focal points of confrontation; while the
conflict itself is manifested most clearly in the processes of
transformation, adaptation, construction and obliteration of the landscape and the
built environment. The landscape becomes the battlefield in which power
and state control confront subversive and direct resistance. In an
environment where architecture and planning are systematically
instrumentalized as the executive arms of the Israeli State, planning decisions do
not often follow criteria of economic sustainability, ecology or
efficiency of services; rather, they are employed to serve strategic and
political agendas. Space becomes the physical embodiment of a matrix of
forces, manifested across the landscape in the construction of roads,
hilltop settlements, development towns and garden-suburbs.

A Civilian Occupation: The Politics of Israeli Architecture, was
originally commissioned by the Israel Association of United Architects (IAUA)
for the International Union of Architect’s Congress in Berlin in July
2002. Upon completion of the exhibition catalog, the IAUA withdrew their
support of the project, canceled the exhibition and banned the catalog.
Bringing together investigations by Israeli architects, scholars,
photographers and journalists addressing the political role of architecture
and planning in Israel, this project supplements prevalent historical
and political analysis of the conflict with a detailed description of
its physical transformations. Architecture is presented as a political
issue–the material product of politics itself–illustrating the spatial
dimension of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The exhibition at
Storefront is the first public presentation of this work."