Date Common Assembly
The CAN is presenting two independent exhibitions whose themes respond to each other, in contexts that are nevertheless difficult to compare and which inevitably offer very different points of view: Common Assembly by the Collectif DAAR and Battlefield #82 #77 / Stones by Jérôme Leuba. Both are concerned with areas of conflict and confrontation, with notions of territory, borders, separations and representations.
The DAAR collective based in Beit Sahour in the West Bank addresses these notions by taking the Palestinian parliament building in Abu Dis as a paradigmatic example of the Palestinian situation.
Common Assembly: Deterritorializing the Palestinian Parliament is a long-term project to think through and conceive spaces for political participation, decision and action for all Palestinians. This autumn, the United Nations will vote on whether to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state and a member of their assembly. This event’s arrival on the heels of other liberation struggles throughout the Middle East makes it a historic moment with great potential. Whatever the vote’s outcome, Palestinians must deal with a significant spatial problem: how can political participation be organized for a partially exiled—and therefore, geographically dispersed—people?
Where different revolutionary initiatives launched by Palestinian academics and various factions seek to address this problem on the political and institutional level, DAAR is committed to thinking through this problem on the architectural, territorial and extraterritorial levels. The studio has been granted access to the Palestinian Parliament building in Abu Dis. It was constructed with international donations during the Oslo years but the project was abandoned before completion. Now the Wall cuts the building off from Jerusalem. The building stands as a monument to the collapsed peace process but this condition of local impossibility allows for a political imaginary to arise. Thus, the building becomes a starting point from which to imagine new types of political assembly.
DAAR decided to use the building both as a site of intervention as well as a site of architectural speculation. DAAR’s goal is to work through an understanding of the relationships between territory, population and political representation. In Palestine, the population cannot be represented by a single parliament building, as it would serve only a people within imposed borders that fragment all those who see themselves as Palestinians; it must operate through disassociations in which the people, the building and the territory are categories in constant motion in relation to each other.
Exhibition from September 17 to October 28 2011
Opening September 16 2011
CAN Centre d’art Neuchâtel, Common Assembly