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01_garden of the forking.txt**
ďI leave to the various futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths. (...) In all fictional works, each time a man is confronted with several alternatives, he chooses one and eliminates the others; in the fiction of Tsíui PÍn, he choosesó simultaneouslyóall of them. He creates, in this way, diverse futures, diverse times which themselves also proliferate and fork.Ē
óJorge Luis Borges, 1941
Suspended between arbitrary cartographic acts and geographical reality, thirteen territories remain enclaved within the intricate, overdrawn and ever disputed Israeli-Lebanese frontier. This particular borderline condition is an opportunity for an architectural study of open and loose infrastructures aiming to liberate the terrain from its geopolitical paralysis. Hence, this presentation refrains from offering a design-driven solution, and instead suggests a tactical proposal for ambiguous architectural speculations which could shift, modify, replace and substitute, while untangling the inherent liminality and escalating hostility of the Israeli-Lebanese frontier.
The series of settings are super-positions of existing typological aberrations on both sides of the border: deviant infrastructure, over-planned landscapes, makeshift follies, historical relics and abandoned or overused border fortifications, stripped to their skeleton and foundation and relieved from aesthetic intent.
As the leftover grids randomly cluster and overlap, unique constellations in multiple configurations arise. Much like Borgesí Garden of the Forking Paths, they proliferate and multiply into probable or made-up future(s) of the enclaves, embracing programmatic indeterminacy, celebrating ex-territoriality and acting out bipolar architecture, doomed to fluctuate between construction and destruction, re-use and entropy, skeptical planning and speculative realism.
06_Wohnungsfrage.txt**Communal by Commune was an installation on the occasion of the Wohnungsfrage exhibition at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) Berlin, curated by Zvi Efrat and Galia Bar Or and Gili Merin as assistant curator, photographer and producer.
Communal by Commune depicts a concrete terrain and a living community – kibbutz Yagur at the foothills of Mt. Carmel. Almost a hundred years since its founding, Yagur still operates as a collective and is still working out the idea of the Common as ground for the production of social practices and modes of spatiality. Against the grain of habitual patterns of building and dwelling characterizing rural settlements and uniform communities, Yagur is a conspicuous case of an architecture without instincts nor tradition. The all too proverbial double-bind of vernacular spontaneity and typological homogeneity is taken over in Yagur by an elaborate binary mode of operation relying, first, on the incessant import of expert knowledge to present and represent its socio-cultural idiosyncrasy, and second, on persistent breeding of its own informal savoir-faire to mediate between the experts and the amateurs, the theorists and the bricoleurs.
02_URBURB.txt**In 2013 I joined the team of the Israeli Pavilion at the 14th international Architecture Biennale in Venice as an assistant curator, undertaking roles of research, writing, photography and press for the exhibition. The following images are graphic material and photography produced for both the Israeli and the International catalogues.
These images depict The URBURB: Neither urban nor suburban, the contemporary built landscape is a fragmented mosaic of one hundred years of modernist planning in Israel-Palestine. An accumulated compound of early twentieth century garden-cities, mid-century social housing and generic, high-rise residential typologies of the past two decades.
03_window-less Berlin.txt**Wandering the streets of Berlin, I noticed a repetitive phenomena which - to the locals - seemed mundane: commonly known as ďfire wallsĒ, many facades remain entirely window-less, awaiting further construction which is forever halted; irregular regulations within a city scarred by violent partitions. The absurdity of these walls was magnified in a series of processed images, transforming the entire city into dead-end walls, creating, in their totality, a surreal ďMonolith CityĒ.
With this thought in mind, the ďVoid StrategyĒ for an empty lot in the midst of Berlin was developed, as an opaque structure of concrete punctured only by one, over-scaled opening, hinting the interior: an enclosed semi-private public space, encompassed by an inverted facade, creating an oasis-like inner courtyard in Berlinís busy Mitte District.
Universitut der Kunste Berlin / Professor Enrique Sobejano / 2014
04_odyssea palestina.txt**Odyssea Palestina: a travelogue of travelogues to the Holy Land in Modernity is the title of my MA dissertation at the Architectural Association (AA) post-graduate program for History and Critical Thinking. It studies the historical process of documentation and representation of the land of Palestine through the eyes, lenses, and pens of nineteenth-century travellers, who blurred the line between pilgrims and tourists. The thesis describes their disappointing encounter with the actuality of this ‘sacred geography’ and attempts to trace the reasons for the particular heightened expectations fostered by Western imagery and iconography. In order to rectify this reading of the land, I argue, travellers engage in a ‘corrective’ writing of their own, which allows them to rearticulate their experience in accordance with a predetermined scene, sentiment, or memory, and add a layer of their own to the palimpsest of representations.
The re-writing of the terrain forms a continuous series of visual and textual first-hand impressions that I refer to as Travelogues, a neologism of travel and monologues, alluding to the reciprocal and mutual validation between land and traveller. As an allegory for architecture, the travelogue conjures a linear spatial entity that claims authority to manipulate both the actual land and the fabled landscape. I then speculate on the spatial and political ramifications of these travellers and their travelogues through the case study of Jerusalem and its reconstruction as a ‘Biblical’ Holy City by the British Mandate in 1917, as various acts of removal, demolition and reconstruction were legitimised on the basis of aesthetic appropriations.
I conclude with a travelogue of my own from 2017: a series of photographs of contemporary heritage sites in Israel accompanied by the descriptions of Aviam Atar, a ranger of the Israeli National Parks Authority. Atar’s opinions, hopes, and dreams for these sites, and expose the land in its current state of commodification and ‘heritage-isation.’; his accounts unfold the effects of the travellers, as the Holy Land transforms from a proper land to a theological landscape to a political landmark, its terrain an ever-drawn object of aesthetic representation, spiritual pilgrimage, and extreme tourism.
05_Hatzor.txt**The Kibbutz Hatzor extension plan is an on-going project lead by architect Rafi Segal architect Rafi Segal (Rafi Segal A+U and prof. at MIT), which includes a residential extension to the rural-communal settlement of Hatzor, located in the south of Israel. With a renewed interest in the collective and sustainable housing units provided by the Kibbutz, young families now seek to join the 600-member community. Acknowledging the danger in adapting the conventional suburban subdivisions and typologies, the kibbutz planning committee commissioned Segal to devise a plan for the imminent growth, one that would accommodate the new neighborhood while preserving the unique landscape, relation to open spaces and notions of collectivity imbedded in the kibbutz.
The project searches for a middle ground between two distinct ways of living: the socialist idealism of early kibbutz settlements, which was conceived as a single plot of collectively owned land, and the privatized lifestyle of detached suburban houses. dominating the residential developments built outside of the metropolitan centers of Israel. Segal‚Äôs design strategy, developed over two years in close collaboration with the Kibbutz members, includes the incorporation and re-interpretation of significant elements that previously shaped the Kibbutz: the abundance of open green spaces, scattered with free standing residential units, organised through a series of winding pedestrian paths which create a car-free continuum of movement along the private-public spectrum.
Documentation of both the existing landscape and the ongoing process of design is being photographed by myself and presented below.
09_valueofland.txt**The Value of Land - Resilience of the Past was an installation lead by Studio Folder as a part of Far Away: So Close - the 25th Biennale for Design in Ljubljana, curated by Angela Rui and Maja Vardjan. In this installation, we attempted to examine the unfolding of history by challenging the notion of the past in broader terms and on an extended timescale. The conjunction point between the notion of resilience and traces of time exists in the land itself, which becomes the pivotal stage from which different interpretations about its value can be extracted.
The interlocking stories that define the coordinates of this research unfold along different stretches of time, yet they are all entangled in a small area of the Eastern Alps, between the sources of the river Sońća and the lower heights of the BanjŇ°ice Plateau. These narratives are explored through the objects, documents, maps, images, diagrams, theories and technologies that were spread across the room on the black reflective surface; they present experimental methods of mapping, the used of applied sciences in warfare, and the interplay between populations, resources and progress. This installation is not to be seen as opposition to either science or reason, but one where the hierarchical discrimination between human, nature, and land should be removed.
Beyond exploitation, quantification or commodification, beyond projecting to the land any historical, national and religious values, and beyond an obsessive need to demarcate and possess, this research attempt to glimpse at a different idea of progress; How can the land‚Äôs shared value be singled out from the ongoing political discourse, so that it won‚Äôt be questioned in the future? How can we represent its complexity, without oversimplifying it into the basic opposition of preservation vs. exploitation?
Participants: Merve Bedir, Giulia Cordin, Marco Ferrari, David Gorny, Gili Merin, Monuriki (Marco Minicucci, Luis Pimentel, Livia Shamir), Elisa Pasqual, Ana Pecar, Anna Positano, and Studio Folder. photo ¬© Delfino Sisto Legnani
is an architect,photographer and journalist based in London. She teaches History and Theory of Architecture at the Royal College of Art and the Architectural Association, where she is a part of the PhD-by-Design research collective entitled The City as a Project. She studied architecture at the UdK Berlin, Waseda University in Tokyo, and the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, where she taught first and third-year design studios. In 2017 she graduated with distinction from the Architectural Association Masters program for History and Critical Thinking.
Gili had various training as an architect and a researcher in AMO*OMA in Rotterdam, COBE in Berlin and ArchDaily in Santiago, Chile. She participated in the curatorial and production stages of various international exhibitions including The Urburb at the 14th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, Far Away-So Close in MAO Ljubljana, Fire and Forget at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and Wohnungsfrage at HKW Berlin.
She authored the Wallpaper City Guide for Tel Aviv (Phaidon, 2016), and conducted research and editorial work for OMAs Elements of Architecture (Taschen, 2017), and The Israel Project by Zvi Efrat (Spector Books, 2018). Her writings and photography have been featured in various academic journals and international publications including MITs Thresholds, Mark Magazine, Frame, Surface, Quaderns, Artsy, Ha'aretz, ArchDaily, Uncube, Metropolis, StylePark, Business Insider, The Huffington Post and Detail.