As announced in the facebook event, another project will be presented ZOO, or the letter Z, just after Zionism. This project focuses on the Gaza Strip reflecting on the two words that are categorized under the letter 'Z' in the Atlas's lexicon — "Zionism" and "zoo". It examines these seemingly unrelated themes within the context of the Gaza Strip, tracing them both back t the Age of Reason, the epoch of the classification of nations and animals.
The book maps and tackles processes and mechanisms that shape the relation of Israel and Palestine throughout the medium of territory over the past 100 years. The book reveals, questions interlinked issues: borders, walls as well as typologies of settlements, land ownership, demography, water, archaeological and cultural heritage sites, control of natural resources, landscaping, wars and treaties, all articulated on and with personal stories, traumas, resistance, etc.
Below an abstract of the introduction:
The Atlas of the Conflict maps the territorial aspects of the relations between over the past 100 years. I started this research 10 years ago as an architecture student in Israel. During my studies, I was confronted with a fundamental necessity to understand, at first, the events that led to the formation of Israel and, later, to take a personal and professional position it. In my third year of study at the Technion (the Israel Institute of Technology), I was assigned to design a new program, preferably a shopping mall, on an empty plot near Tel Aviv. During the preliminary site research, I discovered it to be a ruined Palestinian cemetery. My reaction was to stop designing. I felt the need to delve into the past and to learn the history of my country. A history that is not directly told. Driven by a genuine sense of curiosity, I started collecting illustrations, maps, photographs , diagrams and other visual materials. Textual testimonies, although very important, simply weren't tangible enough, as they cannot have a sense of scale.
Israel's dynamic spatial maneuvers are tied to fluctuations in borders and to patterns of settlements. They result in a unique and ever evolving spatial practice of temporarily, which can be detected in settlements typologies, from a Wall and a Tower (1930s) to Caravilla's (2005). The settler is, until this day, used as an occupying power, creating a fact on the ground, a living wall, a keeper of the land and of its natural resources: always placed strategically, according to a national agenda. The constant intensive movements in space and time of the Zionist project have no precedent.
Another book, if you are interested in these questions of weaponized architecture (and urbanism) at larger scales, is Leopold Lambert's Weaponized Architecture: The Impossibility of Innocence published by Barcelona-based dpr barcelona, that I have already mentioned in this blog.