The project Territories examines the production, conquest, occupation, defense, and control of this space. It gathers works by architects and artists who are engaged in examining these strategic territorial features and questioning their mechanisms of representation. The territories of Israel and Palestine provide an intense and violent ‘laboratory’ for the working of a territorial conflict of great global significance. It presents us with an arsenal of extreme conditions in which global and generic forms are organized by national, religious and strategic imperative. Throughout the last century, a different kind of warfare has been radically transforming the landscapes of Israel and Palestine. In these landscapes, the mundane elements of planning and architecture have been conscripted as tactical tools in the strategy of the State of Israel, which seeks to achieve national and geo-political objectives through the organization of space. Zionist history merged modern utopias with changing architectural and urban trends and grounded them in the context of a national territorial conflict.

Acting against the current spatial conception that imagines political territory as an endless flat surface that is cut into coherent territorial units by linear borders, this project investigates the fragmentation of contemporary political space. The idea of ‘territory’ has been multiplied into a series of physical and metaphorical ‘territories’ organized across a multi-layered environment. Just as fjords, islands, and lakes break the coherent continuity of both water and land, political space has been splintered into discontinuous fragments kept apart by separate makeshift boundaries, internal checkpoints and security measures.

A large part of the exhibition is based on a research and human rights project by the architects duo Eyal Weizman and Rafi Segal about the nature of Israeli architecture in the West Bank. The project shows, from a critical viewpoint, how planning and architecture act as extensions of political and military strategy. Originally conceived as the official Israeli contribution to the UIA Congress in Berlin in 2002, their project, A Civilian Occupation, was banned by the same body that commissioned it – the Israeli Association of United Architects. Since then, the project has developed further, with contributions from artists including Daniel Bauer Nir Kafri, Milutin Labudovic and Nadav Harel.

Examining the historical context of the political role of Israeli architecture, Sharon Rotbard’s contribution Homa Umigdal (Wall and Tower) – represents the pre-state projects of agricultural Kibbutzim as a doubling mirror of social utopias and military strategy. Zvi Efrat and Eran Schaerf present an archival collection, Model State, tracing the creation of a state on drawings and through models. Within the framework of a larger research on border conditions, the Italian network Multiplicity explores the various formal and informal borders in the Occupied Territories and the way they affect the everyday life of both Palestinians and Israelis. Their contribution, Road Map, highlights the ‘theft of time’ that complements the spatial colonization of the territories. This work is echoed in a film of Armin Linke on the effects of a roadblock near Gaza City.

A series of specially commissioned works supplements the territorial investigation of Israel/Palestine. The Berlin-based group An Architektur explores the juridical and spatial dimensions of the ‘War on Terrorism’. Their investigation of detention camps such as Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean points to the state of emergency as a paradigmatic condition of political space today. Together with contributions by Sean Snyder on military bases and Joachim Koester on the Free City of Christiania, the exhibition offers a reading of space in the proliferation of a multiplicity of strategic and extraterritorial islands – between utopian isolation, spatial exclusion and strategic location.

Territories was produced by Kunstwerke, Berlin in collaboration with Witte de With, Rotterdam. Territories was on view at Kunstwerke from June 1 – August 24, 2003.

TERRITORIES was produced by Kunst-Werke, Berlin in collaboration with Witte de With, Rotterdam. Curated by Anselm Franke, in collaboration with Eyal Weizman, Rafi Segal and Stefano Boeri.

With special thanks to: Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam and Hauptstadtkulturfonds, Berlin.




Supported By

Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam
Hauptstadtkulturfonds, Berlin