What future can be planned for Palestine?
So far in this series we’ve looked at a nightmare sci-fi segregationalism generated merely from revealing the implications of the Oslo Accords as architectural impressions. We’ve also looked at a much more positive spatial plan to develop a central north-south transit corridor, linking most of the main settlements and directing future urban growth without sprawl. The architectural student, the leading planner, what, thirdly, would an artist have to offer in terms of a vision for Palestine?
The third ‘plan’ is an art installation by Ramallah resident Wafa Hourani entitled Qalandia 2067.
“Combining photography and sculpture his Future Cities projects deal with the social, political, and economic realities of Palestinian life to develop grim and apocalyptic predictions for the residents of the West Bank.
Qalandia 2067 takes its name from the main check point crossing through the West Bank Security Fence which divides the cities of Ramallah and ar-Ram; it is a site of political unrest and human rights concerns.
Dating his piece 2067 – one hundred years after the Arab-Israeli 6 Day War – Hourani has constructed 5 scale models envisioning the future of a refugee camp where time seems to have regressed rather than evolved. Basing each segment on an actual site – the airport, border crossing, and 3 settlements – the buildings are rendered as war-ravaged and crumbling, crowned by implausibly archaic remnants of TV antennae. Each building is a miniature light-box illuminating glimpses into the private lives of the residents through film strips placed in the windows, an unnerving reminder that this science fiction horror is, for many, an everyday experience.”
As I look at these five separate models (even online), all depicting parts of the same community, yet dislocated to the Saachi Gallery in London and isolated from one another in their gallery space on individual white plinths, my sense of utter social fragmentation is almost visceral.
Is this the only future for Palestine – more of the same?
In Part 4 I’ll examine what these three contrasting visions of Palestine’s future have to tell us about the possibilities and the challenges.
Read Part 1
Read Part 2
Part 4 coming soon