Nov 17th 2016

Jerusalem: Between Destruction and Obstruction

In this presentation, Nora Akawi aims to situate today’s experience of Jerusalem, a city trapped in constant excavation, in relation to its interrupted modernization in the past, and the obstructed imaginaries for a future. Through a brief overview of different forms of digging in the city (for archaeological excavations, for foundations of large construction, but also the systematic plowing through inhabited homes and neighborhoods), Akawi will feature Palestinian urban resilience in the city in the face of the violent destruction of traces of the past and the obstruction of possibilities to plan for a future.

Nora Akawi is an architect based between Amman and New York. In 2012, she joined Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) as curator of Studio-X Amman, a regional platform for programming and research in architecture run by Columbia GSAPP and the Columbia Global Centers | Amman. At Studio-X Amman, she leads the conceptualization and implementation of public programs and research initiatives on architecture in the Arab Mashreq by curating conferences, workshops, publications, screenings, lectures, and other collective forms of production in partnership with researchers or institutions in the region. Since 2014, she has been teaching a graduate seminar course of theory and visualization focused on borderlands, migration, citizenship and human rights at GSAPP. She studied architecture at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem (B.Arch 2009). In 2011, she received her MS in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture from Columbia GSAPP (MS.CCCP 2011), where she received the CCCP Thesis Award. Her thesis investigates the role of the archive in the formation of alternative political and spatial imaginaries in Palestine. She participates as Visiting Lecturer at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Art, in the Critical Habitats post-graduate program, and has served as critic in architecture programs at Columbia GSAPP, Barnard College, PennDesign, Harvard GSD, Georgia Tech, the Applied Science University in Amman, and GJU’s SABE, among others. Publications include the book Architecture and Representation: The Arab City (co-edited by Amale Andraos, Nora Akawi, and Caitlin Blanchfield, Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2016), and “Jerusalem: Dismantling Phantasmagorias, Constructing Imaginaries” in The Funambulist: Militarized Cities (edited by L. Lambert, 2015).

Image: Road #4. Photo: Omar Abdelqader.

This event is presented in conjuction with the exhibition, “Every Building in Baghdad: The Rifat Chadirji Archives at the Arab Image Foundation,” on view from September 15-December 31, 2016.

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