A new approach to writing history The reconstruction of history through nodal spaces in the Ghost city of Lifta →
Under the theme of Architectures of Hiding, this set features installations of recording and transcribing silenced layers of history. Today Lifta is fighting a development plan by the occupation that decontextualizes its structures, and neglects its history.1 The plan proposes alienated programs as a method of concealing its position of using architecture to serve political agendas.
The experience of displacement is translated through a series of redesigned ruins and the curation of the journey of return, which ends at the machine of transcription.
The six collages of destruction highlight the occupation by overlaying cultural artifacts with objects of apartheid to reveal moments omitted from the city’s history.
The models are used as casts for tracing the voids and incorporating the physical landscape of the city with narratives of the owners in exile. Based on the book Permanent Temporariness, the three ruined houses are redesigned to highlight different cultural traditions showing the multiplicity of one place: “Madafah,” “Mujawara,” “Hodoud.”2 The nodes are all connected in proximity and located in The Ard,3 as part of the journey of return.
The space of return at the end of the path shows full transparency with no defined scale or orientation, projecting the uncertain future of the Liftans in diaspora. The tower of return becomes the repository for unregistered memories of the place and people. Following the return is a moment between the past and the present, the memory. The space translates into a machine for regenerating the memories. The recording of history takes place through the process of fragmenting objects and reconstructing them into a space of recording. Within the machine are re-imagined artifacts and devices such as the bulldozer, to be used as platforms of narration for future generations.
Mahmoud Darwish once said, “as you set up for the next war, think of the people asking for peace, on your way home remember the people of the camps, as you free yourself from all the metaphors, think of those who lost their right to speak.”4 You are now part of The Ard and your engagement will help resist the endangerment of erasure for millions displaced around the world today.
Keywords: history transcription, void inversion, memory destruction, right of return, space of resistance.
1Shoshan, Malkit Reconstruction of Memory - Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory: FAST, “Lifta after Zionist planning,” July 2018, http://seamlessterritory.org/reconstruction-of-memory-2/.
2Hilal, Sandi, and Alessandro Petti, Permanent Temporariness, (Stockholm: Art and Theory Publishing, 2018.)
3 The Ard, arabic translation of Land.
4 Jabbar, N., “As you return home, to your home, think of others. live in the layers,” November 2015, https:// nataliejabbar.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/as-you-return-home-to-your-home-think-of-others/.
HALA BARAKAT, originally from Anabta, Palestine, is an assistant professor of Architecture at the University of Idaho. Hala received her M.Arch (2016) and MUCD (2019) degrees both from the University of South Florida. She covers architectural design foundations in her courses. Hala believes in architecture’s ability to tell stories of civilizations, including narratives about displacement. She resists the use of architecture to serve any political agenda and feels strongly about the creation of a space as an act of advocacy. With her global perspective, Hala aims to use architecture as a catalyst for developing an architectural language understood by all.