In the Desert of Modernity. Colonial Planning and After
Exhibition, Film, Performance, Talks, International Conference
28.08.2008 - 26.10.2008
Opening 28 August
In 1956, the year the foundation stone was laid for the "Hall of Congresses" in West-Berlin - the home of the House of World Cultures today - Morocco was ushering in the end of the French protectorate. The port city of Casablanca, which the French occupiers had started to develop in 1912 and through intense construction activity turned into a model of modern urban architecture embodied the vision of a ‘city of tomorrow’. Casablanca was not the only city to assume a special position in architectural discourse, other North African cities such as Algiers, Oran and Tunis played a similar role. For European architects these cities became canvases on which the dreams for a large modern metropolis could be projected and above all realised. Under colonial rule North Africa served as a laboratory for modernisation projects and projections. Hence, colonial modernisation was not only directed at and against the colonised, but it also played a major role within the modernisation projects in Europe’s metropolises. Moreover, the architectural and urban projects for Casablanca and Algiers that offices like ATBAT Afrique conceived played not only an important role in colonial modernisation, but subsequently also provoked a postmodern critique of architecture in Western Europe and the USA.
The exhibition presents architectural and urban projects that were developed in the 1950s and 1960s in North Africa and Western Europe against a background of colonial governance, anti-colonial struggles and trans-national migration. The exhibition introduces and expounds the problem of the ambivalences between colonial rule and modernistic Utopias. In how far are Utopias of modernism and civilization rooted in colonialism? In how far have the breaks within and resistance against colonialism left their mark on modernism? The exhibition also provides tangible evidence of the events, projects, actions, and visions that played a significant role during the time of decolonization between North Africa and Europe, and are still of great significance today.
Drawings, Schemes, Photographies, Paintings, Modells und Films by:
Lázaro Abreu, Luis Álvarez, Arsac A., Ascoral des Jeunes, Association les Engraineurs, Atelier Archives Audiovisuelles BDIC, Kader Attia, Élie Azagury, Jacques Belin, Claude Beraud, Vladimir Bodiansky, Georges Candilis, Giancarlo di Carlo, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Chaïbia, Hassan Darsi, Robert Doisneau, Michel Écochard, Pierre-André Emery, Patrick Forest, Jesús Forjans, Gérard-Aimé, Georges Godefroy, Faïza Guéne, Marcel Gut, Jean Hentsch, Monique Hervo, Bernhard Hoesli, François Issaverdens, Romain Jeannot, Alexis Josic, Élie Kagan, Bernard Kennedy, Labor k3000, J. Lambert, Yasmeen Lari, Le Corbusier, Guy Le Querrec, Jean de Maisonseul, Mario Marret, Pierre Mas, Louis Miquel, Janine Niepce, L. Ouhayoun, Henri Piot, Jean Pottier, Fernand Pouillon, Loïk Prat, Bernard Richard, Willy Ronis, Alfrédo Rostgaard, Bernard Rudofsky, Moshe Safdie, Roland Simounet, Wit Sklias, Alison und Peter Smithson, André Studer, L. Tamborini, Marcelle Vallet, Aldo Van Eyck, Jean Vidal, J. Wattez und Shadrach Woods.
Alongside the international conference ‘The Colonial Modern’, the exhibition is accompanied by a film programme by Madeleine Bernstorff and Brigitta Kuster, performances and interventions by Kanak Attak and Remember Resistance, as well as a special issue of the magazine An Architektur and an internet project by Labor k3000.
A project by Marion von Osten, Serhat Karakayali and Tom Avermaete
in collaboration with Mogniss Abdallah, An Architektur, Wafae Belarbi,
Madeleine Bernstorff, Casamémoire Casablanca, Elsa de Seynes,
Jesko Fezer, Kanak Attak, Brigitta Kuster, La Scource de Lion Casablanca,
Labor k3000, Andreas Müller, Remember Resistance, Peter Spillmann,
Anna Voswinkel, Daniel Weiss and students at the Akademie der bildenden
Künste Wien, the Delft University of Technology, the École Supérieure
d’Architecture de Casablanca.