Searching for spatial possibilities

Stemming from the need for an alternative discourse that can nourish the Palestinian spaces of imagination, one needs to look beyond the conventional in order to cultivate change. Re-reading – or re-drawing – the land from a new perspective, by striping it off the dominant power of lines to expose the hidden dynamic topography will me the aim of this page.

‘Searching for Spaces of Possibilities’ reflects a process of work, thinking and making that has been taking place while working with Riwaq on bringing life back to the historic centres. In here we engage in conceptual discussions by using different mediums like drawings, maps and images to hint at spatial possibilities – ones that can offer a critical view and leave a space for the reader to imagine and question. These spatial possibilities are hoped to offer a new dimension to the historic centres by relating them to the wider urban context. It is a way for finding new means to break the isolation of Palestinians – not only in terms of their physical space but also on the space of imagination.

The new layers being created – what we call ‘imagined moments of possibilities’ – ought to be seen as the matrixes and networks that can begin to stitch together the fragmented spaces. Some of these moments might be speculative in their nature, and at times they can even be seen as ironic. Many ideas deliberately try to escape form certain realities, however, their ultimate aim is more to provoke a critical form of architecture, one that engages with actual spatial and social realities.

We therefore, regard the ‘process’ itself, which involved finding, mapping, re-drawing and re-presenting, as a fundamental part of creative thinking and spatial engagement, and it is this above all which we want to share with you.

Between zooming-in and zooming-out, we constantly try to shift scale. This is consciously done while thinking Palestine spatially in order to assure that a very small observation of everyday can be celebrated to become a concept and a spatial strategy to stitch and empower. This, will surface in the form of design proposals that inform our work while working within historic centres.

We share with you fragments of different moments of possibility, which we have captured while looking at the historic centres. These were taken by cutting the occupied land of the West Bank as a desire to explore its potentials. The outcome is a series of readings that take place on the Surface, in the Air, and also In-Between. These three different spatial components form the structure of this page.

The uniqueness of this process stems from its broader engagement with different partners and contributors, which has in turn offered an additional dimension to the work Riwaq is doing of which we want to share. The contributions vary in their nature; some are conceptual ideas extracted from my own research while doing my PhD. Others are part of a design-led research group that we have founded called Palestine Regeneration Team, and many other contributions emerged out of joint projects, interventions, discussions and events done with Riwaq whether they are academic or practice-based events. These include students’ projects, art and spatial interventions taking place in the historic fabrics.

Yara Sharif


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Searching for Spatial Possibilities

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