Aug 29–Oct 26, 2008

In the Desert of Modernity - The Exhibition

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. It tells the stories of the inhabitants, architects, colonial administrators and scientists who were involved in the controversy surrounding modernity and modernisation. It examines the contradictions of colonial modernism as well as the forms of resistance to it.

Through close examination of exemplary architectural and urban projects IN THE DESERT OF MODERNITY reveals that North Africa and the Mediterranean region functioned as catalysts for European modernity, which is not inconceivable without colonialism. Key-notions of post-war modern architecture are firmly rooted in the logics and perspectives of colonialism. Generally there seems to exist an ambivalent kinship between the emancipatory promises of the modernists and the domination systems of colonialism. Moreover, the architectural and urban projects for Casablanca and Algiers that offices like ATBAT Afrique conceived –in a laboratory-like condition– played not only an important role in colonial modernisation, but subsequently also provoked a postmodern critique of architecture in Western Europe and the USA.

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 de 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.

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 faculty of architecture at the Delft University of Technology, the École Supérieure d’Architecture de Casablanca.