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In the Desert of Modernity

Colonial Planning and After
2008, Aug 29, Fri — 2008, Oct 26, Sun


The exhibition programme In the Desert of Modernity presents works of architecture and urban concepts that arose under the state of emergency that was colonial rule, a state influenced, in turn, by the anti-colonial liberation struggles and trans-national migration in North Africa and Western Europe. The example of the building projects dating from the 1950s and 1960s shows that European modernity would have been inconceivable without colonialism. In the Desert of Modernity presents recent research projects and little-known reciprocal relationships. The modern mode of mass construction tried out in North Africa soon migrated to the peripheries of Western European cities, where the all-too-familiar suburbs arose to accommodate hundreds of thousands of people. In many cases, the inhabitants living in the outskirts of Paris and London originated from the former colonies. Colonial history returned home to the metropolises. At the same time, the unquestioned technocratic plans the architects of European modernity were lastingly shaken by their experience of a North Africa challenged by liberation movements. The architects began to think in categories of a ‘different modernity’. An inexorable process of decolonisation began that is still nowhere near complete.


In addition to the exhibition:films, performances, talks, an international conference and more

Rarely shown films from archives in Paris, Rabat and Berlin will be presented in the film series , curated by Brigitta Kuster and Madeleine Bernstorff. With the performance The Walking Cube , Kanak Attak explores the link between architecture, power, migration and resistance. The staged by Remember Resistance re-interpret films in the context of (post-)colonial history. The programme also includes an international conference entitled , a special edition of the journal An Architecture and the Internet project this-was-tomorrow.net .



Artistic director: Marion von Osten

Curators: Tom Avermaete, Serhat Karakayali, Marion von Osten


Institutional partners:

Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Architekturfakultät der Delft University of Technology, Casamémoire / Casablanca, CPKC (Center for Post-Colonial Knowledge and Culture Berlin), École Supérieure d’Architecture de Casablanca


Research team:

Tom Avermaete, Serhat Karakayali and Marion von Osten in collaboration with Wafae Belarbi, Madeleine Bernstorff, Jesko Fezer, Brigitta Kuster, Andreas Müller, Daniel Weiss and students at the Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, the faculty of architecture at the Delft University of Technology and the École Supérieure d’Architecture de Casablanca


Exhibition architecture and design:

Jesko Fezer, Andreas Müller and Anna Voswinckel


Past Events
Sunday, Oct 26 2008
2008, Aug 29, Fri – 2008, Oct 26, Sun
Saturday, Oct 25 2008
Friday, Oct 24 2008
Thursday, Oct 23 2008
Sunday, Oct 19 2008
Sunday, Oct 12 2008
Sunday, Oct 5 2008
Saturday, Oct 4 2008
Friday, Oct 3 2008
Sunday, Sep 28 2008
Sunday, Sep 21 2008
Saturday, Sep 20 2008
Friday, Sep 19 2008
Tuesday, Sep 16 2008
Sunday, Sep 14 2008
Sunday, Sep 7 2008
Sunday, Aug 31 2008
Saturday, Aug 30 2008
Friday, Aug 29 2008
Thursday, Aug 28 2008
Die Ausstellung Führungen, Künstlergespräche