DR. EYAL WEIZMAN
Dr. Eyal Weizman is director of the Centre for Research Architecture at the University of London and the EU-funded research project Forensic Architecture. He completed his PhD at London Consortium, Birbeck College. Dr. Weizman has formerly taught at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and at the Technion School of Architecture. Since 2007, Dr. Weizman has been a member of the architectural collective “Decolonizing Architecture in Beit Sahour, Palestine.” He has delivered the Edward Said Memorial Lectures before. His books include The Lesser Evil, Hollow Land, A civilian occupation, Territories 1, Territories 2, Territories 3, and Yellow Rhythms.
Dr. Weizman is a member of the B’tselem Board of Directors. According to NGO Monitor, “B’tselem has faced serious criticism for its misrepresentation of international law, inaccurate research, and skewed statistics.” B’tselem regularly minimizes Israeli security concerns and deliberately chooses to not report on human rights violations that happen within mainland Israel. The executive director of B’tselem, Jessica Montell, believes that the situation in the West Bank is worse than apartheid and one former employee of B’tselem, Lizi Sagie, compared Israel to Nazism, claimed that Israel exploits the memory of the Holocaust for political gain, and called Israel’s Memorial Day a “pornographic circus of glorifying grief and silencing voices.”
In September 2010, Dr. Weizman gave an anti-Israel lecture at the School of Architecture at the University of Technology in Sydney, where he spoke about the “Elastic Architecture of Occupation” and “Decolonizing Architecture in the West Bank.”
Seeing Things | Decolonizing Architecture
In a new exhibition at the Gallery at REDCAT in Los Angeles, the Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR) looks at ways to use architecture to investigate and speculate about the future of sites that have been evacuated, or decolonized, by Israel in Palestine’s West Bank. DAAR — a Bethlehem-based research studio and residency program led by Alessandro Petti, Sandi Hillal and Eyal Weizman — envisions a “detoured world,” in which political, legal and architectural approaches can be employed to reuse both physical and organizational structures in new, and often unorthodox, ways.
Putting a new spin on the idea of adaptive reuse, “Return to Nature” proposes to transform the former Israeli army barracks in Oush Grab into an observatory for migrating birds, turning the empty concrete buildings over to nature. “The Red Castle and the Lawless Line,” the studio’s most recent project, focuses on a wealthy Palestinian businessman’s newly constructed mansion, which happens to sit on the line that divides the West Bank into three zones. In the map that resulted from the 1993 Oslo Accords, this line was drawn with red ink. The architects propose to transform the “red line” into an extraterritorial space that falls under neither Israeli nor Palestinian jurisdiction, and which can be used as a powerful site for intervention and appropriation.
DAAR believes that these small tears or gaps in the territorial system, like a seam that has come unsewn, may allow the entire system of divisions in the West Bank to be opened up and torn down. The exhibition, the first American presentation of DAAR’s work, provides not only a window onto a world that most of us know only from news that focuses on politics and conflict, but also offers innovative and imaginative approaches to the reuse of architecture and urban infrastructure that could be adopted in our own cities.
Eyal Weizman is a writer and architect; director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, and of the EU funded research project Forensic Architecture. Since 2007 he is a member of the architectural collective Decolonizing Architecture in Beit Sahour/Palestine. www.decolonizing.ps which has received the 2010 Prince Claus Award for Architecture. Weizman has taught, lectured, curated and organised conferences in many institutions worldwide. His books include The Lesser Evil [Nottetempo, 2009, Verso Books forthcoming 2011], Hollow Land [Verso Books, 2007], A Civilian Occupation [Verso Books, 2003], the series Territories 1,2 and 3, Yellow Rhythms and many articles in journals, magazines and edited books. Weizman is a regular contributor and an editorial board member for several journals and magazines including Humanity, Cabinet and Inflexions. He has worked with a variety of NGOs world wide and was member of B'Tselem board of directors.www.btselem.org. Weizman is the recipient of the James Stirling Memorial Lecture Prize for 2006-2007 and has recently delivered the Paul Hirst and the Edward Said Memorial Lectures. He studied architecture at the Architectural Association in London and completed his PhD at the London Consortium/Birkbeck College.