The project “Talking Stones” explores the effects of Israel’s colonial apartheid policy in the cities of Acres and Hebron,  based on narratives and practices related to the memory of places, with the multiple belongings and with the experiences of exile and aspirations to return to Palestine.

It is initiated by the Institute of Humanities MedFil with PAS-E and biennial Urbana in Italy, Riwaq in Palestine and other international partners.
It gives rise to two workshops during the 16th Venice Architecture Biennal 2018, Studio Palestine from August 29th to 31th in studio Pas-e, Cannaregio 3561, Venice and Topographies, from September 2d to 4th, and the creation of a space of intervention and exhibition from September 10th to November 15th, 2018 in Caserma Pepe, Lido of Venice.
The team is working with a group of local volunteers in Palestine, composed of students, young workers, architects and artists, and inhabitants, in collaboration with italian and french participants.

The task of the project consists of exploring the cities of Acres and Hebron since 1948, through a connection between cultural heritage and the production of space under the occupation, where collective memory and architecture meet one another. The questioning of this space-time will be lead following different paths: it will include a model of one district of Hebron as well as a mapping of the cities, audio and video interviews with old inhabitants, photography of the places and the ruins, a gathering of popular arts, craftsman-ships and raw materials.
These several patterns aim to expunge the rigid boundaries between scholars and young people, between professional artists, architects, video makers and the public, to avoid the petrification of the spectator in favour of a real experimentation where no subjective point of view is excluded.
As it is well-known, colonization has a plastic grasp on both collective memory and public space. At these levels, Palestinian people have suffered and still suffer from a multiple process of “deconstruction”: several scales of disintegration, fragmentation, settler colonization and military occupation which ghettoized an entire society behind walls and checkpoints, forced exile and living in refugee camps for 70 years.
Consequently, our project is part of a movement opposed to this mortifying deconstruction, it is thought of to “build” the conditions to think of a future, starting from the resistance to the ruins of the present, as it exists in cultural heritage and daily life. The quest is on the one hand to build continuity and a future-oriented attitude precisely where occupation brought fragmentation and depletion. On the other to question the meaning of a decolonial architecture, as in rebuilding houses that have been destroyed, repairing historical abandoned monuments, places of worship and socializing spaces.

Talking Stones (PDF)