Paper Abstracts

Susana Draper 

Building memory in wounded spaces: collective struggles by women prisoners in Latin America

I will approach prisons as open wounds focusing on collective struggles by women who build a spatial memory on past and present forms of imprisonment. By doing this, I aim to open the field of memory studies to the possibility of carrying out analysis of the different forms that the relation between territory and memory take not only in the past but also in the present of imprisonment, as a form of struggle within it, against it. That is to say, the practice of working collectively in the mapping of prison space becomes also a form of building memory and therefore, of transforming the present-time of imprisonment perceptible and figurable as historical time.


Elżbieta Janicka

False Symmetry. About two memorials in the space of the former Warsaw Ghetto

It is the non-Jewish majority that is in charge of symbolic management of the space of the WWII-period Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw. The context for proliferating commemorative initiatives is constituted by the process of redefining Holocaust, caused by the increase of factual knowledge.

The spatial politics of memory, visible in the texture of the city, could be framed into three major strategies. They aim at a) restitution of the figure of the Polish witness; b) establishment of a symmetry between the Polish and Jewish suffering during the WWII (thedouble genocide theory); and c) presenting the majority of Poles as those who saved Jews – the Righteous Among the Nations.

The space of the former Ghetto (1940-1943) in Warsaw is a site of the suffering, fight, death, and expulsions of nearly half a million Jews from Warsaw and vicinity. At the site of the former Umschlagplatz (Germ. ‘transfer square’) a memorial was erected to commemorate the approx. 300,000 Jews who were sent from here to the gas chambers of the Nazi extermination camps. The memorial is characterized by a discreet location (within the buildings of the frontage) and has an abstract form. Its shape refers to the claustrophobic enclosure of space: the ghetto, the cattle car, the gas chamber.

Along the axis of the monument at the former Umschlagplatz on the same street, a different monument was built, showing railroad ties and a cattle car in the realist, if not hyperrealist, convention. The car is filled with crosses and decorated with a symbol of Polish statehood: an eagle in a crown. The monument is situated in a prominent location: the center of an important communication hub. It commemorates the deportation of approx. 300,000 Polish citizens to the far reaches of the Soviet Union by the communist authorities. Most of the people deported to the Soviet Union survived and returned to Poland after the end of World War II. Many of them left the Soviet Union even earlier.

Using the example of two memorials situated in Warsaw, I will take a closer look at the strategy of establishing a (false) symmetry between Polish and Jewish fate in WWII (the double genocide theory).


Yemima Cohen-Aharoni

The Temple of Jerusalem: The Memory of the Future and the Politics of the Present

The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 70 A.D. 621 years later, the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim holy shrine, was erected at the same location, where it still stands and serves as a symbol of Palestinian nationhood. Despite these changes, Jewish and Christian believers worldwide have been hoping and waiting for the return of the Temple to its original location, the Temple Mount. Therefore, the Temple is perceived to be a part of both the past and the future. In addition, the memory of the Temple and its location stands in the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This talk examines the memory of the construction of the Temple focusing on two aspects: the influence of the future on memory and the political interpretation of place and time.

This talk explores the way in which the Temple is commemorated in three heritage sites adjacent to the Temple Mount: the Western Wall Heritage Tunnel, the Temple Institute, and the Archaeological Park of Jerusalem. It is argued that the attitudes towards the image of the future, the return of the Temple, effect the construction of memory. These attitudes towards the future are explained by what I term difficult future, an existing image of the future that consists of moral trauma and threatens the consensus.

Furthermore, attitudes towards the future influence the way in which these sites use time in order to interpret place. These sites occupy a unique place of memory – a place in proximity, which I define as being very close to the original location, yet slightly distant from it. The place in proximity is constructed by a temporal perspective, positioning the Temple as a part of the past, the present or the future. My talk will demonstrate how this interpretation of place and time shapes the landscape of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Desirée Valadares

The Pilgrimage: Alternative Kinships and Cross-Racial Solidarity at Former Sites of Japanese American Confinement

As political fervor vilifies immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, it is important to consider the politics and stakes of federally imposed institutional confinement as a misdirected means of dealing with national security, racism and economic exploitation. The incarceration of approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans, between 1942 and 1945, in a network of assembly centers, relocation centers and prison camps scattered across Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming is now recognized as a dark chapter in American history. A close study of these carceral environments and ‘wounded places’ offers a compelling material perspective that illuminates questions of citizenship, civil rights, state power, the limits of American justice and the ways in which moral anxieties and civic ambiguities surface in times of war.

More recently, the return to these sites of forced exile, via annual ‘camp pilgrimages,’ seek to reenact, to remember, heal and rebuild the social bonds challenged by the camp experience. Interestingly, the pilgrimages, which began as early as 1969, cultivate a union with many people who possess little to no connection with the land itself. Born out of collective solidarity with other ethnic groups during the 1960s civil rights movement, these pilgrimages demonstrate the ways in which unlikely alliances and coalitions are forged between disparate communities with analogous experiences of dispossession, oppression and displacement. This cultural landscape still remains comfortably invisible to most Americans but, contains a profound materiality that has become symbolic of cultural and racial prejudice beyond the Japanese American community.

In an attempt to answer how unrelated American ethnic groups, suffering similar persecution unite in solidarity, this engaged community research involves both, archival research and active participation in five pilgrimages: 47th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage (2016, California), the 40th Annual Amache Pilgrimage (2016, Colorado), the 3rd Annual Angel Island Pilgrimage (2016, California), the 6th Annual Heart Mountain Pilgrimage (2017, Wyoming) and the 14th Annual Minidoka Pilgrimage (2017, Idaho).


Virginia Tassinari

States of Exception as Moments of Possibility for Design

Many philosophers, anthropologists, sociologists and ethnographers have been speaking about myth. For instance, the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben speaks of “states of exceptions” which are created, where to experience an alternative idea of time, i.e. the myth. These exceptions are what inform the rule. It is thanks to the exceptions that the rule can exist. This means that linear time is powered by the mythological idea of time that is celebrated from time to time in festive settings. This is the case for instance in celebrations where the rules of society are inverted and it is possible to come into contact with alternative ideas of time and myth (for instance, the Carnival). This aspect has also been researched upon by philologists such as Károly Kerényi and Furio Jesi, who have been questioning the mythological dimension opened by the disruption of linear time and progress. Artists and designers can also create these “states of (temporal) exceptions”, these moments of “kairos”: of crisis and of awareness. Yet, how can we philosophically describe these alternative dimensions and interpretations of time? Are artists and designers aware of them when they are creating states of exception? Are they aware of the consequences thereof (for instance about the fact that the alternative time frame they manifest becomes the exception that establishes and reinforces the rule (and, thus, the ideology of linear time & progress)? How do they deal with that?


Yukiko Koga

Inheritance and Betrayal: Historical Preservation and Colonial Nostalgia in Harbin

The presentation shows the dynamics of inheritance and betrayal as they play out in the politics surrounding historical preservation of colonial-era architecture in Harbin, China, built mostly by Russians and Japanese in the beginning of the twentieth-century and the ensuing nostalgia industry related to “Old Harbin,” as locals affectionately refer to Harbin during the era of colonialism. This presentation explores the heated and public “historians’ debate” on Harbin’s colonial origin in preparation for the city’s ill-fated centenary celebration in 1998, a concomitant photography exhibition on the history of Old Harbin in the beautifully restored cathedral in the center of the city, and the virtual resurrection of Russian-built St. Nicholas Church, destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. We see how the Harbin municipal government’s capitalization on colonial inheritance through preservation unintentionally questioned the legitimacy of the party-state and called forth an unexpected ghost of a different sort––the Cultural Revolution. Through the dynamics of inheritance and betrayal, the case of Harbin illustrates how multi-layered losses from different historical sediments––losses from colonialism, socialism, and postsocialism––unexpectedly emerge through the capitalization of colonial inheritance.


Alexandra Delano Alonso and Benjamin Nienass

Reclaiming Memory and Mourning: Grievability and Resistance in Mexico

The widespread violence in Mexico by state and non-state actors since the government launched a military strategy against drug cartels in 2006 has generated demands for justice, including demands for spaces of mourning and commemoration that recognize hundreds of thousands of Mexican nationals and migrants from other countries who have been killed or disappeared. Creating memorial spaces for an ongoing violence whose perpetrators and victims are often hard to delineate has proven difficult both from a bureaucratic and a political perspective given the contestation about how the conflict and its causes and consequences are defined. In this paper we examine and contrast three commemorative spaces: The Memorial to the Victims of Violence, a disputed government-led project in Mexico City that failed to respond to grassroots demands for a space that recognized the full array of victims; the project to reclaim the Maclovio Rojas plot in Tijuana –a space that was used by drug cartels to dissolve human remains in acid- led by the Association of Families of the Disappeared in Baja California and the RECO artist collective; and the New’s Divine Memorial, a memorial project focused on rebuilding the social fabric of communities in the outskirts of Mexico City that continue to experience different forms of violence, beyond the specific event of police abuse and its deadly consequence that this space is known for. Through these cases we show how activists challenge and reclaim practices and spaces of memory and mourning by drawing links between various forms and instances of violence in Mexico. Through acts of appropriation and the creation of alternative models of commemorative spaces, they not only assign responsibility to the state, but also question the hierarchy of victims implied in many state-sponsored memory projects and confront memory efforts that avoid broader issues of geographic neglect and urban renewal.


Jonathan Bach

In place of…: The absent presence of Berlin’s Palaces

This presentation explores the idea of absence in understanding the role of centrality. It looks at a period when postwar Berlin’s center was “empty”—after the imperial palace had been destroyed by the Communist government but before the building of the Communist “Palace of the Republic.” It postulates three distinct periods structured by the absence of a mythical, soaring, socialist “Central Building” that never materialized and yet haunted the socialist era: 1950-1963, when East Berlin sought to claim to be the center of a new Germany; 1963-1973 when East Berlin sought to de-center the growing prominence of West Berlin; and 1973-1990, when the socialist “central building” sought to re-center socialist life around a consumption-oriented people’s palace. It closes by connecting the structuring absence of 1950-1973 to the “empty” period of 1990-2008, an 18-year long period when the former Communist palace was gutted and then demolished to make way for the reconstruction of the castle. It shows how these lengthy periods of “emptiness” encompass the logic of what I call the double take, in which attempts to replace buildings results in a performance of the center as a space of absence and projection, of transformation and transgression.


Adam Lipszyc

The Vortex of Pain: Theorists, Writers and Artists Visiting a Wounded Square in Warsaw

Following Henri Lefebvre and Michel Foucault, Edward Soja has taught us to look at space as the odd element irreducible either to the purely physical or to the purely ideal structures, a dynamic realm in which the material and the imaginary permanently clash against each other. Following Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan and Walter Benjamin, as well as the theorists of psychogeography, Steve Pile has argued for seeing space as permeated with libidinal aspects of mourning and desire, but also with dream-like and spectral moments. Combining and developing these two clusters of ideas into a consistent theoretical framework, I would like to visit a wounded and haunted place in Warsaw, with a writer and a visual artist as my guides. The tour should reveal the palimpsestic nature of the spot, the various wounds that mark it – some of them visible in the very architecture of the square, some of them of public and some of private nature – as well as the possible ways of making home there.


Lina Sergie Attar

An Unsettled Syria: Recollecting and Reimagining Home

Since 2011, millions of Syrians have experienced the simultaneous rebirth and destruction of their country on every scale: from home to nation. How does one express Syria’s collective and personal losses, hopes, and regrets in a meaningful and constructive way? How does one process the traumatic everyday events devouring a country while at the same time create impactful programs for the future generation? As practicing designers, how do we reexamine past theories and projects of urban trauma and national identity, collective memory and constructed memorial, cultural heritage and reconstruction, in the brutal reality of ongoing war, genocide, and global mass displacement? How do you find home again while living in the time of unending conflict and uncertainty?

This is a Syrian story of navigating this in-between present that struggles to reconcile our memories of lost home while imagining new possibilities for the future.


Krzysztof Czyżowski, Elzbieta Matynia

An Invisible Bridge

In the context of today’s disturbingly divisive world, this conversation takes us to the practice of bridge building, a task and imaginary that might seem at once radical and naïve. It does not address large structures such as the states or religions that protect their boundaries and exclusive identities, but a much more elusive fabric, a connective tissue that transcends differences and keeps humanity alive, vibrant… and human. The main concern here is how to attend to wounded places, and to the injured people in the actual places they inhabit, places that still bare the marks of trauma. How to dress the wounds, how to begin the process of mending the divide, and healing the memory. More specifically, the subject of the conversation is the building of an invisible bridge and the mystery of this bridge, which – though it starts in the past — aims at the future. Both the interlocutors themselves and the work they are doing bridge gaps between  academia and the real world, the arts and politics, continents and cultures. Krzysztof Czyzewski, a practitioner of ideas, is director of the Borderland Center of Arts, Cultures, and Nations in a small town in northeastern Poland. Elzbieta Matynia, a sociologist of culture and politics, is director of the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies at the New School for Social Research in New York.


Angeliki Dimaki-Adolfsen

“Children let’s play:” examining play in refugee camps in northern Greece

In this paper, I would like to present the base of my PhD work, which focuses on design explorations, refugee children and playful learning in-transit and refugees camps settings. Can play become the medium for refugee children in Europe to continue developing their individual and social capabilities in relation to the current social and cultural settings they are in? Can play become the medium for design research to understand and analyze the power relations of the so called “refugee crisis”? Can play develop a political design argumentation in order to uncover the exploitation of children from the present political agendas? Having as a starting point the refugee camps in North Greece, I am investigating how the ephemeral character of play, that is created with and by the children in “temporary” places as camps and refugee encampments, can be the link between their past, present and future life. Play – and the material forms of it- is seeing here as a therapeutic medium (past), as a self and social realization process (present), and as a critical potential action (future)*. The “wounded spaces” within the refugee children are settled are seeing here as learning spaces outside the strict limits of classical school curricula; which due to their nature are informing and directing the play activities of the children. Thus it is of significant importance to analyze the power relations and structures within these spaces and within the primarily political situations that have create such spaces. Based on such analyses, I will then argue that designers can articulate play activities and actions that both could enact critical awareness to the children and the designers and could become critical political argumentations against current political practices.


Liam Healy and Jimmy Loizeau

Design Unlikely Futures and the Jungle

Since 2015 Design Unlikely Futures (DUF) have been developing collaborative and participatory practices for documenting ‘The Jungle’: an unofficial camp that existed on wasteland outside Calais in Northern France. Until its demolition in November 2016 the camp provided temporary refuge to a population of up to 10,000 people. DUF are now developing ethnographic, topographic and cartographic ‘thick descriptions’ (Geertz, 2000) with residents and their architectures through participatory processes and tools.

A bespoke bicycle with built in cameras was deployed prior to the camp’s demolition, generating new opportunities to challenge the dynamics of researcher and researched. The bicycle brought residents, volunteers, and even riot police ‘into play’ and facilitated an intimate access to the camp. Turning cameras inwards towards its riders, the bicycle strove to co-author documentation and representation of this population in transit. We are continuing to edit and produce films with residents we met in the camp.

Not recognised as a refugee camp it was offered little to no state aid, instead UK government sponsored walls and fences were erected. Despite demanding conditions in the camp, the stark difference in these architectures reveals self-organisation of the camp through resilience and creativity in opposition to state sanctioned ‘container/containment-architecture’. In the lifetime of the the camp, residents and volunteers constructed DIY infrastructures: housing, shops/cafes, legal centres, churches and mosques. Simultaneously media coverage and political rhetoric depicted the residents as “swarms” or “waves” of non-people in a non-space.

Where disasters and  humanitarian crisis’ unfold globally, dominant problem-solving, ‘firmative’ approaches look to design ‘back to normal’ and to enable ‘business as usual’ (Uncertain Commons 2013). This approach however, does not fully respond to populations existing in an extended state of emergency and requires more nuanced interventions than typically associated with design and speculative practice.

To date our interventions have started exploring how we can learn from, engage with and communicate the overlooked everyday narratives and textures of this and other camps and their residents.


Terry Meade

Strangers in the House: Domestic Space in the Israel/Palestine Conflict

“Imagine it – you are sitting in your living room which you know so well; this is the room where the family watches television together after the evening meal…And suddenly that wall disappears with a deafening roar, the room fills with dust and debris, and through the wall pours one soldier after another screaming orders…”

“The arbitrariness of an external force that violently invades the life of one person, one soul, preoccupies me in almost all my books.”

Soldiers occupying a house and living in close proximity with the owners is not unusual in a conflict zone. Over time an uneasy and troubled and intimacy often develops between occupiers and occupied. In such circumstances, people must exist within two cultures, as a second, usually alien culture, is spread over an existing one. Confronting each other, they inhabit the same spaces in different ways. For the occupied, daily routines and activity are curtailed, moulded and adapted to the changed environment. For the occupiers, energy and resources are expended on enforcing rules and maintaining a ‘protective skin’.

Using the Israel/Palestine, conflict as a case study, this paper will explore the inhabitation of domestic space in a situation of unease, threat and insecurity. In the Middle East, links between daily life and macro-political issues are both important and poignant. This paper is part of a wider research project, which examines ‘the house’ as a central element in the dispute. This is evident in the variety of punitive measures applied there, such as house demolitions, house sealing and house occupation, together with settlement building and the appropriation of land and territory. The project investigates the way the house may act as a model for the wider occupation as it has a similar capacity to form a backdrop to daily life.


Barbara Adams

From Aesthetic Evangelism to Solidarity. From Resilience to Care

As artists and designers increasingly turn their efforts to practice dedicated to altering conditions for the most vulnerable and the most oppressed, stubborn questions arise around the ethics of engagement. Kaja Silverman tells us, “to look is to care.” Yet, as practitioners fix their gaze on art and “design for the other 90%,” moving from a sovereign position to one of partnership and collaboration proves difficult. Too often the artist or designer is positioned as a surrogate or delegate who makes a gift of himself in an effort to articulate a cause or a people. This sort of ideological patronage resonates with the reformer tradition and allegorizes groups of people understood as vulnerable and ‘at-risk.’ Although these projects seek meaningful change, they too often remain agnostic about outcomes, discourage dissent, reify privilege and do little to alter larger, structural inequalities.

Practitioners can easily exit projects deemed failures and write these off as learning experiences. Many work nomadically in a global context, moving in a horizontal mode from site to site, from social injustice to social injustice. Without the depth of historical and local knowledge, crises and trauma serve as undifferentiated ‘sites’ from which to develop serialized projects. Through examining a series of projects initiated by artists and designers, this paper addresses two main questions: How might artists and designers better situate themselves as allies? And, how might this inform practices of solidarity that value an ethics of care over the ethos of resilience?


Jilly Traganou

Practices of Prefigurative Habitus: Creating Radical Home/lands at the Standing Rock Protest Camps

This presentation will look at the recent protests camps at the Standing Rock in North Dakota as case studies of prefigurative politics (Breines), or embodied ideology in action. I will use the term “practices of prefigurative habitus” to indicate a dual engagement: the prefiguration of alternative spatialities where new non-statist types of political structure can be tested, and the initiation of radical or insurgent practices of everyday life as new tropes of habitus. These specific camps attracted a variety of protest groups from native Indian communities and environmentalists to other indigenous groups whose sovereignty is being disputed, and US veterans. They together demanded from the state to cancel the approved plan to pass an oil pipeline under the Missouri River which is the main water source for the indigenous Standing Rock community, thus posing a threat to its inhabitants’ health. At the same time the camps created a new form or social organization devoting the creative energies of the protesters toward building a radical different form of collective habitation in the way it was established both materially and socially, as well as in terms of its energy consumption and everyday practices of sustainment and distribution. In my talk I will present the findings of my research based on social media sources, and discuss the entanglements of objects, species, voices, practices, and traumas that came together, despite their different historical and cultural trajectories, bringing residual social resources into new emergent alliances. The configuration of these heterogeneous elements on a land of imbricated territorialities hinted to a different political distribution, and created new affective bonds that empowered communities and individuals that have been historically marginalized, wounded and dispossessed.


Tania Aparicio Morales

Aeropuerto

Since the 1970’s the city of Cusco in Peru has been looking to expand the regional airport. Given the spatial constraints of the current location, the Peruvian government began looking for another site. A few towns were in the running to host the new airport but the project was forgotten until the early 2000’s. Until the late 1990’s Peru was the site of a bloody internal armed conflict. Given unjust policies such as racial profiling and unfair due process, state forces were responsible for half of innocent deaths. The majority of victims were of Quechua origin and until today they are heavily discriminated and looked down upon by people from the city.

After the conflict, Chinchero –a small rural town where the majority is Quechua, was chosen as the future location of the airport because of its vicinity to the world famous Machu Picchu. The people of Chinchero, who have an autonomous government with which the state must negotiate with, were in favor of housing the airport. There was little resistance to the project because Chincherinos were sold on the idea that they would become modern with the arrival of an international airport. They came to perceive the airport not only as a source of economic development, but also as an opportunity to break away from systematic discrimination.

Aeropuerto is a longitudinal visual ethnography that begun 2 years and will continue until after the airport is completed. The intention behind the visual material is to begin a conversation with the community, and to analyze the cultural and economic changes that are manifesting on the natural and urban landscape. In particular, the images aim to initiate a discussion about what it means to be modern. Chinchero, the traditional town is being reframed as a site for performing indigeneity, while new Chinchero is rejecting its past.


Jayce Salloum

in/tangible cartographies: subjective affinities/representing the unrepresentable

Central to these questions is the interstitial – making this ephemeral state concrete in order to articulate the conditions of living and moving, between or through borders, nationalisms, ideologies, polarities of culture, geography, or histories. The visible act of concretizing and valuing interstitiality occurs while re-constituting the ephemeral and transitory demarcations in which it resides. These zones of being are situated in the contested and conflicted notions of homeland, nation, diaspora, exile, travel, assimilation, refuge, native, and other. Confronted as standard or anomaly, the subject may choose to intersect, suture, or overlay, ameliorate, reshape, redefine, morph, hybridize, separate, erase, augment, or rupture these constructions in a form of resistance or liberation from antagonizing forces. Fixing the temporal, space and time become conflated. A sense of the momentary (living between or during events) stretches from a point of being into permanency, temporally or spatially bounded, which, as interstitial subjects know, can occupy significant moments or portions of our lives, and in some cases our entire lives. Seen as a constructive space with considerable relevance to our public and private lives, living the ephemeralization of the fiction known as the concrete and concretizing the ephemeral are two interrelated positions of these sometimes fragile, sometimes more than real polarities that the interstitial subject or state exists between, that state which we all occupy more or less.


Nora Krug

A Reading from Belonging (tentative title): A Visual Memoir on German Post-War identity and the Author’s Wartime Family History

Full abstract


Serhii Tereshchenko

Cities against Humans: Life in the Abandoned Cities after Chernobyl’s Explosition

Markian Kamysh, a young Ukrainian writer, calls two places his home: one is Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine; the other is Prypyat, the capital of the radioactive Zone.  In 2015, Markian published two books; one was a recollection of his experiences as an illegal tourist to the Zone. The other was an imaginary story happening in an abandoned Kyiv, the capital of Ukrainian SSR, after Chornobyl’s exposition. Written side-by-side, “Kyiv-86” and “Oformliada” study the Soviet city as a place that exists in the parallel reality to the post-Soviet cities. With his “trip-travels” to the Zone, either real or hypothetical, Markian discovers a different world, a world without surveillance and ideologies; the world that is a dream, a mind practice; the world that dispersed in radiation but its ruins still inspire to dream.

How does an abandoned modern city function? With Paul Virilio’s “The Overexposed City” at hand, I look at the Zone as a post-industrial environment with frozen time and discrete space. Virilio’s reading of a modern city helps to understand how a place becomes deteriorated and ultimately abandoned – and how this process creates new time-space relations. I propose to look at Markian’s fiction and non-fiction books to see how the wound of Chornobyl opens up possibilities for human that a thriving post-modern city cannot. The main question of this presentation is why one may want to dwell in the Zone, like Markian does, and what are the benefits of abandoned spaces for our post-modern condition.


Elisa Bertolotti

Stories from Trasenster. Light and temporary houses for a desolate place

For 25 kilometres along the banks of the river Meuse in Belgium, the skeletons of abandoned, tall chimneyed factories resemble deserted cathedrals.

In this desolate landscape is Trasenster, an isolated area of the city of Seraing: bordered on one side by the river, on another by disused railway tracks, and on another by the highways. The only pedestrian connection is through an unlit underground passage, which is used as a garbage dump.

The red-brick workers’ houses close to the industrial ruins are now home to different people from those who populated the neighbourhood before the factories were closed. New immigrants arrive, with no promise of a job, to an area with a very high rate of unemployment and no access to public spaces.

Any thoughts of the common good and the future of the town are simply unimaginable when living day-to-day is so difficult.

In this ‘Making Home in Wounded Places’ symposium, I will describe the experiment conducted by a group of designers who were invited by the city municipality of Seraing to work there for a year,by listening and exploring the town. The group invented a series 1 of projects to engage people and hear their stories, then attempted to represent them, by developing a series of light ‘states of exception’ and creating a space for them to share their problems and desires.

I will talk about two of these experiments in detail: a service for creating on the spot business cards for imaginary jobs and the representation of future scenarios using local puppets, which play an important and anarchic role by conveying near and distant memories of the struggles and conflicts of this constantly evolving society.

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