urban hijacking in amman, berlin, casablanca
An international artistlab during the years 2015 – 16
October 2015, Amman
The first COMMON SPACES lab took place in Amman, this ancient city that now looks like a patchwork rug of diverse communities reaching deep into the countryside. It has been repeatedly populated by waves ofmigration since 1948. While the architectural evidence of an Arab modernity has disappeared under numerous layers of densified and commercialized city uses, official urban planning is trying to gain a profile with major projects that are supposed to play a role on the international stage: for example, a popular modernist factory was destroyed in order to realize Zaha Hadid’s rather generic design of an opera house. When the project was then abandoned during the financial crisis, the ruins remained an opportunity for the city politicians’ beautification mission: a large informal market – well placed between hotels, residential areas and long-distance
bus routes – was pressed into smaller surfaces at an inopportune peripheral site. The defiant merchants are now under stricter observation – they have been placed closer to the police. COMMON SPACES took these dynamics as the starting point in order to initiate the “OPERA BIBALASH” („opera for free“) at the market with the merchants. An opera that took place with all of the active market’s sounds, actions and settings. The visitors from this mostly socially segregated city were pleasantly surprised as their expectations were irritated.
COMMON SPACES is sponsored by Heinrich Boell Stiftung (Berlin, Ramallah & Rabat) and supported by Robert Bosch Stiftung / International Theater Institute, Rabat & ifa — Institut for Foreign Relations (Künstlerkontakte)