HOME at the Young Vic Theatre

What is home? Place. Smell. Feeling. Memory. Idea. Not here. In response to Tree Young Vic Taking Part have been working with young people from across Lambeth and Southwark to create HOME, an installation for audiences to experience home through the senses of a fifteen year old South Londoner. What does ‘home’ mean to them? For some it’s a specific place, for some a sensory experience. Comfort, smells of cooking or noises both peaceful and intrusive. For some it’s where they feel most atRead more

Portugal: police officers sentenced in unprecedented trial

One officer jailed, and others handed suspended sentences, after convictions for kidnapping and violence. Lisbon, Portugal – Eight police officers were on Monday convicted of crimes ranging from aggravated kidnapping to grievous bodily harm against eight young black people in Lisbon. It was the end – for now at least – of an unprecedented court case that saw seventeen agents on trial, bringing the issue of institutional racism and police violence in Portugal into the public eye. The sentences handed down, however, were metRead more

The Afterlife of Fascist Colonial Architecture

In February 2019 I accompanied the MA Decolonizing Architecture from the Swedish Royal Institute on a field trip to Ethiopia and Eritrea, to make a short video about the programme and about some of the group’s experiences during the trip. Comprised of architects (including Alessandro Petti, Rahel Shawl and Marie-Louise Richards), artists, academics and urbanists, the trip was a continuation of previous work coordinated by Alessandro Petti, and exploring the legacy of Italian fascism and colonialism.   LINK: https://vimeo.com/326467288Read more

The Guardian: Lisbon’s bad week – police brutality reveals Portugal’s urban reality

From time to time, cars of curious people drive slowly though Bairro da Jamaica, craning their necks for a peek at the neighbourhood that’s been in the headlines across Portugal for several days now. None of them step out of their vehicles. They’re here to look at the broken glass, the smashed roof tiles and the evidence of last week’s violence. The tallest of the bairro’s self-built housing towers is now derelict, fenced off with yellow tape and awaiting demolition; the others are alsoRead more

The Guardian: Real Estate Bullying and Evictions in Lisbon

When the Santos Lima building went up for sale for €7.2m (£6.4m) in Marvila, a former industrial area of Lisbon, investors might have thought they’d spotted a bargain. Running some 100m along the Rua do Açucar, the building was listed online as unoccupied and “ideal for being turned into an apart-hotel or offices”. But to its long-term residents, the advertisement came as a shock. “I think [the companies] bought it without knowing … the state of the building, and without knowingRead more

Al Jazeera English: Young Black Portuguese men take police brutality case to court

Eighteen months ago, they were defendants, accused of storming a police station. But since that case was overturned last year, Flavio Almada, Celso Lopes, Rui Moniz, Miguel Reis, Paulo Veiga and Bruno Lopes have been testifying not as the accused, but as victims in an unprecedented trial that has put 17 officers of the PSP – Portugal’s public police force – in the dock. Read More: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/young-black-portuguese-men-police-brutality-case-court-181026215738680.html?fbclid=IwAR0JI7g6WAu9syYG5A_Mtw6uq6Cmm8AW_UTf7N0hOg595kAaiKv3FBmt7-g      Read more

The Funambulist: The Invisible City – Existence and Resistance in the peripheries of Lisbon

A look at the inventive forms of resilience that have developed on the edges of the city of Lisbon, with urban scholar & activist Antonio Brito Guterres, for the magazine The Funambulist: Politics of space and bodies. The full piece (in English) can be found here: https://thefunambulist.net/articles/the-invisible-city-existence-and-resistance-in-the-peripheries-of-lisbon-by-ana-naomi-de-sousa-antonio-brito-guterres If you’d like to receive a PDF of the piece, please contact me by email   Read more

Living Room / The Right to Host

Living Room / The Right to Host is a project that explores the space of the living room in towns and houses where refugees live, especially those coming from places where hosting is an important cultural and political practice. The short documentary is set in the far north of Sweden, near the Arctic circle – an area where Sweden now sends many of its asylum seekers and refugees – and was made with Palestinian architect Sandi Hilal. It asks questionsRead more

Buala: Behind The Scenes at Belgium’s African Museum

Brussels, Belgium – As he walks through the building site that is Belgium’s Royal Museum for Central Africa in his plastic hardhat and reinforced boots, director Guido Gryseels lets out the occasional cry of surprise. “Ah – the elephant! I didn’t know he was back.” His words echo off the soaring walls, some painted ceiling to floor with vast maps of Africa – their place names, from “German East Africa” to “Leopoldville” trapping them in a brief moment in history. Next to one, above a doorway,Read more

Peabody award for Saydnaya

The project ‘Saydnaya: Inside a Syrian Torture Prison’, a collaboration between Forensic Architecture and Amnesty International, has been awarded a Peabody-Facebook ‘Futures of Media’ award in New York. We are extremely grateful for this recognition of our work, which we hope can continue to raise awareness of the terrible human rights abuses that continue to occur in Saydnaya and other places like it. We dedicate the award to the survivors of Saydnaya who came forth, with generosity and bravery, to make this project what itRead more

The Guardian: Should Berlin’s African quarter be renamed?

The cool blue tunnel of Afrikanische Strasse U-Bahn station is embellished with enormous colour photographs: a grinning giraffe; a herd of zebras on the savannah; a pair of meerkats. The scene they set feels very far away: above ground, Afrikanisches Viertel (the “African Quarter”) is just an ordinary Berlin neighbourhood of modernist housing estates, small businesses and a relatively low-income population. Only the names of the roads – Zanzibar Street, Congo Street, Cameroon Street – seem to be playing along. There isRead more

Al Jazeera English: The Portuguese denied citizenship in their own country

Lisbon, Portugal – “Our nationality law is one of the best in the world,” says Portugal’s deputy minister, Eduardo Cabrita, whose office overlooks the 25th April Bridge – named after the 1974 revolution which spelled the end for the fascist dictatorship and, eventually, for Portugal’s long-running colonial projects. “I worked on it myself,” he adds. Read the full article here: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/03/portuguese-denied-citizenship-country-170302084810644.html   (photo courtesy of Antonio Brito Guterres) (photo courtesy of Antonio Brito Guterres)  Read more

Al Jazeera English: Fidel Castro’s African legacy – Friendship and freedom

Fidel Castro’s African legacy: Friendship and freedom Fidel Castro was the enduring face and voice of a Cuban internationalism forged at the height of the Cold War and still widely misunderstood by the global North. In 1969, during a meeting with the Chilean foreign minister Gabriel Valdes, Henry Kissinger – who would later become the US secretary of state – declared: “Nothing important can come from the South. History has never been produced in the South. The axis of history startsRead more

Oslo architecture triennale: Luanda, Isle of Pleasures

Angola’s booming economy has made Luanda a major destination for international migrants, the majority of whom are ‘returning’ from the former colonial power, Portugal. Most end up living in luxurious condominiums, detached from the vibrant city surrounding their homes and workplaces. The Ilha de Luanda and the Mussulo peninsula are beach-lined peninsulas on the Luandan coast, which offer an escape from ‘expatriate’ confinement. Isle of Pleasures examines the places where the city’s residents go to soothe the stresses of everydayRead more

Forensic Architecture: Saydnaya – Reconstructing a Syrian torture prison from memory

Award-winning Interactive Documentary Project with Forensic Architecture, for Amnesty International   Since 2011 thousands have died in Syria’s prisons and detention facilities. With anyone perceived to be opposed to the Syrian government at risk, tens of thousands of people have been tortured and ill-treated, in violation of international law. In April 2016, Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture travelled to Istanbul to meet five survivors from Saydnaya Prison, near Damascus. In recent years, no journalists or monitoring groups which report publiclyRead more

Real Review: Campus in Camps – Architecture, Exile and Resistance

“Just as none of us is outside or beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. That struggle is complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings.”   Edward W. Said Sandi Hilal (Palestine) and Alessandro Petti (Italy/ Palestine) are architects and researchers, based in Beit Sahour, a small, hillside town near Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank. From here, their workRead more

Forensic Architecture at the Venice Biennale

Selected by Alejandro Aravena, the curator of the 15th Architecture Venice Biennale, for the international pavillion, the Forensic Architecture exhibition included various projects and was centred around the reconstruction of a drone strike in Miranshah in Pakistan, which occurred in 2012. More on the Drone Strikes Investigation: http://www.forensic-architecture.org/case/drone-strikes/ Press Coverage: “One of the most powerful confrontations” – Architecture critic Oliver Wainwright in The Guardian:  https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/may/26/venice-architecture-biennale-alejandro-aravena “A haunting room by Forensic Architecture” – Architecture critic Edwin Heathcote in The Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/645b8698-2807-11e6-8ba3-cdd781d02d89  Read more

Al Jazeera English: ‘Red Africa’ – From a generation of cinematographers to the end of apartheid – Africa, Cuba and the Soviet Union

Between East and West: The Cold War’s legacy in Africa Though often absent from retellings of the Cold War, the interventions and alliances conceived in Southern Africa between the 1960s and 1980s, had a profound and sometimes devastating impact. Newly independent nations such as Angola, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) provided the stages for some of the most bloody proxy battles between “East” and “West”, as the United States, apartheid-era South Africa and China tried to preventRead more

Al Jazeera English / Rebel Geeks: Hacking Madrid

Documentary for the AlJazeera English Rebel Geeks series Hacking Madrid is a documentary film exploring the first months in power of two young politicians, Pablo Soto and Miguel Arana, who have come to office amid the throes of radical political change in Spain. Their first mission is to change the way legislative and political decisions are made in Madrid, by implementing a more direct democracy that gives power back to the people. To do this, they must draw on newRead more

Amnesty International: Black Friday

Video for Amnesty International On 1st August 2014, a ceasefire was called over Gaza, after days of heavy Israeli strikes. But the ceasefire quickly fell apart. This video tells the story of joint investigation between Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture, into the events of that day. The 1st August 2014 saw the darkest day in the Gaza Conflict of 2014 – Black Friday. This is the story of what happened that day – which saw the highest number of PalestinianRead more

Reflecting on Rebel Architecture

Conversation with the Portuguese architect, Paulo Moreira, for the Jornal Arquitectos, orignally published here REBEL ARCHITECTURE PAULO MOREIRA / ANA NAOMI DE SOUSA  Eyal Weizman, The Architecture of Violence, directed by Ana Naomi de Sousa Rebel Architecture is a series of six 25-minute television documentaries, produced by Al Jazeera TV. The films present “activist” and “rebel” practices undertaken in situations of environmental, economic or urban crisis. They accompany professionals who use architecture to intervene in their social and political context. OneRead more

The Guardian: Death in the city

Death in the city: what happens when all our cemeteries are full? Lack of space and soaring costs are familiar problems for anyone who lives in a city. From London to New York to Hong Kong, many are crammed into micro-apartments that cost hundreds of pounds or dollars a month to rent, unsure when they will be able to afford a more permanent abode. And it may be a similar story when they die, too. Some 55 million people areRead more

The Architecture of Violence

Documentary for the Aljazeera English Rebel Architecture series “Architecture and the built environment is a kind of a slow violence. The occupation is an environment that was conceived to strangulate Palestinian communities, villages and towns, to create an environment that will be unliveable for the people there”. On a journey across the settlements and roads of the West Bank and along the Separation Wall, Israeli architect Eyal Weizman demonstrates how architecture is central to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. IsraelisRead more

Al Jazeera English / Rebel Architecture: Guerrilla Architect

Documentary for the Aljazeera English Rebel Architecture series Santiago Cirugeda is a subversive architect from Seville who has dedicated his career to reclaiming urban spaces for the public. With his expert knowledge of urban planning legislation, Santiago is not afraid to “occupy”, or squat, abandoned space and to use his knowledge of the law to enable community building. “Self-building hasn’t been legalised in Spain, so any architect taking on this problem has to take on civil and criminal liability,” heRead more

Al Jazeera English / Activate: Angola – Birth of a Movement

Documentary for the AlJazeera English series, Activate Although Angola is Africa’s second-biggest oil producer, most Angolans live on less than $2 a day. Meanwhile, the country’s president and his ruling party have clung on to power for over three decades, gaining tight control of both the public and private sectors, and stifling dissent and protest. But in 2011, inspired by the Arab spring, a protest movement broke out, led by young activists deeply rooted in the urban hip hop scene ofRead more