Teaching Portfolio

Gaza Cartography

Gaza Cartography (Cartografiando Gaza) was the name of the Winter Workshop 2009 edition at the School of Architecture University of Alicante. It was conducted by Pablo de Soto and José Pérez de Lama (Hackitectura), Régine Debatty and coordinated by José María Torres Nadal, Miguel Mesa del Castillo and Juan Carlos Castro.

The Winter Workshop is a teaching activity that takes place annually in the area of Architectural Projects of the degree of Architecture of the University of Alicante. This activity has been carried out since the start of the degree in 1996 and consists of a three-day workshop in which students work full time under the guidance of external professionals chosen by the project management. These propose the topic of work and the students and teachers, organized in a vertical workshop, develop during those days the proposed work.

The idea of the workshop came up while I was artist in residence in Cairo conducting field research on the Egypt-Gaza border, at the time the Israeli army had just completed its Operation Cast Lead Military offensive on the strip. The aim of the workshop was to study the role of urbanism, architecture and technologies associated with them in the occupied Palestinian territories and the case of the Gaza strip as an extreme example of contemporary urbanism. This workshop theme was a challenge, since it was unprecedented in any school of architecture across Spain.

The group of students consisted in both postgraduate and undergraduate students. Previous to the workshop I set up a shared hard drive with documents, videos, maps, documentary. Together with José Pérez de Lama we proposed several research subthemes for the students to choose in workgroups. We offered them a bibliography including Alessandro Petti, Eyal Weizman, Naomi Klein and Sara Roy, author of The Gaza Strip: The Political Economy of De-development. The pedagogic choice consisted on a cartographic / mapping workshop.

After the Winter Workshop, a working group of students and teachers was created to develop a catalog of maps, computer applications and videos that reflect different aspects of the conflict, such as the proliferation of enclaves and archipelagos, the design for connection-disconnection and its failures, social and resources control, techno-militarization of space, management of catastrophes... conditions that are not evident at first reading and which, far from being an exception, can be extrapolated to other territories and seemingly peaceful contexts.

The Jury of the Barcelona Festival EME3 COLLAPSE, held in Barcelona on 19, 20 and 21 March 2009 at the Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), awarded the first prize in the Laboratories section to students, representatives of the School Superior Polytechnic of Architecture of Alicante, for its work Cartografiando Gaza.

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