What does the notion of « autonomy » mean to you?

Reflexion based on :

Hollow Land

Israel’s Architecture of Occupation, Eyal Weizman, Verso, 2007

Can one ever be “autonomous” from the past: the remains of colonial architecture function as models of organisation and administration. Architecture is a trace, a memory. Can it be subverted?

To knock down the traces from a violent past does not get rid of it but erases a necessary tool for memory, a tool to confront that past and to move forward. It may be that architecture can never be actually decolonised but architecture can constitute a tool to keep on decolonising actively, as a proof, a witness, a memory. A tabula rasa can lead to a form a negation of the past, but the question of the nature and function of this remaining architecture is problematic: does it become national monument, does it become private spaces, public facilities etc.

Autonomy from State administration or national authority: is inhabiting, dwelling something that can, should, be delegated to an external institution of power? Is it something that can be ruled, regulated? When does dwelling become resistance from an authority?

see Edward T. Hall, The Hidden Dimension, 1966

Colonial States considered to be indebted to former colonies (ex. the UK and Palestine, or India etc.) deal with the debt or so-called help on a purely administrative level, the ways and manners of the “postcolonial” population, the personal lives, are never taken into account. However these lives remain passive to the policies, strategies, and are totally dependent and restrained by the administrative dealings.

see on questions of integration / assimilation in former colonial States:

Podcast France culture, Le multiculturalisme a sombré dans la Tamise, 16/08/2018

Only through an organic re-appropriation, and individuals’ ways and manners of living can architecture be decolonised. Decolonisation cannot be bureaucratic.

Is to decolonise architecture a negation of settlement? (settlement > property, domestication, capitalism, etc.)

The undertaking of “de-camping” refugees by the Israeli administration is a way to control and assimilate a population through a movement of embourgeoisement, to integrate within the capitalist structure a population that is embracing a temporal guerrilla to keep on being unsettle and therefore uncontrollable.

“Permanent revolution” and “endless present” are hints to a nomadic sense of being as a resistance to a capitalist, coercitive management of lives, people, territory. A temporal guerrilla against a spatialised power.

In relation to questions of ecology and the anthropocene we could say that architecture has been a tool for humanity to rule, domesticate, transform, and consume nature, and the earth as a territory.

  • the re-appropriation of human structures and architecture by nature / other species : is it a form of decolonisation?
  • how to question the very nature of our settled way of life as a colonisation?
  • is nomadism an actual relevant answer or a new form of ultra liberal consumption?
  • how will climate change change the way we inhabit and are settling?