ADS8: Domestic Institutions

Tutors: Anna Puigjaner, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli & Marina Otero Verzier

ADS8 proposes to look at temporary, communal spaces for food preparation and consumption as a testing ground for alternative models of domestic institutions. From the material, and social transformation of street markets, to collective kitchens and shared cooking facilities, to larger, culinary infrastructures, these apparently transient architectures are mobilized here to trace future modes of inhabitation and action.

Manifesta 12: Palermo

ADS8 will use Manifesta, the nomadic European Contemporary Art Biennial, as a cultural and spatio-temporal framework. Manifesta is a travelling platform, and a project based on community: its success depends on the collaboration between the international and local actors and the involvement and engagement of the local communities.

The 12th edition of Manifesta (M12), with OMA as creative mediator, takes place in Palermo, Sicily. So does this studio. ADS8 will refer to OMA’s Palermo Atlas, an urban study that will serve serve both as a creative mediation model for the biennial and a blueprint for the city’s development.

OMA, Mediterranean System of Flows, Palermo Atlas
OMA, Mediterranean System of Flows, Palermo Atlas

Palermo is a node in an expanded geography of movements – of people, capital, goods, data, seeds, germs – that are often invisible, untouchable and beyond collective control. Situated right at the centre of the Mediterranean, on the southern edge of the European Union, in touching distance of Africa and accessible from Asia, the city has experienced continuous migrations over thousands of years – from the ancient Greeks, the Arabs and the Normans, to the most recent waves from Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Its territory is shaped by these flows and the ensuing journeys, networks and encounters, from Sub-Saharan Africa to Scandinavia; from South East Asia to Gibraltar and the Americas, rendering the city as a living laboratory for diversity. Its material archaeology, cultural legacy, somatic traits, culinary traditions and ecosystems are the tangible evidence of a long-lasting syncretism between different cultures across the Mediterranean and beyond.

Francesco Lojacono, Veduta di Palermo
Francesco Lojacono, Veduta di Palermo, 1875, 1875

Domestic Institutions

Engaging with the architectural, urban, economic, social and cultural structures of Palermo, as well as the institutional and spatial model of Manifesta, ADS8 will consider the city as a complex political body and an incubator of different global conditions where to test new forms of institutions and instituting, from the paradigm of the domestic. Domestic, here, refers in or to the home, and institution to a social pact or order defined by a group of citizens.

In the studio will start with the analysis of the architecture of food preparation and consumption, as transversal activities that engage a larger part of the community and models for which to look at the formation of temporary gathering and social institutions. We will undertake a journey through the city between indoors and outdoors, navigating across scales and architectures of temporary social structures and cultural production – from a collective street meal, to the larger framework of the biennial – and their forms of legacy. The studio will also take into account the long history of gardens in Palermo - from the ancient arabs citrus trees cultivations, to the orto botanico as a testing ground for foreign species, to the most recent tamil atomized productions, as well as culinary traditions and street markets. We will examine how these spaces unfold as active forums for cultural dialogue, civic encounter and political representation.

The sunday market in where used and stolen items are sold, Palermo
The sunday market in where used and stolen items are sold, Palermo

XVII View of Palermo with the Arab agricultural system of gardens
XVII View of Palermo with the Arab agricultural system of gardens

Palermo, streets, alleys, squares and gardens act as stages for social performances, informal gatherings and territorial control. Rather than a place of circulation, the streets are a common territory where the urban and the domestic sphere, and their associated social institutions, encounter and merge. It is precisely in such a space where the idea of an alternative, non-regulated, form of collectivity is rehearsed. Occupation is casual, cohabitation is achieved through non-written laws and social pacts that constantly shift based on neighbouring needs and circumstances. It is, therefore, a place of dialogue and discussion, of consensus and dissent. A place where existent forms of social structures, economies and cultural institutions are continuously redefined.

During the year, we will address these topics looking for opportunities in the city to initiate collaborations and to catalyse existing desires into lasting projects. Highlighting, generating or transgressing moments of cultural interaction through food preparation and consumption, as collective kitchens, shared cooking facilities and similar temporary infrastructures. 

Martino Gamper_Trattoria Circolare_2013
Martino Gamper, Trattoria Circolare, 2013

Academic Platform

In parallel to the studio at RCA, a series of complementary design studios are launched with a selection of European schools including the AA (Architectural Association, London) and TU Delft and UNIPA (University of Palermo) to generate a collective body of work on Palermo, that will be presented in the form of an exhibition and/or intervention by the beginning of June 2018, in tandem with the opening of Manifesta 12. As a whole, the body of work of the students will be part of the collateral projects of M12.

Lessons for Students in Architecture, Herman Hertzberger
Lessons for Students in Architecture, Herman Hertzberger, Herman Hertzberger

Assaig General, FadFest, 2016
Assaig General, FadFest, 2016

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