ADELITA HUSNI - BEY.
WHITE PAPER: THE LAND, THE LAW AND THE IMAGINARY
UNTIL 8 JAN 2017
CURATED BY PABLO MARTÍNEZ
Over the last few decades the issue of land and the way in which the regime of property and ownership has dominated and articulated social relations has generated conflicts of all kinds throughout the planet. This is true to the extent that speculative interests are now above the needs of providing shelter, living space and cohabitation. In recent years, Adelita Husni-Bey, in collaboration with various agents and spaces, has worked with issues pertaining to rights to the city and the right to housing. Adelita Husni-Bey’s practice is characterized by an openness of time-based processes in which diverse agents are involved in articulating her practice. Dissent, as a form of counteracting the dominant ideology and opening cracks in meaning in order to produce new imaginaries, is accompanied in the case of Adelita Husni-Bey by methodologies of collaboration that question the existing legal order and in which working with language is critical in challenging the ruling political representation.
Titled White Paper: The Land, The Law and The Imaginary,CA2M presents several works made in Cairo, Utrecht and various cities in Spain (Móstoles, Madrid and Barcelona) investigating the problem of housing. InThe Land (2014) Adelita Husni-Bey explored the tensions and conflicts that emerge in so-called processes of urban regeneration that are underpinned merely by speculative interests and gentrification. Through the people affected by a publically-privately funded urban development plan, this video-installation underscores the threat to the permanence of many informal settlements in several neighbourhoods of the city. The Law(2015) features a set of panels with the text of the Convention on the Use of Space, a legal instrument drawn up between March and May 2015 in The Netherlands as a response to the crisis related with the right to the use of space: the lack of affordable housing, the lack of resources for undocumented people, the rise in rent, and the criminalisation of squatting.
The Convention views space as an “asset” that should not be privatised or remain without being put to use for merely speculative reasons, and enumerates the uses for which squatting should be protected, like free health services, the exchange of know-how and skills, squatting spaces as a form of protest or with housing purposes, cooperative systems for the distribution of wealth and work, lending mental and physical support, or taking over spaces with the purpose of protecting them from destruction of the environment. The exhibition also includes the Spanish phase of the project, carried out between June and September 2016 in various independent spaces and squatted social centres, where a number of public meetings were held to draw up the Spanish version of the text. Paying special attention to the historical genealogy of the issue of housing in Spain and the subsequent development of legislation, the meetings were attended by artists, activists, lawyers and various agents involved with social movements. A table produced for the exhibition includes the acts of the six meetings made up of drawings, objects, graphics and texts. Together with the table there is a library with documentation on the project as well as various documentary videos on the issue of housing and the criminalisation of squatting in Spain.
The book compiles the collective work on the Convention on the Use of Space. With the support of the Graham Foundation.