Panel III Open Air Spaces of Gathering – Videos now online

Saturday, 14 December 2013, 10.00-16.30 @ Mansion

Watch videos of some of the presentations below!

Open air spaces, whether designed for leisure purposes or as busy city squares, often serve as public meeting places that can acquire a more specific significance for the assertion of citizen rights and contesting political power. The aim of this panel is to discuss to what extent the spaces are used the way they were designed, who determines their use and whether and how this use is culturally and politically contested. Questions revolve around the symbolic, normative and practical frameworks of collectively used open air spaces. How and under what circumstance do spontaneous popular practices create public open air space or alter its character? In how far is the use of open air space culturally and politically encoded and contested? What are the public order policies applied to such spaces and who is responsible for them? The panel also proposes alternative readings of public space.

Lucie Ryzova: Strolling in Enemy Territory: Contested spaces and spatial practices in Downtown Cairo, a historical analysis

Soraya Batmanghelichi: Red-lights in Parks: A social history of Park-e Razi

(No video available)

Rana ElNemr: Olympic Garden I & II + III / Lecture performance

(No video available)

Maïa Sinno: The ‘Gulfization’ of the Cairo Downtown ‘Corniche’

(No video available)

Abir Saksouk-Sasso: Contesting National Authority in the Construction of Public Space: the making of communal spaces in Beirut

Konstantin Kastrissianakis: Rethinking Public Space in Beirut since the Ta’if Agreement

Discussants: Mona Harb and Anton Escher

Three Colourful Days – a photo reportage

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After months of anticipation, the day had come…
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… the participants arrived and gathered at the OIB for a cozy get-together, eating hot food…
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… before bracing the storm and making their way to Karantina…
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… where divercities kicked off on 12 December 2013…
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… with a rich programme.
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Fortunately not only the speakers had found their way to the Philka building…
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The first panel, “Claims and Agency”, started with an introduction by discussant Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj…
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… before Roman Stadnicki took the floor…
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… to talk about “The Emergence of Urban Activism in Cairo since the 2011 Revolution”.
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Next speaker Omar Nagati introduced “competing narratives inscribed on Cairo’s urban landscape”, and presented some of CLUSTER’s findings that have recently been published in “Archiving the City in Flux”.
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Hiba Bou Akar spoke about “Beirut’s Geographies of the ‘War Yet to Come'”.
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The discussion was lively…
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…people had questions…
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… and comments…
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…and questions and comments…
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… while some were immersed in fascinating literature.
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[no comment :-)]
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The panel continued, this time moderated by Mona Fawaz. Maryam Amiri spoke about “Tehran Urban Space under the Rationale of Sales Price”
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… and Nada Moumtaz about “Practices of Commoning: Public utility and religious interest in the waqfs of contemporary Beirut”.
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The talks stimulated more questions and comments…
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… and questions…
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… and comments…
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… and questions…
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… and comments.
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A deserved break led downstairs to a visitor from the Bus Cemetery who had been brought back to life.
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Captain Pop was waiting to greet the passengers and take them on an imaginary bus ride through Beirut…
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… protected by many.
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The afternoon panel discussion revolved around Beirut’s urban future, with Nadim Abu Rizk, Amira Solh, Omar Abi Azar and Vladimir Kurumilian, moderated by Rami Khouri.
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Despite the cold we hadn’t lost our audience.
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A heated discussion…
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… kept everybody warm…
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… and focused.
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The next day started with Dictaphone Group’s “This Sea is Mine”…
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… although the fishing boats had to remain in the port due to Storm “Alexa”.
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The talks continued in the afternoon at Zico House, starting with Nazanin Shahrokni’s “A Gender-Divided City? An inquiry into the spatial politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran”
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… followed by Mathew Gagné’s “Expanding Queer Spaces in Beirut: Mobile communications technologies and contestations to heteronormative space”
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… with the provocative discussant Robert Saliba.
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After a short break the session continued with Nahid Siamdoust’s “Tehran’s Soundscape and the Public Sphere”
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and Akram Rayess and Mazen Haidar’s “Pubic Sounds, Private Spaces: Towards a Fairouz Museum in Zoukak el-Blat”
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before the floor was opened to questions..
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and comments and questions…
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and questions and comments…
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… and comments and questions…
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… and questions…
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and comments.
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Dictaphone Group presented some of their projects at the end of the day, with Tania El Khoury
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Abir Saksouk-Sasso
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and Petra Serhal.
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After some more discussion…
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and more…
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and more…
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… it was time for dinner!
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Day 3 started with an introduction by Ghassan Maasri…
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… Lord of the Mansion…
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… the venue for the day.
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Anton Escher moderated the first two talks of the last panel “Open Air Spaces of Gathering: Norms and Practices”…
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with Lucie Ryzova talking about “Strolling in Enemy Territory: Contested spaces and spatial practices in Downtown Cairo, a historical analysis”…
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and Soraya Batmanghelichi on “Red Lights in the Park”.
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The critical audience…
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… again participated widely…
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with comments and questions…
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and questions and comments…
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and comments and questions.
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Rana ElNemr presented her image-based “Olympic Garden” project…
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…before a lavish lunch prepared with love by Food Heritage.
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The final session was moderated by Mona Harb…
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and despite the after-lunch hour we had a full house.
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Maïa Sinno started the panel with “The ‘Gulfization’ of the Cairo Downtown ‘Corniche’ Behind Differentiating Social Practices”…
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followed by Abir Saksouk-Sasso’s “Contesting National Authority in the Construction of Public Space: The making of communal spaces in Beirut”
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and the last talk “Rethinking Public Space in Beirut since the Ta’if Agreement: From the reconstruction-reconciliation discourse to ‘sphere-building'”, by Konstantin Kastrissianakis.
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There were more questions…
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and questions…
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as it got colder…
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and colder…
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and colder…
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… in fact, freezing!
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Anton Escher wrapped it all up.
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“Is it really all done?!”
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Goodbye and see you again!