Higher Atlas / Marrakech Biennale 4

curated by Carson Chan & Nadim Samman

construction: نور الدين أخشان / Nourdine Archan - مصطفى ڭونان / Moustafa Gounane - نور الدين ڭونان / Nourdine Gounane - مصطفى لفريندي / Moustafa Lafrindi - عبد الحكيم الروڭدي / Abdelhakim Rouagdi - عماد الشطيبي / Imad Schtibi - إسماعيل بالعواد / Ismael Belaoued - عبد الحق باسلام / Abdelhak Bislam
Elín Hansdóttir’s Mud Brick Spiral, exemplifies for me the co-constitutive nature of both exhibitions and architecture. At the time, Elín was an artist-in-resident at Dar Al-Ma’mûn, an art foundation founded by and located within a luxury resort on the outskirts of Marrakech. Elín made a large-scale sculpture—or architectural folly, depending on how you to see it—the plan of which was a spiral. The whole thing was made by hand out of mud bricks. She formed a small team of helpers from the village named Tassoultante next to her residency. It was located on an empty plot of land in Tassoultante next to the boundary walls of the resort. Before long, the villagers began to develop a sense of ownership for it. Children would come every day to watch the construction. Others would make food for the team. To allow Elín quick access to the construction site, the directors of Dar Al-Ma’mûn made a door between the resort and the village, which has introduced a new spatial relationship between the two communities. In this way, the installation contributed to the spatial con guration of both the residency and the village beyond the bounds of its physical form. Dar Al-Ma’mûn subsequently allowed villagers to access their collection of books. The villagers also began to hold town meetings next to Elín’s installation. Apparently, they never had these meetings before, as if one unusual form of communication (the installation) justi ed another (the town meeting). Clearly, any new structure introduced to Tassoultante would have produced some kind of social change, no matter how slight that change may be. This change is nevertheless the result of a discursive system including the biennial institution, its funding, the history of the location, the various audience groups, the artists, as well as the curators. I think it’s much more interesting to think of the artwork, the architectural object, or the exhibited object as a discourse network rather than as a discrete thing. 

Carson Chan