New Civic Rituals
The Tree School
DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency) / Sandi Hilal & Alessandro Petti
Project description

Supported by IASPIS, Consulate General of Sweden.

The Tree School is a place where people can gather for communal learning and the production of knowledge grounded in lived experience and connected to communities. The tree, a living being with its own characteristics and history, creates a physical and metaphorical common, where ideas and actions can emerge through critical, free and independent discussion. The Tree School offers a different way of learning that cuts across conventional disciplines of knowledge and welcomes marginalised forms.

The Tree School in Istanbul revolves around the Arabic term al masha, which refers to communal land equally distributed among farmers. Masha can only exist if people decide to cultivate the land together, meaning that the moment they stop cultivating it, they lose its possession: it is possession through a common use. Today, we may ask if it is possible to reactivate the cultivation of the common, expanding the meaning of cultivation to other human activities that imply the common taking care of life.

Unlike ‘the public’, which is inevitably mediated by the state apparatus, al masha exists beyond state institutions. If the public is a space given to people by structures of power, al masha is a space created by the interaction of people. Ideas and practices around al masha will be discussed at the Tree School regularly.


DAAR (Palestine/Italy/Sweden) is an architectural collective that combines conceptual speculation and pragmatic spatial interventions, discourse and collective learning. The artistic research of Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti are situated between politics, architecture, art and pedagogy. In their practice, art exhibitions are both sites of display and sites of action that spill over into other contexts: built architectural structures, the shaping of critical learning environments, interventions that challenge dominant collective narratives, the production of new political imaginations, the formation of civic spaces and the re-definition of concepts.


#human #decolonial

Jamel Akbar
This project opens in April 2021.
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