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Territorism is a ritual to reclaim territory—to create an undetectable, un-police-able shared space. It was tested in Jerusalem and Cairo in 2015, two cities where the relationship of people with their public is mediated by authoritative, oppressive regimes.

For this to work, and for the technique to be easily adaptable, it needed to be as simple as possible. In both case studies, the entire process required only two ingredients, with the constant being burnt ash.

Jerusalem—

In this case study, Territorism hacks regular stones and transforms them into meta-stones referencing the symbolic ritual of stone throwing in Palestine. The recipe (video below) entails choosing a text (here Mahmoud Darwish), burning it, mixing it with egg whites and painting a stone with the enamel. The stone becomes a totem, an object more than itself, that can be reinstated in the public as a monument that gains its power not from its public-ness, but rather its blending in the landscape. The police becomes surrounded by probability—and the possibility that to destroy it, it must destroy itself.

*This recipe could also be included in construction, as ashes of texts mixed with concrete.

**I used this technique to create The Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut.

Cairo—

In this case study, Territorism hacks graffiti practice in Cairo, where political statements on the walls of the city have been systemically erased by the authority. Through the mix of ash and paint, citizens could escape censorship by inserting the political statement in the material of the pigment, while keeping the form (or what is written) neutral and causing no alert for erasure.

 
 
 

Title ········· Territorism

Medium ········· Material Exploration

Context ······ MIT

Year ······· 2015