Ever since the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority, things have been changing dramatically and unexpectedly. The production of a state and its institutions have left a huge impact on the spectacle. The representations of the newly formed authority rendered a new landscape, the official view is now dominated by the notion of production – production for mass consumption. In an era dominated by a laissez faire attitude, in most of the cases the investor has the final word on what the architecture looks like. Architects nowadays have been fulfilling the dreams of investors. The general individualism vs collectivism discourse, pan arabism and regionalism in the 80’s and 90’s was overruled by a sweeping victory of fragmented developments and a patchwork of eclectic architectural typologies and styles.
Reflecting back on the idea of a unified Palestine – or the dream of a land, the architectural production was caught between the traditional recurring images of villages or the Modern typologies that were introduced in the 20th century. The question of the built reality has thus become a question of a nostalgic world which reflects the dreams of what was once a nation/state. The hyperreality of the images constructed which no longer reflect reality but a state of a dream are now responsible for sounding the death knell of a true architecture that reflects the dreams of a nation rather than the construction of a state of dream architecture.
On the other hand we see other institutions, which are now assuming a new role in political and the visual cultures. a counter initiative and a rebellious act. Museums and cultural institutions have introduced a new representation of a new dream to break away from the state of limbo caused by the turmoil caused by the PNA and the private sector.
How can we reimagine the state and its institutions within the discourse of state building? can we address the cultural institution in Palestine a counter initiative and thus an alternative representation of the real? or is it the same side of the coin but a better looking one!
Dima Yaser is currently the director of the design program at the faculty of arts and music, and a lecturer at the department of architectural engineering at Birzeit University. She received her B.Sc. in architectural engineering from Birzeit University and later earned a Fulbright award to pursue her studies, where she received her M. Arch in architecture from the Pennsylvania State University in the United States. Her research at the time focused on issues pertaining to architecture and the city and identity. She teaches throughout the curriculum; including architectural design, theories of architecture and visual communications. Her research interests are in the fields of urbanism, architectural theory and design, theories of heritage and culture. Dima Yaser has national and regional experience in both architectural and urban design and community development.