Dec 04 2020

Lecture | Samia Henni on the Making of Housing Pharmacology

Fri | 1PM

Samia Henni on the Making of Housing Pharmacology Swiss Institute Haunted Haus

On the occasion of Haunted Haus, Swiss Institute is pleased to present a newly commissioned lecture by historian, educator and architectural theorist Samia Henni. In the spring of 2020, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic incited Henni to re-conceptualize her project “Housing Pharmacology,” originally commissioned for Manifesta 13 Marseille. Refocusing from her initial research on the legacies between colonialism, migration and housing industry in Marseille and France during the Glorious Thirties (1945-75), Henni turned her attention to France’s mid-March 2020 national lockdown policy that divided the population into two categories, “essential” and “nonessential” workers, and lacked accounting for the existence of unhoused populations.

After the first lockdown was lifted, Henni conducted conversations with Marseille’s inhabitants, and the project quickly transformed into a contemporary oral history and installation. In this talk, Henni will reveal the process behind making Housing Pharmacology, reflecting on her choices to expose and juxtapose the poisons and cures that the presence or absence of dwellings engendered in Marseille’s neighborhoods. She will consider the histories of the right to housing as well as human mortality, the conditions of the unhoused, the status of democratic psychiatry, questions of self-care and self-subsistence, and the presences and ghosts of migrant workers who participated in France’s rapid economic growth following World War II.

To register for this virtual lecture, please click here.

Samia Henni is a historian, a theorist, an educator, and an exhibition maker of the built, destroyed, and imagined environment. She teaches at the Department of Architecture, College of Architecture, Art and Planning, Cornell University. She is the author of the multi-award-winning Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (gta Verlag, 2017, EN; Editions B42, 2019, FR); the editor of  War Zones (gta Verlag, 2018) and the maker of the exhibitions Housing Pharmacology / Right to Housing (Marseille, 2020) and Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria (Zurich, Rotterdam, Berlin, Johannesburg, Paris, Prague, Ithaca, Philadelphia, 2017–19). She received her PhD in the history and theory of architecture (with distinction, ETH Medal) from ETH Zurich and has taught at Princeton University, ETH Zurich and Geneva University of Art and Design.

Image: Samia Henni, Housing Pharmacology, 2020, installation view. Prints, speakers, publication, clotheslines, clothespins, metallic props. Commissioned by Manifesta 13 Marseille. Supported by Ammodo, Drosos Foundation, Pro Helvetia. Courtesy of the artist. Voices: Fathi Bouaroua, Aicha Boutayeb, Vincent Girard, Habib, police officer, Laura Spica, Vendredi 13 (Monique Blanc, Bernard Nos). Audio editing: Samia Henni. Audio postproduction and installation: Iris Rennert. Photographs: Aicha Boutayeb, Samia Henni, Kamar Idir, Vendredi 13. Image © Jeanchristophe Lett / Manifesta 13 Marseille. 

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