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Al-Madhafah/The Living Room a conversation between Sandi Hilal and Charles Esche

Welcome to a conversation between Architect and Iaspis grantholder Sandi Hilal and Charles Esche, Curator and Director of Van Abbemuseum, in and about Al-Madhafah/The Living Room.

Al-Madhafah, in Arabic, is the living room dedicated to hospitality. It has the potential to subvert the role of guest and host, and to give a different socio-political meaning to the act of hospitality. It seeks to mobilise the condition of permanent temporariness as an architectural and political concept able to challenge the binaries of inclusion and exclusion, public and private, guest and host. It activates the rights of temporary people to host and not to eternally be a guest, the right to claim life in the new destination but without feeling obliged to revoke the desire to belong to the life back home.

As an architect, artist and educator Sandi Hilal has been developing this art and research project around the concept of hospitality, particularly “the right to be a host”. Al-Madhafah/The Living Room was developed under the aegis of Public Art Agency Sweden that enabled the creation of the first Madhafah in the city of Boden. The Madhafah has so far travelled to other places such as the Fawwar Refugee camp in Palestine and has been presented at ArkDes, Stockholm; NYU Art Gallery, the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands and Qalandiya International, Palestine. In relation to Sandi Hilal’s residency at Iaspis The Living Room is currently activated in her studio.