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Beyond the Façade of Fascism: On heritage, care, and repair

Welcome to a conversation between architects and researchers Silvia Susanna and Husam Abusalem on their respective research with a focus on interpreting, and understanding the impact of colonial architecture. Introduction by Magnus Ericson.

Drawing from their ongoing projects, 2cm: the Thickness of Fascism (Silvia Susanna) and Anti-Atlas of Fascist-Colonial Architecture (Husam Abusalem), together, they will delve into the impact of this architectural legacy from broad urban perspectives to the intricate details of construction materials, weaving together floor plans with profanations and wall sections with colonial narratives.

People playing football in front of fascist style building

Photo: Tatiana Pinto

Entity of Decolonialisation, Borgo Rizza, Sicily, May 2024.

The conversation will begin by addressing what fascist colonial architecture represents, then continue to analyse how the authorised heritage discourse normalised the preservation and presence of this peculiar architectural legacy despite its heavy history. It will delve into how modern architectural tools justify this approach through the claim of neutral scientific instruments and then go on to explain the historical, spatial, and social context of this architectural legacy and visit neglected micro-histories that have been replaced by this fascist colonial architecture. The conversation will conclude by drawing parallels between fascist-colonial architecture in Sicily and settler colonialism in Palestine.

Beyond the Façade of Fascism: On heritage, care, and repair is a continuation of the series of presentations and conversations around issues of artistic practice and cultural heritage within the IASPIS public programme that was introduced in 2022.

Silvia Susanna is an architect and experimental filmmaker whose research-based practice focuses on spatial production within and beyond capital-driven forces. Currently, she is exploring the authorised heritage discourse in relation to the Western knowledge of value, image, and memory through material entanglement. https://silviasusanna.net

Husam Abusalem is an architect, exhibition designer, and artistic researcher working across architecture, art, and cultural heritage. Currently, he is a PhD Researcher at the University of South-Eastern Norway, dedicating his doctoral thesis to exploring the concepts of dignity, repair, and care through tales of an exilic body.