Memory + Permanence

A Landscape of the Negev Desert

Winter 2018 | M.Arch | Ottawa, CA & Tel Aviv, IL

The Negev Bedouin were a traditionally pastoral nomadic people who lived in the Negev region of Israel. They are a people who traditionally eschewed permanent homes. preferring portable tents or shelters which gave them the flexibility to roam. The desert’s scarcity of water and of permanent pastoral land required them to move constantly; however, during Ottoman rule, the Negev Bedouin underwent a process of sedentarization which significantly accelerated after the founding of Israel.

With this loss of movement, came a loss in cultural identity and now the Bedouin culture is dwindling. Their imprint on the Negev landscape is slowly being erased by the harsh geography of both the physical and political climate. Remaining artifacts and relics of bedouin life are under constant threat of demolition by the Israeli Government.

While forced physical displacement and illegalisation render these imprints non-existent on maps and aerial imaging, state-led land works and afforestation transform and erase their land and cultural remains.

Part One of the project involved comprehensive research and mapping of the Negev. From conception, this project focused on culture and people so the Bedouin emerged as a subject quickly.

There are roughly 200,000 Bedouin people living within Israel. Just over half of the population lives in government-built Bedouin-only towns; the remaining 90,000 live in 46 villages – 35 of which are unrecognized and 11 of which were officially recognized in 2005.

Part two of the project was to cast a landscape 'of the Negev Desert'. Below is a catalog of the various material tests and the final plaster landscape.

The intent of the project, titled ‘Permanence’, is to recognize the imbedded memory of the body in the Negev Desert.

Memory is tangibly connected to water in that water allows for permenance of life. Without water, humans would cease to exist and thus in a setting such as desert, it is not difficult to understand its necessity. Overtime, the presence of both the body and of water has been slowly erased by a fluxing tangible and intangible landscape. The intent of the intervention is to halt this erasure, preserve the physical landscape artifacts of historical cultures and create a permanent testament to ensure the retention of imbedded memory.

The introduction of a network of small scale monuments extend the memory of the body. Formally, the monuments are derived from historical cisterns. Cisterns being essential to the collection, and storage of water – of permenance and memory

Below are images to illustrate the built intervention of this project.

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