From the conference program:

Reconstruction of Memory: An inquiry into the way preservation projects are being appropriated in order to promote ideological and political agendas

May 14, 2006, 2 pm
de Balie, Amsterdam

Preservation projects can be as emblematic as the destruction that induces them.

Construction can be used both to reinforce a violent separation of the built environment and destroy the fabric of a former life.

The FAST conference will form an inquiry into the ways preservation projects are being appropriated by official institutions in order to promote ideological and political agendas.

Some torn threads of antiquity include the destruction of Muslim history, religious monuments and buildings in Serbia; the destruction of black history and heritage under the apartheid regime; and the destruction and distortion of the Palestinian past after the creation of the State of Israel.

A poignant example of this eradication of local memory is the village of Lifta, which lies just outside Jerusalem. The community has been abandoned since the Israeli army drove out the last of its Palestinian inhabitants in 1948. Today Lifta is more or less a ghost town while the former villagers live mainly in East Jerusalem and Ramallah. Now, however, a preservation project aims to turn Lifta into an expensive and exclusive Jewish residential area – erasing its history in the process.

When can destruction or appropriations of buildings be considered a crime against humanity?

During the conference the case of Lifta will be presented, analyzed and put into the perspective of other international planning and architecture projects.