• Résidence 2014-2015
  • symposium

La diaspora des Objets
A symposium in tale form
Saturday 16 May, 2015, from 2.30 pm to 7 pm

To conclude her exhibition at Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, La distance entre V et W, Yael Davids has conceived this tale-like symposium, La diaspora des objects, in which, accompanied by her guests and audience, she will further explore the notions of distance, rootedness and the production of boundaries and borders — all central to her research pursued at Les Laboratoires. Whereas Davids’ installations typically involve an activation through performance, for her exhibition at Les Laboratoires she chose to wholly evacuate both her body and words. In this way, this symposium articulated around narratives of singular objects emerges as a new way of embodying her project.
“Objects” must be apprehended here in the broadest sense: personal possessions loaded with affect, images conveying a history yet to be written, the bricks and stones of a structure each time reconfigured by its occupants, the foster-land of an ideological project…La diaspora des objets will thus be an entire afternoon devoted to reflecting on the movements, on the temporal and geographic shifts that domestic and cultural goods undergo. So many “belongings” by turns ignored, confiscated or sealed off, destroyed or redistributed and that singularly testify to a personal and/or political history. The speakers will be using these objects to bring into relief the intersecting fates of unknown individuals and public figures, exploring the notions of movement and displacement, dispossession and reappropriation, locating their investigation at the intersection of private and public history and, more specifically, in light of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

With: Yael Davids (artist), Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh (artist), Irit Rogoff (visual arts professor, theorist and curator), Malkit Shoshan (architect and researcher). Moderated by Mathilde Villeneuve (co-director of Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers).


Taking a self-reflexive approach to her work, Yael Davids uses narratives and activations of objects to rekindle an idea central to her practice, i.e., art as an operation of detachment and mourning. The ‘found objects’ she engages with are drawn from both her installation at Les Laboratoires and from family- and wider cultural heritage (for example, the successive, disputed bequest of the Frantz Kafka manuscripts; Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus, first acquired by Walter Benjamin; Benjamin’s passion for his books and library…), allowing her to reflect on the notion of artefact through a plurality of voices.

In a previous conference, Exhausted Geography, Irit Rogoff discussed geography and cartography as a tool and technology central to the establishment of power, which must be deconstructed and outflanked. She privileged relational geographies and affective maps which take into account the experience of movement within a territory, its conditions, how it is controlled, how it is hidden from view, people’s apprehension of time and the emotions it gives rise to. For La diaspora des objets, Irit Rogoff will be sharing her recent research on the ideological constitution of the State of Israel and its Zionist project, and proposes to decipher some of the brutal and illusionary motives and effects of this modernist creation.
Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh will be presenting her many years of research in Burj al-Shamali, a Palestinian refugee camp southeast of Tyre in southern Lebanon, during which she worked on producing a digital archive of family and studio photographs — scarce, private, seldom beheld photographs, often forsaken even by those who own them or who created them. Working in collaboration with the camp residents, she was entrusted with a number of photographs and was spurred to undertake this mnemonic project, which pays heightened attention to the forms of self-representation and works to liberate the temporal, geographical and emotional spaces that converge in these images. Through an experimental form of sound and visual restitution, Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh endeavours to explore the superposed mechanics of distance and proximity in these images and to engage with their inherent antagonism.
In Atlas of the Conflict (2010), architect Malkit Soshan proposed a visualisation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the past 100 years, producing over 500 maps and diagrams. In her contribution for La diaspora des objects, titled Migratory Stones, she will be discussing the particular history of the Arab village Ein Hawd: a confiscated territory from which the Palestinian residents were expelled, replaced by various Jewish colonies and finally occupied by figures from the Dada movement who made it an emblematic avant-garde social space. Its foundations were dislocated, re-assembled and renamed, and expanded so as to foster an artistic activity. Today, the stones still carry the stain of the new world project, only matched in its brutality by the violence inflicted on its true origins. 


After training in dance at the Remscheid Academy, in sculpture at the Pratt Institute in New York and at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, Yael Davids went on to develop an artistic practice between performance, sculpture and the visual arts, located at the intersection of personal and political domains. Forming the pivot of her artistic practice, the body is considered a space of reception and activation of convergences and conflicts that partly constitute her. As a documentary channel, it records the present and bears the scars of history. It is a source of knowledge and a dynamic space of rewriting. Her work also focuses on the ambiguous status of objects and places, and on the way this ambiguity produces meaning.
Yael Davids’ has presented her work in solo shows in the Performance Section of the Venice Biennale (2005), Objectif Exhibitions in Antwerp (2007), Kunsthalle Basel (2011), M - Museum Leuven (2012), MAR - Museum of Art of Rio de Janeiro, Redcat CALART’S Downtown Center for Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles (2013) and Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers (2015). Her work has also been shown in exhibitions and collaborative projects at the Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf, the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) in London, 52th Venice Biennale, the Israeli Center of Digital Art in Holon, the Tate Modern in London, the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Fondacion Centro Historico of Mexico, and more recently as part of the Yvonne Rainer Project exhibition at the Ferme du Buisson in Paris.

Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh studied history, photography and visual anthropology in Paris. From 2006 to 2011, she lived in Burj al-Shamali, a Palestinian refugee camp next to Tyr, Lebanon, where she carried out photographic research, including a dialogical project with young Palestinian refugees and archival work on family and studio photographs. Since 2008, Eid-Sabbagh is a member of the Arab Image Foundation (www.fai.org.lb). She is currently a doctoral candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

Malkit Shoshan studied architecture and urban planning at the IUAV (Venice, Italy) and at the Technion (Haifa, Israel). She is the founder of the Amsterdam based architectural think-tank FAST, the Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory.
Her work explores and highlights the relations between architecture, politics and human rights. She is the author of the award-winning book Atlas of the Conflict, Israel-Palestine (2010), and of Village (2014). In the past year, as a research-fellow at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, she developed the long-term research ‘Drones and Honeycombs’, a study of the contemporary architecture and landscape of war and peace. It included the intervention ’Design for Legacy’; the seminars ‘Drone Salon’ and ‘Missions and Missionaries’, and the installations ‘2014-1914: The view from above’.
She is a member of the editorial board of Footprint, the TU Delft Architecture Theory Journal. Her work has been published in books, magazines, and newspapers such as SQM:The Quantified Home, Volume, Abitare, Frame, Monu, Haaretz and New York Times; and exhibited in venues such as The Venice Architecture Biennale (2002, 2008), The Venice Art Biennale (2007), The Netherlands Architecture Institute (2007), Experimenta (2011), NAiM/Bureau Europa (2012) and Het Nieuwe Instituut (2014).

Irit Rogoff is a theorist, curator, and organizer who writes at the intersections of the critical, the political, and contemporary arts practices. Rogoff is a professor at Goldsmiths College, London University, in the department of Visual Cultures, which she founded in 2002. Her work across a series of new “think tank” Ph.D. programs at Goldsmiths (Research Architecture, Curatorial/Knowledge) is focusing on the possibility of locating, moving, and exchanging knowledges across professional practices, self-generated forums, academic institutions, and individual enthusiasms. Her publications include Museum Culture (1997), Terra Infirma – Geography’s Visual Culture (2001), A.C.A.D.E.M.Y (2006), Unbounded – Limits Possibilities (2008), and the forthcoming Looking Away – Participating Singularities, Ontological Communities (2009). Curatorial work includes De-Regulation with the work of Kutlug Ataman (2005-8), A.C.A.D.E.M.Y (2006), and Summit – Non Aligned Initiatives in Education Culture (2007).