Minefields

Minefields is a research collaboration between the artist Rita Alaoui, and the writer, architect, academic, Edward Hollis. Minefields took place throughout 2017. This research project was inscribed in the core of both participants' practices and consisted of searching for remains and found objects that could represent the passage of time.
Minefields was an experimental project undertaken with the purpose to generate a cabinet of curiosities as repository to the conservation of life and to what is left after time. Minefields evolved as a multidirectional project which materialised through 2 research residencies, in Casablanca and in Scotland. The project also evolved substantially through digital exchange and social media.

The artist and researcher are currently preparing the second phase of the project, which will take part in 2019.


Rita Alaoui, visual artist, born in 1972, in Rabat, Morocco, lives and works in Casablanca. Graduate of The Parsons School of Design, New York, founder and director of The Ultra Laboratory since 2013, Rita disrupts traditional codes of representation by challenging the limits of the possible. In her incessant quest for innovation, Rita borrows methods of anthropology to collect elements and objects from nature that she places at the heart of her artistic process. These objects, insignificant though they appear, witness the world’s fragility and become works of art. For several years now, Rita uses painting as her medium, as well as photography, drawing, installation, video and performance.
Edward Hollis studied Architecture at Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities. He practiced as an architect for six years, first in Sri Lanka, in the practice of Geoffrey Bawa, at that time the ‘grand old man’ of Sri Lankan Architecture, famous for his garden of follies and ruins at Lunuganga, and then in the practice of Richard Murphy, well known for his radical alterations to ancient and historic buildings in and around Edinburgh. Edward's research and theoretical thinking is on building stories and narrative structures connecting time, folk tale, and the built environment. He published several books, amongst which ‘The Secret Lives of Buildings’, ‘The Memory Palace: a book of lost Interiors’.


Artist’s statement
Parce qu’il faut toujours fouler le terrain pour en pénétrer le substrat, je vais aller chercher, fouiller, trouver de la matière et des univers enfouis et ainsi garder trace par peur que cela ne disparaisse à jamais pour le monde. Nous marchons tous aujourd’hui sur un terrain miné, de ce fait me voici donc en train de chercher et de creuser tout en appréhendant d’abimer, de perdre mes trouvailles ou de me mettre en danger moi-même. Je suis dans l’urgence de trouver mais aussi dans l’urgence de garder.Tout ce que je trouverai viendra rejoindre mes cabinets de curiosités ou mes archives, témoins de l’histoire de la terre, malmenée par l’homme depuis bien longtemps. Petits objets ou morceaux de ruines, aussi insignifiants soient-ils, sont pourtant le reflet de notre monde et nous livrent des informations qui peuvent dater de plusieurs siècles.Je tenterai également de travailler ces objets de l’intérieur et de retracer leur genèse, à travers le geste, tout comme cela se fait en archéologie expérimentale. Parce que les mains sont les premiers outils de l’homme et les témoins des besoins de chacun, mes recherches sur la gestuelle me mèneront à travers l’art du rituel (spirituel, culturel ou religieux)  dans différentes cultures orientales ainsi qu’à la découverte des divers outils, substituts des mains de l’homme, permettant d’extraire, de traiter, de reconstruire et de garder.
Rita Alaoui, Casablanca, September 2016

Intention: Early conceptualisation of the research project Minefields, by Rita Alaoui

Intention: Early conceptualisation of the research project Minefields, by Rita Alaoui

 
Hand and Tree, Rita Alaoui

Hand and Tree, Rita Alaoui


Experimental archeologies
Early investigations, sites, interventions, inquiries into nature and landscape as cabinets of curiosity.

Parce que les mains sont les premiers outils de l’homme et les témoins des besoins de chacun, mes recherches sur la gestuelle me mèneront à travers l’art du rituel (spirituel, culturel ou religieux) dans différentes cultures orientales ainsi qu’à la découverte des divers outils, substituts des mains de l’homme, permettant d’extraire, de traiter, de reconstruire et de garder.



Sketching, the research gallery
The artist as the attentive observer who collects various elements, and rearranges them as a collector onto a wall, before reinterpreting them.


Research residency 1: Casablanca

Rita’s studio as cabinet of curiosity and resource for insights into potential artistic research production with Edward Hollis.


Research Residency 2: Scotland
’ If there is no such thing as nature as a whole, perhaps there is landscape as a cabinet of curiosities’ (Günther Vogt)


What remains
The experimental research investigation between Edward and Rita will continue, and build on the final reflections about what remains after the passage of time.