Algiers, Theater of Conflict and Desire
by Amina Menia
Saturday, June 20
6:00 - 7:00 pm GMT+3 (Amman)
11:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT (New York)
4:00 - 5:00 pm GMT+1 (Algeria)
From 1953 to 1957, the Deputy-Mayor of Algiers Jacques Chevallier appointed Fernand Pouillon to undertake social housing projects for the benefit of Algerians living in poverty. This ambitious program was meant to reduce the blatant inequalities between Europeans and the indigenous population. This is how the estates of Diar Es-Saâda, Diar El-Mahçoul and Climat de France came to be with Pouillon's signature style.
At the same time as the launch of this “housing battle”, another battle breaks out: the Algerian War for Independence. The images in Menia's film A Peculiar Family Album(2012), realised by Chevallier's collaborator, don't show this context. They focus on the buildings rising from the ground, on inspections, site visits and the countless inauguration ceremonies. Nevertheless, they really depict the making of what would transform the face of the capital city.
Through these images, Menia explores the key sequence in the architectural, social, and political history of Algiers. The narration is auto-fictive, interspersed with historical references.