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  • Islands of Exile: The Case of Leros

Issaias, Platon, Hughes, Beth and Drakoulidis, Yannis, 2018, Show, Exhibition or Event, Islands of Exile: The Case of Leros

Abstract or Description:

Islands of Exile is an interdisciplinary research project started in early 2014. The case of Leros in the Greek Dodecanese has a unique history of securitisation and control in the Mediterranean, it conveys an entire ecosystem of exile, detainment and violent processes of subjectification within which architecture plays a fundamental role.
A highly contested site since antiquity, interwoven in the imaginary and the praxis of power and territorial domination, the Mediterranean Sea today is possibly the most securitised and militarised zone on earth. Islands perform as agents of segregation and dominance, with their geographic specificities, natural characteristics and strategic location constructing a framework for geopolitical and biopolitical management, which cannot be separated from its institutional architecture.

Leros has been defined by its service under various regimes. This project focuses on the last century, from the Italian occupation of 1912-1943 up until today, covering a neglected example of the Italian Rationalist architecture, namely the plan of the town of Lakki/Portolago. The project follows the transformation of the infrastructure built by the Italian fascist administration, from notorious mental healthcare facilities to camps for political prisoners and violently displaced children from mainland Greece, and current use as detention centres for refugees. Leros has emerged as a disciplinary apparatus. Displacement, confinement and bodily restriction and incarceration exist within an idealised colonial architecture that celebrated a mystified, fascist pan-Mediterraneanism. It’s a space and an exemplary landscape defined by water, geography and the south-eastern Mediterranean environment, and yet it performs a series of rather different functions – or not?

The exhibition is organised around a series of distinct yet complementary elements. Three layered maps present specific moments of the institutional and planning history of the island and the town of Lakki/Portolago. A selection of key architectural objects from across the island, the majority from the original townplan designed by Rodolfo Petracco and Armando Bernabiti are presented in models. Photographic prints present key moments of this environment. This is accompanied by a selection of the plethora of archival findings; a print of the coastline of Lakki as a continuous line the first calculation at play that put in place the Italian military apparatus and a set of relations between populations, landscapes, architectures and objects.

Contributors:
ContributionNameRCA ID
CollaboratorMassaro, ValerioUNSPECIFIED
CollaboratorOzer, SeyithanUNSPECIFIED
CollaboratorCampani, CossimoUNSPECIFIED
Official URL: http://leros-project.com/
Subjects: Architecture > K100 Architecture > K110 Architectural Design Theory
Architecture > K900 Others in Architecture > K990 Architecture
Creative Arts and Design > W600 Cinematics and Photography
School or Centre: School of Architecture
Funders: School of Architecture, RCA
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2018 21:40
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 21:40
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3578

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