Something to Generate From


Algerian Pavilion





The Algerian Pavilion refers to nomadic and mutating forms of featuring colonialism and architecture in Algeria. It was founded by architect and doctoral fellow Samia Henni in 2014 in the aftermath of the approval followed by a refusal of an Algerian governmental institution to exhibit certain episodes of colonial architecture at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale. The refusal was primarily motivated by the ambiguity of some aspects of the history of Algeria under French colonial rule (1830-1962). The Algerian Pavilion aims at unfolding these ambiguities on a long-term basis.

The first form of the Algerian Pavilion was a double-page spread newspaper article written by the founder of the Pavilion and released in the Algerian independent newspaper El Watan. The article entitled J’écris au nom de l’ambiguïté (I Write in the Name of Ambiguity) questioned the role of institutions, the access to historical information, the authorship of historiography and history, and the duration of engineered disregards and imposed amnesia. The article provoked the interest of a number of people in Algeria and elsewhere that led to the prolongation of the Algerian Pavilion.

The second form of the Algerian Pavilion consisted in representing the absence of Algeria at the Venice Biennale. Wearing an un-official badge that read Algeria, the founder of the Pavilion attended the official opening and the first days of the international exhibition, voiced the presence of Algeria, started rumours about the Algerian Pavilion, spread information about Algeria’s architectural history, and distributed leaflets about an online Algerian Pavilion. The latter was a worldwide Internet platform (www.algerian-pavilion.net) that gathered and exposed the history of architecture in colonial Algeria, written by various international historians and scholars who had kindly accepted to offer their research and support the initiative. The online collective Algerian Pavilion of 2014 ran in parallel to the Venice exhibition. The platform was widely visited and it resulted in further collaborations and discussions.


Algerian Pavilion 2016
Kunthal Aarhus, Madrassa Collective, Samia Henni, Yasmina Reggad, Pascal Schwaighofer. Many thanks to Nadine Attalah and Marc Mouarkech.

Algerian Pavilion 2014-2015
Saïd Almi, Tom Avermaete, Aïche Boussad, Kenza Boussora, Sheila Crane, Jean-Louis Cohen, Christophe Cornubert, Zeyneb Celik, Kahina Amal Djiar, Sofiane Hadjadj, Samia Henni, Selma Hellal, Djaffar Lesbet, André Loeckx, Yasmina Reggad, and Zineb Sedira.


©2016 Algerian Pavilion