PAPA Lab Ramallah Palestine 2014

From 13 - 27 April 2014, PAPA settled down as a temporary office in Ramallah, Palestine. Hosting organization is RIWAQ Centre for Architectural Conservation.
Together with the architects of RIWAQ and a photographer, PAPA did fieldwork in the city to discover the Tactics of Life.

Participants: Khaldun Bshara, Rania Aldjejab, Aya Tahhan, Yara Bamiyeh, Lana Judeh, Fida Touma, Yousef Taha and Awatef Romeya, photographer. With the kind support of the Mondriaan Fund.


Adaptation in Ramallah
Walking in there streets of Ramallah you are made to feel most welcome. People here attach great value to the right to have a normal life despite the Israeli oppression. When you are not free to travel among other things, it is the more important to spend quality time with family, friends and neighbors. Sharon, former president of Israel once said in desperation: 'how can I get this smile of the Palestinian faces?

1. Ordinary life (adaptation)


"Place overlooking the street without voice of the street". Rukab is the oldest ice cream shop in Palestine. Was his debut in 1941
13 April 2014 by Awatef Roumiyeh


Setting at the sidewalks is a long lived practice. There, deals struck, gossip exchanged, news circulate, politics made... It is, nonetheless, quality time spent with friends, relatives, and neighbors.
15 April 2014 by Khaldun Bshara


Scouts from al Am'ari refugee camp after the Easter march. Together, Muslim and Christian scouts march on both Muslim or Christian holidays. Wonderful moments full of joy and "discipline." BE READY is the slogan of scouts' groups.
19 April 2014 by Khaldun Bshara


Vegetables displayed in the farmers' market (Al-Hisbeh) in Ramallah
16 April 2014 by Aya Tahha

Irrationality as a way to escape.

Contradiction in Ramallah.
Despite the overwhelming way life is controlled here (by the Israelis mostly) there are many irrationalities. Things that do not match. Families have their baby born in another country if possible. So in one family the parents and children can have different passports and ID's from each other with different limitations and privileges, to mention one. Although the Palestine Territories is not (yet) an official country, a lot of the land is privately owned. That makes some people very rich as the square meter price of the ground is very high. The currency is the Israeli shekel (again another way of the Israeli to keep control) There are banks that give loans so people can buy large cars. A bit of playfully working around the impossibility and the stressfulness of the situation can give life extra energy. In the quiet times...

2. Irrationalities (contradiction


CHI (beauty care brand) publicity reads: "Do you [women] know that miss universe get selected by a Palestinian referee." to rephrase: If the referee is Palestinian, and I am Palestinian, then, I guarantee your will look great if you use my brand.
14 April 2014 by Khaldun Bshara


We are entering the financial district (in development). There are little houses with armed Palestinian guards around. I saw different sorts of armed forces. The police, the army but also different kind of. I wonder how that is organized.
23 April 2014 by Lino Hellings


IT shop-sign at al Am'ari refugee camp. When mobility is constrained, the virtual life takes a life of its own.
20 April 2014 by Khaldun Bshara


At the Nations' public park in Ramallah, states representatives in Ramallah were given a spot to put an art work that represents the country. India chose to install Ghandi. Ghandi was killed in 1948. Palestine Nakba (catastrophe) took place in the same year. for humanity these are events are with consequences that still unfold in our days.
23 April 2014 by Khaldun Bshara