Mahkazin . مخازن, an exhibition by Qanat

Rotterdam, May 2021

I invited Qanat Collective as part of our collective research 'Qanat training for the Not-Yet' and my personal research around 'Harboring the Social' to Rotterdam. Hosted at the Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative at the Gemaal op Zuid in Rotterdam South, but resonating with, or resounding from other territories, Makhazin . مخازن adopts the politics and poetics of water and its infrastructures as an entry point in order to establish a dialogue between the water-based harbour city of Rotterdam (NL), the land-based one of Marrakech (MA), and the sea-less [read dispossessed] one of Ramallah (PS).

Makhazin . مخازن becomes an exhibition composed by indoor and outdoor installations, and a set of online / offline conversations and screenings.

As a punctual public outcome of the ongoing action-research developed by different QANAT constituencies throughout Morocco, Makhazin . مخازن proposes diverse installations unpacking some of the processes, tools, devices, and geographies of transformation that water reveals, the exhibition also enlists a number of practices of commoning and forms of social harboring that keep irrigating the grounds of Marrakech specifically, and Morocco more generally, notwithstanding the neoliberal turn state-based policies have endorsed since decades.

In dialogue with my reflection on the modes in which we can train ourselves for a ‘Not Yet’ possibly soon to come, what Qanat propose is therefore not so much to polarise around our respective environmental, socio-economic, or migratory emergencies, but to rather rely on, and ally with our common or sharable emergences: those sprouts emerging even from fractured or polluted grounds.

In contemporary Morocco the term makhzen (مخزن) in its singular form is univocally understood as a synonym for the dominant and centralising power embodied by the monarchy and its network of notables. Yet, its literal and plural meaning — reflected in neolatin words such as almacén (es), magasin (fr) or magazzino (it), rather refers to the space of the storehouse, and by extension, to practices of collecting, gathering, preserving, or exchanging often embedded in port zones.

Departing from a desire to explore ways to be and operate together otherwise, the exhibition therefore reappropriates the time-spaces of the makhzen, rethinking and re-embodying it differently and in a plurality of forms.

Becoming a port or a portal, a makhzen or a magasin indeed, the exhibition therefore stores, circulates, and makes notes, imagineries, narratives, and chants reverberate in order to unfold past and present systems of social harbouring and to disclose current practices to harbour the social.

With Louisa Aarrass, Noor Abed, Mohammad Abu Jayyab, Habib Ayeb, Nassim Azarzar, Nadir Bouhmouch, Ahmed Dabah, Dakn, Sara Frikech, Jerome Giller, Firas Hamdan, Abdellah M. Hassak, Dirar Kalash, Amine Lahrach, the Mamans Douées, Jumana Manna, Rim Mejdi, Mohamed Oubenal, SAFINA, Edouard Sors, Moha Tawja, Omar Tesdell, Heidi Vogels, Fayrouz Yousfi & Raya Ziadeh.

Makhazin . مخازن is curated by Francesca Masoero & Shayma Nader, developed with the Gemaal op Zuid, LE 18, Om Sleiman Community Farm, Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, Dar Bellarj Foundation, Khial Nkhel, and Mahattat Radio.

Supported by Stimuleringsfonds & Gemeente Rotterdam