Unconditioned Art Space
These are the sites of unconditioning: the land, the objects, the people. The proposal challenges the hierarchy within the National Mall and the preservative institutional practices of the Western Museum with their deep colonial implications. The project imagines a space of refuge where the issue of restitution is engaged with a variety of collective authorships within the African diasporic communities of DC through “restitutive making”—in which artifact and art-making, rituals, and performances can take place in collaboration as a way to reconnect and reimagine the cultural identities and heritages of the diasporic communities in the future. The restored wetland stretches across the manicured lawns, marking the relinquishing of control by the Western Museum, as the wetland meanders through the Smithsonian Castle and brings in an intense diversity of narratives: of the flora, fauna, humidity, temperature, art, architecture, people. Directly against the architecture of the Western Museum, the clusters of pavilions are constructed as a basic 18’ by 18’ wooden frame that is open to the elements, where the architecture, the objects, the people, and the environment are allowed to just ‘be’—as they exist on their own autonomy, in their own life, their own timeline, their own being.