Collective Museum 2014 - 2018

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Citizen project for a museum of collective memory.

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November 6, 2018

December 10, 2017

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Building on his previous project The Imaginary Aquarium, about the former Casablanca aquarium (which led to an exhibition of the same name at Galerie Fatma Jellal in 2014), Mohamed Fariji continues his collect of ‘traces’ of disappeared, forgotten or marginalised Casablancan public spaces.

 

The Collective Museum consists of a series of acts of recovery and collection of documents, photographs, objects, films, and memories from family and intimate life in cities, and from abandoned or former public spaces linked to daily family life (the aquarium, amusement parks, etc) and currently facing demolishment.

 

The collect

 

The Museum welcomes and is particularly interested in recovered objects and documents soon to disappear from view, that recount a story of what might have otherwise no longer existed in any form.   

 

It is regularly nourished by further collecting, salvaging and research, carried out through workshops, and by the artist, his collaborators and all those wishing to entrust their “memory-objects” or propose acts of collecting. This participative act is characterized by a will and desire for the creation of a collective memory. It is conceived as an alternative way of writing history, as an alternative to an “official history”, through a focus on collective and individual stories.

 

Presentation

 

The Museum project can also take the form of “action-presentations” in the public space or within institutions, and develops through participative actions involving students, artists, activists, architects, etc.

 

 

 

Workshops

 

In parallel, Fariji runs, along with a group of artists, students and activists, regular salvage actions, implementing innovative and participative measures in the form of workshops: salvaging family photos in rubbish bins in collaboration with a ‘waste collector’, recovering hard discs sold in flea markets, digitising of family photographs in a working-class neighbourhood by students, neighbours, etc.

 

The participants will be able to choose between working collectively on an identified space, or carrying out individual projects according to their interests, personal history, local area, etc. They will focus on places or objects of particular relevance to the city’s collective memory that are currently being, or soon to be, destroyed or rendered inaccessible.

Vitrine d'Alger

 

January-February 2016, a.r.i.a, Alger

 

In the framework of a five-week residency at a.r.i.a, artist residency in algiers, Mohamed Fariji led a workshop at ENSBA (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts d'Alger) focusing on notions of public space, reappropriation, negotiation and recuperation actions related to collective memory (objects, sound, image) and the city of Algiers.

Following his research in Algiers, Mohamed Fariji collected diverse objects belonging to the primary school C.E.M.P Mohammadia Lavigerie which had recently given way to the construction site of Algier's Great Mosque. He subsequently exhibited at aria, in a temporary manner, an Algerian display case.
 

 

 

Parc Yasmina

 

October 2015, Casablanca

 

In October 2015, Fariji organised another large-scale ‘recovery action’ inside the legendary Yasmina Park (amusement park for children in the centre of Casablanca, abandoned for the last 15 years). Just when it was being demolished to make way for the rehabilitation project for the Arab League Park, Mohamed Fariji went to recover carousels, photographs, tickets, frescoes, documents and other objects symbolic of the park’s memory.

 

This ‘salvage’, in partnership with Casa Amenagement, is the fruit of long-term awareness-raising efforts regarding the preservation of modern cultural heritage and the importance of such spaces of “collective memory”, particularly targeting the city’s public bodies, but also companies organising the destruction, and passers-by and temporary inhabitants of the park, who were all involved in this project as partners.

 

Thus, a large part of what was salvaged (carousels, games, pedalos, cash registers, frescoes, paintings and light fixtures) will be incorporated into the Collective Museum: a museum dedicated to the memory of cities.

 

 

Madrassa

 

October 2015, Thinkart, Casablanca

 

During the demolishment (strongly criticised by civil society and defenders of the city’s heritage) of the Ibnou Abbad primary school on Ziraoui Boulevard in Casablanca, Mohamed Fariji organised an undercover operation to recover objects, class photos, furniture, maps, books and other “memories”, testimonies from across the lifespan of a public space that saw thousands of Casablancan school children pass through its doors.

 

These objects, on the point of being buried by bulldozers already in action, formed the Collective Museum’s first display case. It was presented to the public in October 2015 at Thinkart, Casablanca.