In 2005 Malkit Shoshan initiated FAST with Michiel Schwarz, Willem Velthoven and Alwine van Heemstra. The urgency to create FAST began with a question posed to us by a Palestinian community of Internally Displaced Persons, Ein Hawd. The community needed a planning alternative to the one imposed by the Israeli government. They wished to have a masterplan, with which they could negotiate with governmental bodies and claim access to civil rights and state services.
At the start of the Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory, the founders decided to address the role of architecture in times of conflict. The first project, One Land Two Systems, focused on Ein Hawd. After One land Two Systems many projects, publications and exhibitions have followed.
Malkit Shoshan is the founding director of the Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST), an Amsterdam and NY based architectural think-tank. FAST uses research, advocacy and design to promote social, spatial and environmental justice, equality, and solidarity.
Shoshan’s cross-disciplinary and multi-scalar work investigates the relationship between the organization of the built environment, design, and rights. It explores the mechanisms behind spatial violence and the impact of systemic segregation on daily-life and the environment.
Shoshan is the author and mapmaker of the award-winning book Atlas of the Conflict: Israel-Palestine (Uitgeverij 010, 2010). The book details the emergence of Israel and the disappearance of Palestine over the past century. It visualizes issues of border fluctuations, settlements distribution and typologies, demography, land ownership, landscaping, archeology, cultural heritage, water and access to resources in a state of conflict.
Her book Village: One Land Two Systems and Platform Paradise (Damiani Editore, 2014) situated on the intersection between the politics of space, art, architecture and spatial design. It tells the story of the village of Ein Hawd and its internally displaced community from multiple perspectives. It also shows how Shoshan designed a collaborative engagement process to produce an alternative masterplan for the village. This masterplan served as a tool to negotiate the community’s right to spatial equality and state services with the local authorities.
Her additional publications include Zoo, or the letter Z, just after zionism (NAiM, 2012), Drone: UNMANNED. Architecture and Security Series (DPR-Barcelona, 2016) and the issue Spaces of Conflict for Footprint, TU Delft Architecture Theory Journal (JAP SAM Books, 2017), Greening Peacekeeping: The Environmental Impact of UN Peace Operations (International Peace Institute, 2018), UN Peacekeeping Missions in Urban Environments: The Legacy of UNMIL (FAST, CIC-NYU, 2018).
In 2016, Shoshan was the curator of the Dutch Pavilion for the Venice Architecture Biennale with the exhibition BLUE: Architecture of UN peacekeeping missions, which examines the spatiality and legacy of UN Peace Operations in conflict-affected urban environments. The exhibition is now part of the National Architecture Collection of The Netherlands and will be the subject of her forthcoming book BLUE: Peacekeeping Architecture (Actar, 2019).
Shoshan studied architecture at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and the University of Venice (IUAV). She is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU, the Area Head of Art, Design, and the Public Domain MDes program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she teaches the courses Architecture of Peace (2016), Spaces of Solidarity (2018, 2017), Interdisciplinary Art and Design Practices (2019) and Exhibit: Design for Decentralization (2019). In 2015, she was a visiting critic at Syracuse University’s School of Architecture. Shoshan was a finalist for the Harvard GSD’s Wheelwright Prize in 2014.
Her research and design work has been published in newspapers and journals including the New York Times, The Guardian, NRC, Haaretz, Volume, Surface, Frame, Metropolis, and exhibited in venues including the Boijmans Museum (2018), Harvard GSD (2017), UN Headquarters in NYC (2016), Venice Architecture Biennale (2002, 2008, 2016), Experimenta (2011), Het Nieuwe Instituut (2014), The Istanbul Design Biennale (2014), Israeli Center for Digital Art (2012), and The Netherlands Architecture Institute (2007).
Alwine van Heemstra is a media producer. She is the owner of WinWin Stories. “It is my mission as a media producer to capture great stories and bring these to the right audience. I love ‘selling’ true stories that move and motivate people. I am a connector and a messenger. I have an urge to help people share their ideas and adventures with others. When I discovered media as a tool fifteen years ago, I decided to make it my profession.”
Cristina Ampatzidou is a Rotterdam-based researcher and writer with a background in Architecture and Urbanism and a founder of Amateur Cities. Currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Groningen on the topic of gaming and urban complexity, she previously worked as an embedded researcher for the Amsterdam Hackable Metropolis project, a collaboration of the University of Amsterdam, the Mobile City and One Architecture. Cristina has been a collaborator of Play the City! Foundation and the Architecture Film Festival of Rotterdam and has worked for several architecture offices in the Netherlands, including MAKS, Barcode Architects, OMA and the Powerhouse Company. Her research investigates the affordances of new media for ‘citymaking’ and the changing roles of professional designers, policy makers and citizens. She collaborated with artist Giuseppe Licari on the projects Mental Charlois and Swinging the Lamp and she curated the program of public events for Licari’s installation Public Room. Cristina has been a guest teacher for the Urban Body studio in TU Delft and is a regular contributor in Uncube and Bettery magazines. She is also a founding member of Beforelight, an artists’ collective working exclusively on lighting design and installations.
Willem Velthoven, trained in visual communications and art history, founded and developed Mediamatic as a cultural institution but also as a new media agency and technology developer. In the meantime, it has also been a publisher, a restaurant, an Arabic department store and a dating agency. Mediamatic is looking into the possibility of becoming a travel service. He is fascinated by the development of media culture and social software. Currently, he is most interested in developing open social networks as part of public institutions and infrastructure. The developments in this field yield enormous potential for the public sector.