The Unmaking of an Exhibition, 1922, 2022
Summary of the research project
Marseille’s second colonial exhibition was inaugurated in 1922, four years after the end of the First World War, in which thousands of soldiers from the French colonies participated and fought. This research project will assess the impact of the war on the French colonial project, investigate the influence of Marseille colonial exhibition on France and other competing empires, and unpack France’s need for and the creation of a migrant working class from its colonies. The purpose of this site-specific research project goes beyond a merely historical examination and critical reading of the 1922 exhibition, which will be based on archival records. The intention of the project is to carve out possible avenues and boulevardsspaces in which another set of subjects and objects will be able to promenade and wondervoiced. These will result from the vacancies and ghosts of the 1922 National Colonial Exhibition, especially the role that the French colonies played in the First World War.
Born in Algiers, Algeria. Samia Henni is a historian, a theorist, an educator, and an exhibition maker of the built, destroyed, and imagined environment. She teaches at the Department of Architecture, College of Architecture, Art and Planning, Cornell University. She is the author of the multi-award-winning Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (EN, gta Verlag, 2017; FR, Edition B42, 2019) and the editor of War Zones (EN, gta Verlag, 2018). She received her Ph.D. (with distinction, ETH Medal) in the history and theory of architecture from the gta Institute, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. She taught at Princeton University’s School of Architecture, ETH Zurich and the Geneva University of Art and Design. Henni is also the author of a number of exhibitions, including Housing Pharmacology at the Museum of Marseille History and Right to Housing at Grobet-Labadié Museum in Marseille, which are part of the exhibition Traits d’union.s curated by Alya Sebti, Katerina Chuchalina and Stefan Kalmarat at Manifesta 13 in Marseille (August-November 2020). In tandem with her writing, teaching, and exhibition activities, she has delivered numerous lectures in many institutions and participated in various panels and conferences.