Nir Kafri

Balata, Israel, 2002

C - Print 160/235 cm

Courtesy of the artist

From a bird’s eye view, Nir Kafri clarifies the order in what seems to be orderless, in the concept of centrality and spatial control of the law. His works express the paradox of an environment lacking legal, national and territorial existence facing the need of the population living within extremely overcrowded conditions.

Lacking territory, the refugee camp has its own topography and urban language, one which is often built on inaccessible locations, invisible, and cut off from central cities. The camp has a dense and crowded layout, usually square, containing a basic unit – the ‘Wida’ – a shelter built on a minimal plot, leased to each recognized family. The ‘Wida’ is a demarcation of the land, a measurement unit for the camp, a symbolic space and a building site for the resident all at once; therefore the camp is a series of duplicated ‘Widas’ creating a street.

The camps aren’t recognized by the states, and yet they are vibrant cities, superbly organized, and their chaos and lack of form are their architectural statements.