Institutional Critique or maybe not? Casablanca

Artwork Former Cathedral InteriorThis past summer I spent several weeks in Casablanca, Morocco. An artist friend and I “stumbled” upon the first International Biennale of Casablanca. We visited several of the major sites for the event. One of the venues we visited was the Ex-Cathédrale du Sacré-Coeur, a former cathedral.

Entrance was free to see the art. However, the guards told us if we paid them a little we could go upstairs. We were a bit confused if this was about art or just a bonus tour of the cathedral. Regardless, we paid and made our way up. On the mid-level, there was a walkway running that you could look out upon the cathedral. Just a bit further, there seemed to be “workers quarters”. At first, I thought it was an art installation – institutional critique perhaps. I even thought it might be a display to show something of the culture. Regardless, it was probably one of the most interesting things I saw. I felt like I was getting a peak into a very intimate and private world. My friend was sure this was not part of the exhibition. We wandered on. We didn’t see any other artwork upstairs, just lots of pigeons flying around.

Whether the “work” was intentional or not, being in the context of the Biennalle it invited me to linger and investigate the objects in the room. Because of the unknown, there was a bit of anxiety if someone would walk in on me peering at their private space.Image

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