2021 Venice Architecture Biennale - The British Mosque/Assembly

Marsh, J. 2020. 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale - The British Mosque/Assembly. VENICE ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE May - Sep 2021

CreatorsMarsh, J.
CollaboratorsChris Turner (Curator), Ella Kilgallon (Curator) and Shahed Saleem (Curator)
Description

The 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale explores the way in which cultures collide: how we blend, merge, adapt. The history of the mosque in Britain embodies this process in the way it incrementally reshapes space and the urban fabric with its own language. Any group of people can start a mosque, simply by establishing congregational worship in any space they designate as being for prayer. Most mosques have been created through the adaptation of existing buildings, which range from houses, shops, cinemas, pubs and other former places of worship. It is an organic process of architectural development, highly responsive to the immediate circumstances of the congregation. These mosques are in a continuous state of flux, as the community grows and its needs change, the buildings are continuously adapted to meet these changes. Grass-rooted, designed and in many cases built by its users, the mosque has generated an entirely new architecture for Britain. In many cases the adapted buildings, after serial extensions and modifications, are eventually demolished and a large new build mosque is built to replace it and accommodate the evolved community.

The V&A/ La Biennale Special Project invites Shahed Saleem, author of The British Mosque: An Architectural and Social History (Historic England) and the architect of three mosques in Hackney, Bethnal Green and Aberdeen to curate an exhibition titled 'The British Mosque'. The exhibition uses different forms of reproduction to articulate an under-represented aspect of Britain’s religious heritage, the self-built mosque. Through the study of three mosques in London; Brick Lane Mosque (built as a French Huguenot church), Old Kent Road Mosque (a former pub) and Harrow Mosque (a converted terrace house), the installation represents the historical layering and adaptations of each mosque. Key parts of each mosque are replicated as 1-2-1 copies and arranged along a gallery wall. This wall physically and visually ties together the fragments of the mosques, suggesting a narrative thread interlinking them. The 1-2-1 fragments are of significant parts of the mosques that have been inserted or grafted into their existing buildings to create this new hybrid architecture.

My specific role within the exhibition focuses on the social representation of each mosque community through a series of site-specific films and individual interviews. This content has been developed through my current research project 'Assembly'. Each film is made in collaboration with the congregation, respecting the religious and cultural rules of each specific mosque. A tracking shot, filmed from above is a social record of the congregation as a whole whereas the interviews tell personal stories of individual worshipers. The three examples chosen for ‘the British Mosque’, Old Kent Road Mosque (Nigerian), Brick Lane Mosque (Bangladeshi) and Harrow Mosque (Pakistani) are not only key examples of architectural diversity but also the social diversity within the Muslim community. Detailed 3D scans of each mosque have also been made capturing an otherwise unrecorded stage of the history of Britain’s religious architecture. These digital scans will enter the V&A collection as permanent digital artefacts.

This project had been planned for the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale, postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19.

Date06 Mar 2020
KeywordsMosque, Site-specific, collaboration, community, film
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J.Marsh
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J.Marsh
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J.Marsh
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J.Marsh
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J.Marsh
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File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Files
Image credit
J.Marsh
Media type
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File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Files
Image credit
J.Marsh
Media type
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File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Files
Image credit
J.Marsh
Media type
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File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Files
Image credit
J.Marsh
Media type
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File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Files
Image credit
J.Marsh
Media type
Image
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Files
Image credit
J.Marsh
Media type
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File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Files
Image credit
J.Marsh
Media type
Image
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Files
Image credit
J.Marsh
Media type
Image
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Files
Image credit
J.Marsh
Media type
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File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)

Related outputs

Jamaat at Harrow Mosque (2020)
Marsh, J. 2020. Jamaat at Harrow Mosque (2020). Harrow Mosque 16 - 16 Oct 2020

Virtual Assembly
Marsh, J. 2020. Virtual Assembly .

Jamaat at Old Kent Road Mosque (2019-20)
Marsh, J. 2020. Jamaat at Old Kent Road Mosque (2019-20) . 20 Jun 2020

Site-integrity: a dynamic exchange between site, artist, device and audience
Marsh, J. 2019. Site-integrity: a dynamic exchange between site, artist, device and audience. Journal for Artistic Research. Issue 19 19. https://doi.org/10.22501/jar.596787

Assembly: catalogue of research findings
Marsh, J. 2019. Assembly: catalogue of research findings. London Shelter Press, France.

Jamaat at Brick Lane Mosque (2018-9)
Marsh, J. 2018. Jamaat at Brick Lane Mosque (2018-9) . Brick Lane Mosque Oct - Nov 2018

Assembly: Performing the materiality of Muslim prayer spaces
Marsh, J. 2018. Assembly: Performing the materiality of Muslim prayer spaces. Scene. 6 (2), pp. 133-151. https://doi.org/10.1386/scene_00014_1

Assembly: Artist Talk at Closeup Film Centre
Marsh, J. 2018. Assembly: Artist Talk at Closeup Film Centre. Julie Marsh.

Assembly Exhibition Catalogue
Marsh, J. 2018. Assembly Exhibition Catalogue. London Julie Marsh.

Salat at Birmingham Central Mosque (2016-17)
Marsh, J. 2017. Salat at Birmingham Central Mosque (2016-17). Birmingham Central Mosque 06 - 06 May 2016

Lokomotywownia (2016)
Marsh, J. 2017. Lokomotywownia (2016). Płaszów, Poland 10 - 24 Feb 2017

Assembly: performing the materiality of Muslim prayer spaces
Marsh, J. 2016. Assembly: performing the materiality of Muslim prayer spaces. University of Westminster.

Pestera (2015)
Marsh, J. 2015. Pestera (2015). Atelier Contemporary Art Space, Bucharest 21 - 28 Jul 2017

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/v0zz0/2021-venice-architecture-biennale-the-british-mosque-assembly


Explore this exhibition

Site-integrity: a dynamic exchange between site, artist, device and audience
Marsh, J. 2019. Site-integrity: a dynamic exchange between site, artist, device and audience. Journal for Artistic Research. Issue 19 19. https://doi.org/10.22501/jar.596787

Salat at Birmingham Central Mosque (2016-17)
Marsh, J. 2017. Salat at Birmingham Central Mosque (2016-17). Birmingham Central Mosque 06 - 06 May 2016

Jamaat at Brick Lane Mosque (2018-9)
Marsh, J. 2018. Jamaat at Brick Lane Mosque (2018-9) . Brick Lane Mosque Oct - Nov 2018

Assembly: Artist Talk at Closeup Film Centre
Marsh, J. 2018. Assembly: Artist Talk at Closeup Film Centre. Julie Marsh.

Assembly Exhibition Catalogue
Marsh, J. 2018. Assembly Exhibition Catalogue. London Julie Marsh.

Jamaat at Old Kent Road Mosque (2019-20)
Marsh, J. 2020. Jamaat at Old Kent Road Mosque (2019-20) . 20 Jun 2020

Jamaat at Harrow Mosque (2020)
Marsh, J. 2020. Jamaat at Harrow Mosque (2020). Harrow Mosque 16 - 16 Oct 2020

Assembly: Performing the materiality of Muslim prayer spaces
Marsh, J. 2018. Assembly: Performing the materiality of Muslim prayer spaces. Scene. 6 (2), pp. 133-151. https://doi.org/10.1386/scene_00014_1

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