View Southeast. Investigations on Backyard Mosques

Dirndlmoschee – a project by Azra Akšamija
ACT at MIT

Linz, Austria—The exhibit Inside View Southeast. Investigations on Backyard Mosques is a transformative perspective on the challenges and conflicts that surround the architecture and expression of islamic cultures within the western diaspora. Curated by ACT Assistant Professor Azra Akšamija, the exhibit juxtaposes the historical background of the mosque with issues of current representations and manifestations of Islamic cultures and the fear of “otherness.” The project functions as a nexus where visionary and critical voices from the fields of art and architecture are heard, exchanged, and made public.

Opening on June 30, 2012 at Architecture Forum Upper-Austria in Linz, the exhibit runs through October 27, 2012. The project features the work of several MIT faculty and students, such as Azra Aksamija (Assistant Professor in ACT), Joel Lamere (Assistant Professor in AD), Jegan Vincent de Paul (ACT alumni and former lecturer), graduate students Daniela Covarrubias (AD), Toshiro Ihara (AD), Sei Lee (ACT), Ali Khalid Qureshi (AD), and undergraduate students Juanita Ballesteros, Angela Chu, Tara Ebsworth, and Emily Tow.  Other participants include the team of architects from Linz, Margit Greinöcker, Tobias Hagleitner, Gunar Wilhelm, and the students of the seminar “Mosque architecture in 20/21st century“ by Negar Hakiman, Catholic University of Linz, including Waltraud Bernroitner-Bös, Marianne Pürstinger, Tanja Brunader, Eugenia Seriakov, Paula Geisler, Franz Baumgartner, Carina Edlbauer.

Azra Akšamija is a Sarajevo born artist and architectural historian, with a doctoral degree in History, Theory and Criticism. In her interdisciplinary practice, Akšamija investigates the potency of art and architecture to facilitate the process of transformative mediation in cultural or political conflicts, and in so doing, provides a framework for researching, analyzing, and intervening in contested socio-political realities. Her recent projects focused on representation of Islamic identities in the West, spatial mediation of identity politics, and cultural pedagogy through art and architecture. Currently, her work is also exhibited at the Onomatopee, Eindhoven, Netherlands, and the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa), Berlin. A permanent installation of her work is on view at the First Islamic Cemetery in Vorarlberg, Austria.


This exhibit was partially funded with the generous support of the Council for the Arts at MIT. Special thanks are extended to the local Islamic Cultural Center in Linz.

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