Brandon LaBelle

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The Embassy Project

script pdf

A Libyan farmer, a US fighter pilot and an imaginary diplomat have gathered to debate and discuss the question of a future diplomacy. Each presents a particular view, recounting certain experiences, and questioning the very nature of vocal address: How to speak toward the other, the engage the powers of statehood, and to reimagine the transnational limitations of current models? What forms of speech might function within today's political landscape?

Presented as a four-channel voice play, and installed within a conference room at the Nordic Embassy in Berlin, the project functions as a scene of debate. Through discussing the operations of diplomacy, a series of propositions and proposals are put forward, not only as to the question of language and speech, and of international relations, but also that of architecture. Speculations on embassy buildings and their spatial politics are considered, as well as materialized in a constructed architectural model placed on the center of the table. The model is designed as a composite of the existing US, French, British, Libyan and Qatarian embassies in Berlin, referencing the powers involved in the Libyan conflict.

The work takes as a main reference an incident which took place during the Libyan bombings in 2011: a fighter pilot crashing in Libyan countryside, to confront a group of farmers as they attempt to assist him. The potential narrative of this event is adopted as the main thread for the work, giving way to a poetics of relation.

Architectural concept and modeling: Manuel Klauser
Voices: Omar Nicolas, Jeremy Woodruff, Brandon LaBelle and Kenan Darwich

Exhibited at the Nordic Embassy, Berlin, as part of "The Embassy Reconstructed",
January 27– February 3, 2013