Out of state:

our relationship to the land

Talking about our relationship with the land means, first and foremost – as Terraqué will show us in his text And Everywhere Collective Parcels – addressing questions of ownership and exploring their boundaries and margins. When did private property (unique to humans) come into being and why? How has private property changed our relationship with the land? What would land be like without owners?

Talking about our relationship with the land also means considering its symbolic and emotional significance. It is the land that links us to our origins, to a history, that carries the collective memory of a family or a people. It is a land we fight for so as not to lose our roots.

“How do these struggles reframe relations to land, and help us remake home in and from the diaspora?” This is one of the questions that Khalda El Jack and Sebastian Oviedo – both architect-researchers and expatriates from their countries of origin, Sudan and Ecuador respectively – - are asking each other. They raise the idea that one can maintain a particular relationship with the land in exile.

This idea is explored by Gaëtan Soerensen in other geographies through his project, Waqf [1]. Over a discussion he had with a Palestinian family separated between Amman (Jordan) and Nablus (Palestine), they considered the symbolic significance of the Waqf tradition, which becomes “a proof of an origin so often undermined by the non-existence of a State”. A proof of legitimacy, proof of resistance.

Talking about our relationship with the land also and obviously means talking about the nurturing land. The one we fight for to preserve and respect life, far from the logics of agro-industry and a growth economy. A land that we cultivate for our subsistence, not for enrichment. Individually, Cloé Harent and Yann Haeberlin set off to meet farms that have chosen to produce differently from the logic dictated by agro-industrial standards. Between France and Switzerland, they paint a broad picture of an alternative peasantry, from sustainable agriculture to a quest for autonomy.

Talking about our relationship with the land finally means addressing the concepts of the use and sharing of resources. Before private property became the norm in our lives, the villages of the Middle Ages set about developing what we now call ‘the commons’[2]. In the Swiss Alps, although they have evolved over time, the commons still exist and are managed by the Korporationen. By analysing a specific case - the Korporation Uri - Salome Erni explores the principle of the commons, while warning us against utopian and romantic projections.

[1] An Islamic legal tradition placing at its centre the act of perpetual donation.
[2] This principle places usage at the centre rather than ownership or privatization. The commons can be a natural resource like water, a material resource like a machine or a public building, or an intangible resource like knowledge. The commons involves its sharing and management by a collective with the aim of preserving it for use by all.


Groupe Terraqué
Khalda El Jack
Sebastian Oviedo
Gaëtan Soerensen
Yann Haeberlin
Cloé Harent
Salome Erni


Mathilde Vaveau


Saskia Brown


Lou Reichling

to be published : autumn 24
16,5x21 cm
174 pages
500 copies
Bilingual : FR/EN


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