In 2010, we – Wong & Krier – lived and worked for three months in Casa, as locals call Casablanca. Aim was to embrace the city as a place of production and to make a portrait of its hidden qualities: We named it: ICI Casa, Ville Inventive. The resulting exhibition was an optimistic tribute to the resourcefulness of a thriving city. Many questions however were left unanswered once the residency was over: for instance the fragility and invisibility of the – quite substantial – informal economy, and the gentrification of the city through capital investors, materialised in luxury shopping malls. More than ten years and a pandemic later, we return to Casa, in search of who makes the city, who owns it, and who is granted access to it.
We start this series of conversations with our local insider Maria Daïf. Maria spent 15 years as a cultural journalist (print and radio), then turned to cultural mediation, supporting independent art projects throughout the African/Arabic region. She is a fire starter, curator, writer and an important voice in contemporary Casablanca.
We meet Maria at the seaside, where we look out on the beach, an obsolete concrete swimming pool and the Atlantic Ocean. We talk about the late 90ies, early 2000s when King Mohammed VI took over from his father Hassan II, Moroccan society opened up and Maria’s career as a journalist blossomed. We also talk about the complicated dance between the authority, the rules and the people. Maria describes the difficult cultural climate: how things come, go and come again.
A talk about the past, present and future of a city that Daïf loves, and is about to leave. A new rural existence lingers beyond the horizon.
Magazine: Femmes du Marcoc
Creative collective Skefkef
Art/cutural space L’Uzine
ICI Casa, Ville Inventive (2010)