Umberto Allemandi & C., Torino.
What is a Camp?
Words such as dwelling, inhabitation and occupation convey a set of meanings that are significant for Interiors. They carry suggestions of settlement, stability, and durability. A different significance is ascribed to these words when they are used to in conjunction with the word camp, and consequently they call forth a different appreciation of interior.
The word camp lends a casual and contingent quality to suggest informal dwelling, conditional inhabitation and an occupation wedded to time more than to place. Camp spaces always contain something of the extraordinary or the exceptional. They are commonly fashioned for recreation and pleasure, or occur as a consequence of natural disaster, conflict or displacement. They speak of both the momentary event and the marginal space. Camps therefore accommodate an increasingly diverse set of occupants – tourists, pilgrims, cadets, refugees, migrants, soldiers, activists, humanitarian workers and detainees. People can (and do), set up camp in any space. Camps may occur as temporary shelters in sports grounds, airport lounges, and
universities; they may be deliberately implanted into disused buildings; or occur as forms of illegal occupation in houses.
This paper will focus on one particular form of camp, which is at the centre of questions of identity, residency, safety and mobility. Refugee camps consist of improvised interiors, located outside the norms of dwelling where the usual tools and values of inhabitation are called into question.
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