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MoMA Exhibit: "Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter"

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By Laurie Milne December 10, 2016 - 11:28am

Students in Anthropology 394: Urban Anthropology and anyone visiting  New York City by January 22, 2017, a temporary exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), may be of interest.  "Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter" examines the concept of home and design through the lens of migration and global refugee emergencies in which temporary shelters are deployed on a scale akin to that after WWI.  Refugee camps are quasi-permanent and act as homes to hundreds of thousands of people  worldwide.  The exhibit's organizer reports that the average time a displaced person remains in a camp is over 20 years, longer than many people remain in one home.  

The exhibit is divided into sections on borders, shelters as a conceptual as well as built phenomena, and settlements.  It features a Better Shelter structure designed by the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR and the IKEA Foundation.  Educational kits are available for school children as well.

One theme focuses on the changes that occur within particular settlements as human ingenuity leads to repurposing of resources and the adoption of new technologies.  Another examines the differences between a shelter and a home; it is noted that these differences have less to do with how long one lives there and more to do with a resident's ability to personalize and modify their dwelling.


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