Makhzen مخزن : Radio Morocco
12R - An African Almanac
My Major Design Project seeks to create a piece of architecture that destabilises the singular, often highly censored and curated ‘democratic’ political image of Morocco disseminated by the Moroccan administration to allow for greater participation and democratisation in hearing and reading news media. The project becomes both a root and a route for the transmission of new stories, new words, new spaces and forms that more accurately describe the contemporary political views of the public. The project can be read both allegorically – a linguascape – and spatially– a port of information. It has both physical (space/site/orientation) and cognitive (words/drawings/meanings) implications.
My project is sited in the political underbelly of dar el Makhzen in Morocco’s capital city, Rabat. Makhzen is the Arabic word for the King’s authorities including the police, light brigade and army closest to him. It refers to both the physical site of the king’s palace, mosque, and government buildings surrounding a public square, and the two thousand staff that live on the property (Daadaoui 2011:41). Annually on the King’s birthday and other days of national importance, Moroccans gather on the square to display loyalty to the king and state, the largest of which included 200 000 people in 1953. The word has connotations of censorship both historically and in present day Morocco (Daadaoui 2011:41). It came into the English language from middle French as “magazine”, first referring to a storehouse of ammunition and later to publications. The ideas of censorship, publications as ammunition and scaling up information dissemination are central to my project.
Makhzen Moodley, RV. Unit 12. 2019