When Germany began to build the Berlin Wall on August 13th, 1961, spanning 106 km in length, and costing around 150 million USD, the wall cut across 10 residential districts, 97 streets and 7 underground metro tunnels. It included 300 secret police headquarters, 22 safe houses, killed over 250 individuals who tried to cross over and arrested thousands more.
After 28 years, on November 9th, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, as the people tore it down. Now, Germany and the whole world celebrate the 23rd anniversary of that day, proud of this momentous achievement, for politics, and for civilization. And here we are today, playing out the same scene, but with different actors, facing a pitiless and racist dividing wall.
This wall precipitated the most dangerous settlements on Palestinian lands since 1967, for according to the ‘Unified Coordination Committee to Confront Settlement’, in 2003, Israel took over more than 10% of the most fertile and water-rich Palestinian lands on the West Bank as a result of the wall. The Palestinian State Information Service also issued a warning of Israeli plans to use the wall to take over more than 45% of the West Bank. Furthermore, the amount of Palestinian land sequestered to make way for the wall amounts to 187 acres, mostly in the Municipalities of Jenin, Kalkeelia, and Jerusalem.
By the time it is completed, the Israeli Wall will span 703 km. 46% of the West Bank territory will be annexed and 97 of the surrounding villages will be eradicated.
The number of houses that have been demolished and that are threatened with demolition come up to 4,656 (not including the Nablus area). The Wall has 73 doors, only 38 of which are used by civilians, the rest of which are for military use only. 48.5% of families struggle to drop off their children at school. 3.5% of students have dropped out. The losses of business-owners, farmers, and workers as a result of suspended communications and transport comes up to hundreds of millions of USD.
This work consists of conceptual images of a hypothetical wall, taken in a studio. By appropriating the structure of the wall, and utilizing it for figurative purposes and treating it as a transparent and reflective sheet of glass, you can tell the story of the other side. The act of climbing in order to see over the wall, entails a defiance, and the ladder, by its very nature, symbolizes a rising up and a reaching out for the horizon, a horizon that was deliberately obstructed. I wanted to defy the wall that stands on Palestinian land, albeit hypothetically, and to protest against the deterioration of the Palestinians quality of life, surrounded by concrete barriers that extend into every aspect of their lives. The concrete has ceased to be a tool for construction, but rather has become a tool for the de-construction of life.
Taking hypothetical images is integral to the concept of the work, as a result of the impossibility of my reaching the other side of Palestinian territory from within it. This work is also an extension of a previous project entitled ‘Is This Your First Time in Gaza?’, that consists of 6 digital images, for it is not only my concept that progresses, but the state of division, displacement
The Written City exhibition looks at the spatial organization of city and state as a product of often conflicting political intentions. The exhibition analyzes the relationships between several political discourses and their design, interpretation and control of the urban and national space.
The Written City brings together contrasting perspectives of the construction, the use, the representations and the questioning or disputing of the political production of space.
The development of urban and national space often presupposes forms of physical or symbolic inclusion and exclusion. In that respect the exhibition deals with a number of spatial metaphors such as barricades, boundaries and fences or so-called “gated communities,” and at the same time the destruction or penetration of these types of partition.
This group exhibition is part of the 2015 Bruges Triennial of Contemporary Art and Architecture curated by Michel Dewilde and Lutz Becker. The participating artists are Ayman Baalbaki, Lutz Becker, Joseph Beuys, Ali Cherri, Tom Dale, Wim Delvoye, Rana Hamadeh, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Hazem Harb, Loek Grootjans, Société Réaliste, Ragip Basmazölmez, Dominic MC Gill, Emilio Lopez-Menchero, Nils Norman, Amina Menia, Marjetica Potrč, Stefano Lupitani, William Pope L., Wesley Meuris, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Vladimir Tatlin, Raeda Saadeh, Tala Vahabzadeh and Walid Siti.
The exhibition is organized by:
Bruges Cultural Centre
Halles, Market 3