Cities Exhibition 5: ‘Gaza – Reconstruction’
“We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves”.
George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949.
The 5th Edition of the Cities Exhibition is an inquiry into the recurrent notion of destruction and reconstruction as a systematic reinstitution of societies and subjugation of local modes of resistance. ‘Gaza - Reconstruction’ re-questions whether the inevitable economic doctrine of reconstruction complements the perpetual Israeli military destruction of Gaza, by removing what is left of its social sphere and resilient communities and replacing them with a neo-corporate Gaza.
The 5th Edition investigates the dichotomy between the Palestinian political imagination of Gaza and the notion of reconstruction, in relation to multiple dynamisms and global and regional politics; the creation of new spaces for a transnational neoliberal economy and global financial structures; the transformation of the Palestinian liberation project; the lack of intellectual and cultural imagination of post-liberation Palestine; and finally the dis/junction of the Palestinian archipelago.
The 5th Edition of the Cities Exhibition is in four consecutive chapters, commencing in September 2015 and spanning until spring 2017.
Chapter I – Research from Afar
A student-based research on the reconstruction of Gaza. Students have examined their position as researchers vis-à-vis the notion of a remote inquiry about Gaza. How can one investigate an inaccessible place? How can we read the mass-produced images on Gaza after the Israeli assaults? Are we entitled to suggest authoritarian propositions of fixed solutions for both the destruction and reconstruction of Gaza?
Chapter II – Extended Geography
Chapter II is a collaborative research between artists, curators and students, investigating Gaza throughout Palestine’s extended geography covering the Gaza Strip, 1948 Palestine, the West Bank and Jerusalem. The inquiry of this chapter examines the notion of reconstruction as an issue that transcends the territorial demarcation of the place, whereby other comparative historic and contemporary examples can be probed. These collaborations follow a methodology of paths, trips and travels in the Palestinian archipelago in pursuit of an inquisition on the reconstruction of Gaza.
Chapter III – An Eye from Outside
A group exhibition showcasing the works of 7 artists (Mohamed Abusal; Gazi Barakat; DAAR with Alessandro Petti, Sandi Hilal and Studioazue; Wafa Hourani; Khaled Jarrar; Nida Sinnokrot; Oraib Toukan) encircles a central discursive forum where film screenings, talks and readings curated by two collectives, Group 28 (Lana Judeh & Yara Saqfalhait) and Ramallah Cinema Club (Salim Abu-Jabal) are programmed for the duration of the exhibition (three months).
Chapter IV – Book of Re-Construction
Gaza - Reconstruction is an edited publication that accommodates the research material, and all the works produced in the three aforementioned chapters. The book is an assemblage of academic articles, artwork, research, documentation and images compiled since the inception of the project in September 2015 until the opening of the exhibitions in October 2016.
Commissioned Curators: Mohammed Al-Hawajri, Nasser Golzari, Group28 (Lana Judeh & Yara Saqfalhait), Ramallah Cinema Club (Salim Abu Jabal), Rula Khoury, Yara Sharif, Tina Sherwell
In addition to the artists below, the artworks have been done by:
Students from the International Academy of Art Palestine: Noor Abu Hashhash, Hamza Amleh, Dalia Boukhari, Yusor Hamed, Lara Hodaly, Waseem Makhlouf, Abdelraheem Mohammad, Hadeel Qutna and Amani Yaqob. Students from the Department of Architecture at Birzeit University: Abdulmajeed Al-Hindi, Fadel Al-Marbou, Isra Harfoush, Suhair Jarayseh, Aseel Khalaileh, Amneh Khrais, Sondos Mlaitat, Taline Saliba, Wissam Sharabati and Nayef Zayed. And participants through the Palestine Regeneration Team (PART)