Excavated Objects from a Post-Apartheid Palestine / 2016
Excavated Objects from a Post-Apartheid Palestine for the exhibition Chapter 31 curated by Mai Kanaaneh and Nadia Jaglom (Sarha Collective) and recently displayed at the P21 Gallery in London (August 2016)
The objects presented here are relics of a future; a future in which the various territorial and legal apparatuses forming the Israeli apartheid have been dismantled. In it, Palestine has become more than the “binational state” often wished for: it has become a multinational territory, whose open borders no longer discriminate which bodies are allowed to return to it, and which ones are to be prohibited from doing so. These objects tell us stories about new buildings that either memorialize the past of this territory, or organize its present. While the Museum of the Nakba, the Intifada Memorial, the Apartheid Museum and the Qalandiya Museum join Yad Vashem in the memorialization of the tormented history of Jewish, Arab and Bedouin Palestinians, the Jericho International Train Station, the Gaza Harbor, the Bedouin University of the Negev, the New Gaza University and many more infrastructural and academic buildings constitute the new nodes of Palestinian daily life. Trains and ferries keep Palestinians close to their neighbors and family members abroad: one hour to reach Beirut, Damascus or Amman from Jerusalem, three to reach Cairo from Rafah, one day to reach Istanbul from Haifa, etc. What used to be colonial settlements could have easily resumed their segregative function if left to the upper middle class of this new society. However, they were transformed instead into temporary hosting towns for the hundreds of thousands returnees, waiting to relocate to the newly built villages in the erased tracks of those evicted and demolished in 1948.
The story does not tell where these objects were found; they might even be the mere products of our imagination, but as Puerto Rican poet Martín Espada writes, “no change for the good ever happens without it being imagined first.” In order for imagination to become a revolutionary force, it needs to be reclaimed and decolonized by the same people from whom it had been captured.