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Unexplored Territories: Palestinian Video Art – VIVA 2018

Unexplored Territories: Palestinian Video Art






Curated by Iury Lech

This is an emotional, powerful and deep series of works by half a dozen contemporary Palestinian video artists, some of whom reside in the Occupied Territories while others live scattered around the world. Together, they are presenting a varied set of motivating works, that in one way or another implicitly carry the stigma of the displacement, the dispossession and the dispersal of the Palestinian people by Israel, known to them as an-Nakba, meaning “catastrophe”.

This immersion in an audio-visual unexplored territory presents inspirational creations from a cultural background that is not well-known to the general public in the West. Collectively, their works are a critical and enticing tribute to heterogeneous ways of looking at unveiled landscapes, forgotten emotions and irreconcilable longings. In addition to the artistic aspects of the works, the exhibition gazes into a humanistic reconsideration of the ignored and often marginalised and mediated plight of a neglected conflict, as a way of recognising and reminding us of the sacrifice of so many souls.

End of September (2010)

A magical realist short film written and directed by Sama Alshaibi and Ala’ Younis, which questions the concept of possibility, chance and the ever-present reality of Palestinian plight.
Running time: 16.00 mins
Location: Palestine and Jordan


Transit (2004)

A short silent slideshow produced by Taysir Batniji that tackles the issues of borders – images taken during the perilous border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, reflecting the difficult and often impossible conditions of mobility for today’s Palestinians.
Running time: 6.30mins
Location: Egypt and Gaza


Space Exodus (2009)

A stretch from Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey is adapted to a Middle Eastern political context in Larissa Sansour’s short clip, Space Exodus. With recognizable music scores of the 1968 science fiction film, the video follows the director herself onto an illusive journey through the universe, echoing Stanley Kubrick’s thematic concerns for human evolution, progress and technology.
Running time: 5.34mins
Location: Palestine (and the moon)


Nation Estate (2012)

Larissa Sansour takes on science fiction with a short film offering a clinically dystopian, yet humorous approach to the deadlock in the Middle East. In Sansour’s film, the Palestinians have their state in the form of a single skyscraper: The Nation Estate , with every city having its own floor. This is the story that follows a female protagonist, played by Sansour herself, through the lobby of this colossal high-rise building – home of the entire Palestinian population, finally getting a taste of the high life.
Running time: 9.03mins
Location: Illusionary setting


Sea Level (2012)

A video-art piece wherein Palestinian artist, Khaled Jarrar, uses art as an analytical platform to interrogate the persistent situation in his country – issues of conflict, nationhood, home and belonging where the notion of state authority is a recurring and unresolved concern.
Running time: 4.00mins
Location: Palestine


Home Movies Gaza

Basma Alsharif introduces us to the Gaza Strip as a microcosm for the failure of civilisation. In an attempt to describe the daily activities of a place that struggles for the most basic of human rights, this video piece claims a perspective from within the domestic spaces of a territory that is complicated, derelict and altogether impossible to separate from it political identity.
Running time: 24.08mins
Location: Gaza


Deep Sleep (2014)

In a hypnosis-inducing shuttle, Deep Sleep takes us on a journey through the sound waves of Gaza to travel between different sights of modern civilisation in ruins. Shot while under auto-hypnosis, the film is an invitation to move from the corporeal self to the cinema space in a collective act of bi-location that permeates the boundaries of geographical borders and plays with the fallibility of memory.
Running time: 13.00mins
Location: Gaza-Palestine