Diary of an Other

This project is an installation at the 2007 Texas Biennial. I was given a shipping container which I filled with 4 speakers, 2 amplifiers and 200 prints. Two of these prints included a quote by Jean Paul Sartre written both forwards and backwards. A description of the project is below:

In September 2006, in the wake of the most recent Lebanon war, I traveled to Israel and recorded 25 hours of interviews with Israelis and Palestinians. The results included responses that dealt with religious Zionist claims to the biblical land of Israel, post Zionist secular Israeli fears of the Arab “other,” Palestinian frustration with Israeli racism and cultural hegemony and a Bedouin advocating for the spiritual value of nomadic homelessness.

These separate individual conversations are woven into a sound fabric that constructs a conversation between opposing ideas, filling the gallery space with voices that are both personal and political. (click here for a link to hear these sound pieces)

Juxtaposed with these voices are 180 abstract prints that fuse religious and political iconography with modernist form. A cube, alluding to both Platonic form and the Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam, evolves and devolves from one image to the next.

The cube is the basis for the architecture of this work. This is a modernist impulse that alludes to movements like the Bauhaus, whose members believed that abstraction and the erasure of history could bring about a new utopian age. This kind of architecture can be found all over Israel and like Zionism it has been prone to the cracks and leakage that ravage its moral edifice.

The Star of David colored blue alludes to Zionism, the solution to centuries of anti-semitism and the driving force behind the occupation of Palestinian land. Black, red, green and white are the colors of the Palestinian flag and also reference the 4 historical caliphates.

In many ways this piece is about the failure of utopia, the social utopias of both Zionism and abstraction. I’m trying to reclaim the whitewash of modernism, to stamp it with the signs of difference, and use the tensions that exist in history as the basis for rebuilding.