What Isn't There: Imaging Palestine
Flanders, Ellen Ruth
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What Isn’t There is a research project that considers the possibility of creating an image of Palestine by documenting the 418 Palestinian villages that were erased with the establishment of the State of Israel. The work has taken many forms over a twenty-year period including: photography, film, sound and installation. At the heart of this project is a set of interwoven questions: Is an image of Palestine possible and what would constitute such an image? How do we consider the image if, as I argue, the realms of politics and art are not separate? In a world saturated by mediated images, what are the interventions we can make as artists not only to make meaning, but to make meaning matter? The film installation accompanying this dissertation is a four-screen film projection situated in an outdoor urban garden. The installation immerses the viewer in fifteen distinct landscapes that were once the locations of Palestinian villages. While these sites often contain little that reveal their origins, the placement of the installation, the repetition and juxtaposition of images all point to the imaging of Palestine.