A Prism When in the Shade

Mohamed Abusal, Juan Cisneros, Samir Harb, Dave Whelan Temporary Agency, Brooklyn, October 24th - November 9th, 2014

In June of 2014, the kidnapping of 3 teenage boys living in an Israeli settlement sparks a fever of militarized panic that resorts to massacre. Hundreds of Palestinian homes are raided unannounced by the Israeli Defense Force. Interrogation, incarceration, and the killing of Palestine citizens ensues – with a mention or two in a few major US and European news outlets. What does a prism look like when not in the sun?

Through an unutterable dispossession of space and movement, the international community once again kept silent. A mortifying routine with which many in the Palestinian solidarity movements are all too familiar. Four weeks later, the Israeli prime minister declares a massive attack against all Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. Israeli artillery target children, schools, hospitals, cafes on the beach, and cemeteries. Mutilated bodies lay bare across streets or what is left of them. Entire neighborhoods such as Biet Hanoun are eviscerated and uninhabitable. What does a prism look like when not in the sun? Videos and images that surfaced are described by the Israeli prime minister as “telegenic death". Meanwhile, the United States becomes the only country in the UN to vote against investigating Israel for war crimes. What does a prism look like when not in the sun?

The sun has set and Gaza is under siege as before, albeit on the cusp of a globally (re)financed gentrification initiative. What is done in contemporary art to acknowledge such deplorable reiterations of violence? A recent exhibition in New York clumps artists together as the "Arab World", basing it on a Godard film - only to find itself carrying the very syndromes that Godard had warned against. A Prism when in the Shade is a show of artists, living in Palestine and elsewhere, who make work that speaks to understanding composition, tenderness, and metalogic in ways we may not know how to know. It is neither a show of victimizing affect or all-inclusive utopias, but a show of phantom architectures and researches unfinished. What forms today can a political imagination embody? And where do we build our solidarity for those near and far under globally assisted expectations of disappearance. What does a prism look like when not in the sun?

October 2014


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