----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
Thank you, Dale, for the invitation to participate in this discussion.
Invisible Geographies are often at the root of what enables political amnesia.
My project “Jerusalem, We Are Here”
www.jerusalemwearehere.com<http://www.jerusalemwearehere.com> is an interactive
doc that digitally re-inscribes Palestinians back into the neighborhoods from
which they were dispossessed by the 1948 war. Most Jerusalemites know that the
best neighborhoods in Jerusalem were Arab neighborhoods, but hardly anyone
thinks about the people who lived in those houses, the Palestinians who lost
everything by that war. Similarly, hardly ever do the Anishnabe and
Haudenosaune people of Katarokwi, considered in what is now Kingston, Ontario,
Canada, or my other home. The political and historical conditions of erasure
are different, of course, but the fact remains that the present dominates our
sense of space, and it is not easy to see that which is not materially present
in-front of us.
My impetus to make “Jerusalem, We Are Here” was born out of a sense of urgent
need to make visible, that which has been erased and obfuscated. Digital media
enabled a platform in which we can navigate the Israeli present tense visually
(through google streetview and our own intervention), but are surrounded by a
soundscape that is Palestinian and from the 1940s. As we meander virtually down
the streets of Jerusalem, we meet participants who collaboratively made short
films about their homes.
In a sense I try to de-territorialize (to use Garrett and Frederique’s
suggestion) a space, in order to defamiliarize it for Israelis, and invite the
Palestinians back, without a need for permits, checkpoints, and intense Israeli
scrutiny and surveillance. But I also hope to ignite a question mark about the
spaces we inhabit more generally, a question about what is it that we don’t
see, and why?