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"Territories, Frontiers and the Architecture of Warfare"
2004-09-08 until 2004-10-10
Index - Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation
Ed Osborn’s film ”Flyover” is an eloquent portrayal of colonialism’s utopian lands. ‘An unknown spot on a map…would end up known as a white spot,’ according to Osborn. And Antarctica’s white vastness represents the only place where this custom correctly represents reality. A prerequisite for territorial demands, applicable to both former colonialists as well as today’s forces of occupation, is the conception of the deserted land, white spots on the map marking possible zones for expansion. This conception rests on interpreting the existing culture as defective and uncivilised, an interpretation that must be asserted by military, ideological and economic power. However, the white spots on a map are more like colonialists’ blind spots and the empty areas need to be constructed in order to be occupied. At the border separating the occupier’s area from the radical other, a frontier is established, where conflicts and power structures are activated and made apparent.
Index’s first exhibition for the autumn focuses on the construction of the frontier as a concept in contemporary geo-politics. A frontier that can no longer be considered as a solid line between two geographic areas and bears no relation to the increasing diffuse concepts of war and peace.
The exhibition includes a new film by Eyal Weizman and Nadav Harel about contemporary urban warfare, a war that borrows from city planning and where the destruction of infrastructure is an effective and frequent weapon.
A central work in the exhibition is also Palestinian Michel Khleifi and Israeli Eyal Sivan’s film ‘Route 181’, a four-hour long journey through their common homeland. They travel according to the borders established in November 1947 by United Nations’ Resolution no. 181 which would have divided Palestine into two states – one Jewish and one Arabic. Reactions to the resolution lead to the first Israeli-Arab war and the conflict that began during the British mandate 1920 – 1948 still has not been resolved. During their two-month journey in the summer 2002, both filmmakers met people living along a border that never came into existence. From south to north, they interview Israelis and Palestinians, under humble conditions and without preparation, who all give their perspective about the current situation.
”Territories, Fronts and the Architecture of War” is an exhibition that can be considered an extension of the comprehensive exhibition ”Territories” that premiered at the Kunstwerke in Berlin and later at Witte de With in Rotterdam and at Malmö Konsthall. One of the building blocks of the exhibition was ”A Civilian Occupation, The Politics of Israeli Architecture”, a project by Israeli architects Eyal Weizman and Rafi Segal. Their research record how Israeli architecture and town planning has been used strategically in the on-going conflict since the first half of the 20th century and onward.