Road Shots is a series of photographs tracing the political landscape that remains at the core of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Following our film installation, Road Movie, about the segregated road system being built by Israel in the West Bank (aka Palestine), we photographed the superhighways for (Jewish) Israeli travelers only and a set of tertiary roads for Palestinians. The Israeli roads connect settlements in the West Bank (Palestine) to Israel and sever the West Bank into three distinct areas, rendering impossible a viable future state. Palestinian roads are often dangerous curving roads, routed around the Israeli superhighways creating the most indirect route for travel and convenience.
The photographs are laser-cut with patterns created in Autocad (architectural software) and take their cue from Islamic architectural ornamentation. Geometry in Islamic architecture was a way in which to order the world derived out of a passion for stars. The constellations in the sky above were a way of navigating and understanding the earth below. The geometry found here in these screens mimics that of the stars above but is also used as an ordering device and as a way of mapping the occupation. The insistence of the line here is also that of ‘lines being drawn’ into landscape—such as the 1984 Road Plan originally mastered by the Israeli military—as demarcations of ownership and as matrices of control. The patterns are reminiscent of contemporary ‘fences’ (that appear endlessly in this landscape) as well as an architectural history embedded in the land, a lexicon that is consistently being erased. The photographs reflect the fragmentation that is at the base of the Occupation but also offer us a potential for redress—a recuperative harmony through form and geometry.
Solo Exhibition: O’Born Contemporary Gallery, Toronto, Canada
March 16 – April 21, 2012
On Saturday, March 17 2012, Art Gallery of York University’s Emelie Chhangur joined artists Public Studio (Elle Flanders & Tamira Sawatzky) in an in-gallery conversation about their solo exhibition Road Shots at O’Born Contemporary. Emelie Chhangur, artist and award winning curator and writer, has previously worked with Public Studio in the winter of 2011 with the exhibition Centre for Incidental Activisms (CIA) at the Art Gallery of York University, and her contribution to the conversation was driven by her interest in the role of the creative institution in artistic and activist collaboration.