Within this narrow strip of land
16.01-15.02.2009 // Opening: 16.01.2009 // 19.00
Within this Narrow Strip of Land is a video and sound installation of a number of video works by Judy Price. The series of works explore ways in which communities and individuals are framed and incited by the irreversibility of loss in Israel and Palestine. Price is interested in how power manipulates loss for its own end and decides whose loss is valid, how it is negotiated and from what perspective loss is seen and acted on. The film material has been shot in a number of locations in Israel and the Palestinian territories, including St John’s Eye Hospital in East Jerusalem located in East Jerusalem and serves the predominantly Arab populations in Palestine and Jerusalem.
In The Refrain, a double screen video projection with sound, St John’s Eye Hospital is employed as a powerful literal account of and metaphor for transformation and visibility, the process of healing of damaged sight, sight damaged by the ‘other’. Filmed through objects, glass or medical tools The Refrain shows partial visibility of this environment. For The Refrain Judy Price commissioned the Norwegian sound artist Maia Urstad to construct a sound piece incorporating ambient sounds from the eye hospital within an abstract composition.
A number of small vignettes from different locations in Israel and the Palestine, like moving stills are placed around the gallery. Prices’ videos often depict a landscape framed by an elevated and suspended viewpoint, as a way of rearticulating the significance of territory in this disputed land. For example, in Time Line, a film of a cable car over Jericho offers both a privileged view of the town at the same time it alludes to an ambiguous state of suspension and destabilized vision. The diversity of Price’s images, uses archival material, as well as new material to challenge the stereotypes of Israeli and Palestinian with which the West is most familiar. In Saffron of Jerusalem a butterfly dances on a Jerusalem rooftop or a boisterous stag night is observed at the Dead Sea beach, in Light Drinks the Dark. The crossing of conflicted borders and territories have come to define the experience of space and movement between Israel and Palestine.
As part of this programme Reel and Assemblage, which re-appropriates archival material from the British Mandate period, courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, will be screened. In Reel Price has selected the unwanted residues of film – the lead-ins and endings of film stock. The scuffing and scratching from handling film material, black cue dots, bleedings, numbering or logging marks that which is not seen in the documentation of history. The music, Kaene byr til engli composed by Johann Johannsson, brings to the images an intensity and spiritual dimension. In Assemblage, archive film footage from the British Mandate period shows the raising of a British observation kite balloon, a metaphor which conjures up both release from the land and the mapping of it, the establishment of territory through the process of reconnaissance, or surveillance.