Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Alban Biaussat ''the green(er) side of the line''

''In the Middle East, new political concepts, initiatives and slogans are plenty, supplementing each other month after month as the previous ones exhaust themselves. In this part of the world, enduring abstract thinking tends to lose vision. But there is one reference that has borne a sustained potential for visualization, if not for political vision: the Green Line.

So many stones, or worse, have flown across this virtual line, which nobody has seen for years except for those who live within its confines. Nevertheless, everyone refers to it by name.

As I became tempted, like so many others, by a career as a messiah in this Holy Land, I decided to make the Green Line appear. Photography would be my magic wand. Later, as I was considering the various shades of green for my 12-meter long ribbon and painted balls to be placed in the landscape as an artificial allusion to the line, some people questioned my initial choice. “This is not the green of the Green Line”, they said, as if they had actually seen it for real !

The Green Line, it seems, is well enshrined in people’s minds, whether they like it or not, as a valid political reference. There are political concepts, like fashion trends, generated by continuously repeating assumptions until they become slogans.

This project wants to be a gentle, yet absurd, kick in the big green eyes of the so-called solution of “two States living side by side in peace and security along the 1967 border.” More interestingly, it is about showing the physical landscape of possible political separation, as was the case in the past, and about raising the understanding of the related issues at stake.

It is also about remembering the color of the line, trendy in all seasons, its artificial shape and vagueness in the various corners of the Land it reaches. It is about generating critical thinking and a healthy feeling of doubt to keep the door open to alternatives.

Since the Oslo years of the 1990s, the 1967 “border” has become the orthodox reference for negotiating the final contours of an improbable “viable” Palestinian State – or, as some would probably prefer, of a viable continued Israeli occupation. Consistently represented in green on a series of geographical maps, it has emerged as the Green Line, attributing also political and legal in/correctness to a series of issues, such as Israeli settlements.

Informed professionals and scholars would claim that the Green Line refers to the 1949 Rhodes armistice agreement between the newly established Israel and its neighboring Arab countries, reached in the absence of a peace treaty, not to the 1967 confrontation line showing the position of opposing forces before they went to war. Still, most people would probably assume that the 1949 line has remained the same till 1967. This overlooks the fact that the line has moved during this period. Its position has been continuously affected by the military and economic tactics of the parties and their desire to push the real “line” to the other side of the armistice “zone” where there was one, as is particularly the case in the Golan and near Latrun.

By looking today only at the little short-cuts taken by the legally contested separation Wall and fence around or behind the Line, not to mention its obvious deep intrusions into the West Bank in some areas, one could easily believe there had already been past attempts at pushing the limits !

Traveling during Spring and Summer along the line, it looks green indeed. Often, it also appears pale and blurred where there is a motorway interchange, a traffic intersection, inaccessible agricultural fields, empty hills or valleys, un-cleared minefields and military zones around the sections of wall and fence that make up the gently called "separation barrier". But its enduring political validity has been saturated by various, and sometimes contrary Israeli and Palestinian popular discourses.

The Line has its supporters and its opponents on both sides: from messianic religious Zionists claiming the eternal Jewishness of Judea & Samaria; to Palestinian radicals refusing to recognize Israel; to those contemplating some form of bi-nationalism, or Palestinian refugees who, hoping to return to homes that are today inside Israel, are afraid of borders; to nationalists and pragmatists ready to advocate the need for separation for different purposes. It is also contested by those who would like to define appropriate borders between populations and cultures, based on their location, rather than to accommodate existing legal frameworks.

For all these reasons, the Line is almost blinding because it is about cease-fire and hope, but it is also artificial and blurred. This is sometimes represented visually by the project, either by creating a movement effect, or by placing a virtual line in the landscape made of large green balls: the path between two points can indeed take an infinite number of courses, a straight line being only one of them.

This project simply intends to instrumentalise the visual nature of this political concept. By doing so, it intends to communicate, with a smile, a sense of absurdity when envisaging the likelihood of establishing borders in this landscape, if such a thing is possible at all.

Alban Biaussat - 2006''




Ingrid Calame

Ive posted about her before on my blog and im posting again after seeing her work in person for the first time yesterday. Love the colours and the shapes

''Since the early 90s, I have been working with tracing. I go to specific locations to trace marks, stains and cracks on the ground on to architectural Mylar [polyester-based tracing film]. From these tracings I make drawings and paintings. I clean the original tracings and layer them on top of each other. Once I've piled up the tracings, I place several rectangles of drafting Mylar on top of them. This determines the size of the drawings I will eventually make. I then start to trace the layers of rubbings that are beneath the rectangles, with a different colour pencil for each layer, peeling back the layers one by one until I reach the bottom of the pile. The final drawings are always a surprise.''




Edinburgh Gallery Visits

Went through to Edinburgh yesterday to get some inspiration before starting back the new term. Saw Ingird Calam at the fruit market, David Mach at the Art Centre and Tony Cragg at the Gallery Of Modern Art. Tony Cragg probably blew me away the most, with his beautifully crafted natural forms, very similar to what interests me and what I have been looking at over the last few weeks. Taking natural forms from nature and re working them with your own touch and style.


Almonds and almond skins brought back from Sardegna. Love the shapes. Thinking about casting them and then re working my favourites in clay. Maybe stacking one on top of the other like below.

Let nature be thy teacher.

Friday, 23 September 2011

These Times Are a Changing

As true today as ever

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one

If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Todays Inspiration

''I love my life. I blissfully savour every moment of it. With all my senses. I open myself to all the elements. Inside and outside. The fire, air, water, earth and everything in between. I honour my place, I honour my time, I honour my life. I honour the people I meet. All my relations. Happy Autumn Equinox - the time of Harvest & conscious intention. Live now, live fully, live clearly, live your truth.''

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Let there be Life


Let The Light Shine In

Quick pic on way home from work with light shining through the exit to the stairs, nice moment.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

This is Your Life


Some of my favourite snaps from my recent trip to Sardegna in Italy