Accepted Paper:

The (un)certain variation: the Palestinian artistic variation on suicide bombing  


Esmail Nashif (Ben-Gurion University)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation aims to explore the manners through which Palestinian video artworks expose aspects of the hidden social contradictions of the colonial context in Palestine. It will do this by presenting Sharif Waked's "To Be Continued …". This video, I will claim, tries to expose the contradictory aspects of suicide bombing in Palestine.

Paper long abstract:

One of the most controversial sites of the Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation is suicide bombing, or martyrdom operations. Of the different cultural domains, the Palestinian visual and performing arts are the most systematically engaged in treating the issue of martyrdom operations. In them, there is a constant effort to translate and to reposition the contradictory nature of these resistive forms onto the visually aesthetic horizon. And, by doing so, these artistic works expose certain imperceptible aspects in the realities of resistance that they are, in a way, representing. This presentation will analytically introduce Sharif Waked's "To Be Continued …" (2009), which is a video that engages with Palestinian martyrdom operation. The video is composed of one scene in which a martyrdom operator reads his well before conducting his resistive act. It almost copies literally this genre of video communiqués released after each martyrdom operation to the Palestinian public, and beyond. The only difference is the type of text that is read in Waked's video. The martyrdom operator reads the first story of One Thousand and One Nights. For 41 minutes and 33 seconds the operator reads the story with no stop or change in his position or the background setting.

The introduction will focus on the question of how this video expose/hide the (un)certainties of the realities of martyrdom operations as much as it is an aesthetic formation that displaces it onto a different social domain.

Panel W126
Anxious visions and uncertain images