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Grafted Land/ Installation 2015, 2015

Over the past two decades I have created objects, photo-installations, performances and videos inspired by a variety of maps such as: road maps, aerial maps, historical maps and closure maps[1]. The incentive behind the de-construction, erasure and ‘healing’ of maps was first of all a symbolic disruption of the present order of things ultimately leading to innovative imaginary, yet absurd maps.

The new series of maps, entitled ‘Grafted Land’ relates to Palestinian Tourist Maps of the Holy Land. Produced by the Palestine Mapping Center[2], the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights on these maps have a different color then the Israeli areas and are demarcated by the Green Line (Armistice Line 1949) and by the Separation Wall erected at the onset of the Second Intifada.

In the series ‘Grafted Land’, disputed areas undergo a ‘surgical’ procedure to remove them from the map. The West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights on the new ‘operated’ map, have been excised from the territory representing Israel on official Israeli maps.[3] The current map, covered with sterilized gauzes[4] soaked in plaster, shows four severed segments sutured with green thread delineating the borders of those novel entities. The areas on the map of the excised parts are red and so are the used gauzes alongside the wounded map.

 ‘Grafted Land’ is reminiscent of ‘Surgical Operation’, a  performance on closure maps held in 2004 that took place in Jerusalem and of ‘Dressed Land’, a symbolic map installation of a wounded and bleeding ‘Mother Land’ exhibited at Rutgers University in 2012.[5]

 All maps, whilst following certain objective codes, actually create a subjective reality that follows overt or covert political agendas. The series ‘Grafted Land’ leave open the viability of such disembodied entities.

July 2015


[1] https://ariane-littman.com/subject-intro-pages/map-land/

[2] Published in Bethlehem, the maps are designed and published by GSE, Good Shepherd Engineering & Computing PalMap, Palestine Mapping Center. Interestingly the red logo of Palestine Mapping Center comprises the whole of the West Bank and Gaza including Israel within the boundaries of the Green Line.

[3] Following the 1995 Oslo II Accords the West Bank was divided into 3 administrative areas, or ABC Zoning. Today major cities inside the West Bank are now either in Zone A (Palestinian control) or in Zone B (Palestinian/Israeli joint control) while most of its rural territory still in Zone C (Israeli control). Gaza was evacuated by Israel during the Disengagement of 2005.

[4] It would seem that the word gauze, deriving from the French gaze and used for medical dressing, might have originated from the Gaza region in medieval times. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gauze

Ariane Littman