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Jerusalem – Lines of Contentions 2022, 2022

Jerusalem – Lines of Contentions

Map of Jerusalem, gauze bandages, fabric, plaster, ink and thread, 154 x 110 cm, photo Michael Amar

In this specific map of Jerusalem, I was interested in creating a map in which the overlapping layers of gauze bandages would not only cover a map of Jerusalem but would also define two lines of contentions, on the one hand the red line of post-1967 Jerusalem municipal boundaries and on the other hand the 1949 demarcation line better known as The Green Line. These lines were painted in red and green ink similarly to the green ink used while drawing the ceasefire lines on the maps of the 1949 Armistice Agreements following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war between Israel and Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. This Green Line, originally intended as demarcation line rather than a permanent border, has been since 1969 at the core the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The line defining The Old City of Jerusalem is painted in Gold.

The technique:

Over the years, I have developed a technique in my cartographic art using medical sterile gauze dipped in industrial plaster much like a painter using brushes and colors. The gauze bandages first dipped in plaster are then opened into thin membranes, and then still wet, they are put on the original map, layer after layers, days after days, weeks after weeks. These membranes slowly create a new physical cartographic topography  as they erase and partly reveal some of the original map lying beneath the numerous overlapping layers of gauze. The added symbolic value of this specific material, the sterile gauze bandages I buy from a supplier to hospitals, is not only personal but above all lies in its medical history of healing wounds.

This map of Jerusalem used for this work is based on the City Street Map of Jerusalem (1:10000) by freytag & berndt (2019) and the overlapping red and green lines are based amongst other references on maps from the site of Shaul Arieli, an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Ariane Littman