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Mapping the Wound: Performances in the Landscape 2010-2022, 2022

Mapping the Wound: Performances in the Landscape 2010-2022

During the Second Intifada as violence became a daily reality, I created maps of Jerusalem in my studio in an effort to process fear. In March 2002, following the suicide bomb attack at café Moment in the center of Jerusalem, I left my studio, and I walked the changing borderlines around Jerusalem. First as a civilian and later as a press photographer, I documented the erection of checkpoints and barrier walls, creating a new body of works entitled Border Land.

The physical encounters with violent events in the Territories as well as the traumatic Disengagement from the Gaza Strip which I covered in 2005 had a profound impact on my worldview and my art. By the time of the Second Lebanon War (2006) and Operation Cast Lead in Gaza (2009), I felt the need to express ‘The wound’ in a more symbolic way. In 2008, I exhibited 3 maps from ‘Surgical Operation,’ a performance at the Anglican School of Jerusalem in 2004 during which closure maps of Jerusalem were cut, sewed and dressed in plaster cloth gauze bandages.

In 2009, my youngest daughter suffered third-degree burns which required skin grafts and daily dressing with sterile medical gauze bandages. Ever since that event, I have been using sterile gauzes bandages provided by a medical supplier in Jerusalem for my cartographic maps and the performative acts in the landscape. Sterile medical gauze was a perfect material to symbolically heal emotional traumas inscribed in the political, the historical, the ecological and the topographical wounds within the landscape, the map and the body. The act of dressing echoes the historical role of women as carer in hospitals and on the battle fields whilst the sewing performance echoes women weaving their alternative fates in  mythical stories.

Over the years the short films of site-specific performative act of healing carried out across the landscape are markers in the mapping process of a liminal space, that of a wound, sometime invisible and forgotten, yet always present in the memory of the landscape, the city, the body and the mind.

Ariane Littman