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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 my fear. In March 2002, following the suicide bomb attack at café Moment in the center of Jerusalem, I left the studio, and began walking along the changing borderlines surrounding the city. 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 Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), as well as the traumatic disengagement from the Gaza Strip, which I covered in 2005, had a profound impact on 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 maps from Surgical Operation, a performance I created at the Anglican School of Jerusalem in 2004, in which closure maps of Jerusalem were cut, sewed and dressed in gauze bandages. But it was following my daughter’s accident in 2009 that I started using sterile gauze bandages provided by a medical supplier to dress and sew wounded maps of Jerusalem. The act of dressing echoes the historical role of women as carers in hospitals and on the battlefields while the sewing performances evoke women weaving alternative fates in mythical stories.

Over the years, the short films I create of site-specific, performative acts of healing carried out across the landscape have also served as markers in the process of mapping liminal spaces – the spaces of sometimes invisible and forgotten wounds that remain present in the memory of the landscape, the city, the body and the psyche.

Ariane Littman