Map Land


Maps have shaped my artistic creativity for over two decades, changing the way I relate to art in general. Moreover, during the Second Intifada they became both the tool for and the trigger to my perambulatory routes to Jerusalem’s borders.

Using maps from Israeli, Palestinian and UN sources, these road/ aerial/ historical/closure/ tourist maps are deconstructed and transformed into objects, performances, photo installations and short movies.

The Closure Maps created by OCHA in the midst of the violent conflict during the Second Intifada, enabled a better understanding of the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, yet they also aroused my awareness to the inherent elusiveness of maps and to tangible geographical, political and cultural spaces they suppress. I realized that visible as well as more transparent borders actually involve a physical and mental obstruction of private and collective consciousness at various levels.

As I created the Wounded Land Map of Jerusalem, I realized that I could discard all mapping conventions, producing instead maps in the same way that Tristan Tzara randomly used cut-out words from a daily newspaper to create his first Dadaist poem in 1917. Similarly, I could incise the maps, reshuffle their codes and borders, remove their hegemonic power and reassemble them anew. In doing so I overcame the paralyzing effect of violence experienced as a civilian when facing a situation in which he/she has no control whilst reinventing new symbolic borderscapes. With time my creative incentive became the de-construction and the re-construction of maps in order to disrupt the order of things, offering instead absurd maps, followed by a ‘healing’ process of meditative sewing.

All in all, the maps I create are imaginary maps and yet I shall venture to say that they are no less fictive than those created since the dawn of human history, before and after script was invented. All maps, even whilst following objective codes, in some way or another create a subjective reality that follows overt or covert political agendas.



Ariane Littman