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writing

Dominant and Counter-Dominant Practices of Spatial Photography in the Naqab

For over half a century now, imaging, surveying, mapping, terra-forming and afforestation have played a central role in the ongoing expropriation and obfuscation of Palestinian Bedouin land in the Naqab. While use of these techno-professional mechanisms could be traced throughout the colonial history of this region to the present day, It is at the same time, from this intersection of these image archives and emerging computational optical systems that new modes of intervention and resistance practice can arise. In this short paper I wish to follow two lines of inquiry. On the one hand, look into the ways in which aerial and remote sensing has been made operative by Israeli authorities, academic experts and specifically by the right wing organisation Regavim against the Palestinian Bedouin claims for land-rights. Secondly, through Forensic Architecture’s Ground Truth project I wish to demonstrate how DIY participatory image production and spatial photography can become a counter-dominant mode of practice that allows us to re-frame our understanding of photography, survey and witnessing .

* The full paper can be accessed here

Categories
writing

Spatial Testimonies of Dispossession, Destruction, and Return in the Bedouin Naqab

Ed Issue 2
Categories
writing

Granular Realism

Ontology And Counter-Dominant Practices of Spatial Photography

PhD Research Goldsmiths, University of London 2015 – 2019. Supervision: Eyal Weizman, susan schuppli

Examiners: Haim Yaacobi, Mariam Ghani (2019)

New forms of computational 3D imaging have given rise to a new photographic condi-tion—one in which the fl at image is replaced by an omni-directional spatial data constella-tion, and in which viewing is defi ned by immersive navigation. The ‘spatial photograph’, as I term it, does not fl atten reality onto a chemical grain emulsion surface or a plane of discrete pixels, rather, in this highly computational environment, physical surface is transcoded onto a mirrored digital terrain of spatially distributed, discrete coordinate points.
‘Spatial Photography’ comes to contest both the ocular perspectival gaze of monarchic land ownership and control as well as the Cartesian fl at abstraction of the map with its view from nowhere (or from a satellite). Fusing survey and perspectival imaging, optical media has gradually technologically developed to incorporate a multiplicity of images and sources, that are both perspectival and projective, communal, situated and multiple. While primarily developed by states, military and industry, permeating and restructuring them from the inside, it simultaneously opens new spaces for civic-led counter practices.
Situated predominantly within the geo-political context of Israel, my homeland, I fol-low the changing role of the photographic as it is implicated within the larger ethno-po-litical confl ict, manifesting through a spatial entanglement of volume, control, opacity and vision.
Constructed in an intertwined manner between a research project and an artists prac-tice, through two dedicated projects, one in East Jerusalem (Silwan and City of David), the other in the Naqab Desert (Unrecognised Bedouin village of al-Araqib), this thesis off ers a counter-dominant spatial photographic practice, reframed within new epistemol-ogy. ‘Spatial Photography’ is not simply a changed mode of mechanical production but rather, a vehicle for the creation of relation between diff erent people and machinic sys-tems, taking, analysing and producing spaces, that together add up to a socio-techno-po-litical community of practice.