Otherwise Occupied in Venice extended

Otherwise Occupied in Venice extended

Palestinian Art Court – al Hoash

Left: Bashir Makhoul, Giardino Occupato (detail in-situ), 2013. Corrugated cardboard, size variable. Right: Aissa Deebi, The Trial, 2013. Two-channel video installation, 15 minutes.

July 19, 2013

Bashir Makhoul & Aissa Deebi
Otherwise Occupied
Extended until 31 August 2013

Collateral Event of the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia

Press conference and artists/curators talk: 24 July 2013
The Mosaic Rooms, London in video link with A.M.Qattan Foundation, Ramallah

Mosaic Rooms, 1pm
Tower House, 226 Cromwell Road
London SW5 0SW 

A.M.Qattan Foundation, 3pm
Al – Jihad Street

Liceo Artistico Statale di Venezia (LASV), 
Palazzo Ca’ Giustinian Recanati 
Dorsoduro 1012
30123 Venice, Italy


Palestinian Art Court – Al Hoash, in cooperation with The Mosaic Rooms and A.M. Qattan Foundation, invites you to celebrate the success of Otherwise Occupied, a Venice Biennale 2013 exhibition, with the artists Bashir Makhoul and Aissa Deebi and curator Rawan Sharaf. The international artists’ talk and press conference takes place at The Mosaic Rooms – London and will be video-linked with Ramallah, as it will feature video and images from the Biennale exhibition.

The evening of 29th May marked the opening of Otherwise Occupied, with a big crowd who came to see the Palestinian representation at the 55th International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennale. Otherwise Occupied features the work of two Palestinian artists, Bashir Makhoul and Aissa Deebi. Originally scheduled to close at the end of June, the exhibition has proven so popular with the international Biennale audience that it will remain open until the end of August.

For three months over this summer, the Liceo Artistico Statale di Venezia, an art school housed in the Palazzo Ca’Giustinian, close to the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, is hosting the Palestinian exhibition. Since the opening, more than 12,000 visitors have visited the show, with an average of 350 visitors per day. Without a doubt, it is a great achievement in the effort to bring the visual productions of Palestinian artists into the international arena. 

The exhibition was organized as a collateral event, since unacknowledged countries are not allowed an official pavilion. The Biennale’s regulations only offer official representation space for ‘legitimate,’ ‘recognized’ and ‘independent’ nations to show their latest, highest, most sophisticated and best productions of visual art. Nevertheless, Otherwise Occupied came to be perceived as the representative exhibition of Palestine.

Both artworks presented by Makhoul and Deebi are unavoidably occupied with political engagement and are artistically and critically questioning of the Palestinian identity, thinking through the de­‐territorialisation of Palestine and the issues of dispersal, plurality, and dispossession. 

Giardino Occupato
In Bashir Makhoul’s interactive installation, Giardino Occupato, visitors are surprised to be invited to create their own cardboard box house to further occupy the garden adding up to the original settlement by Makhoul made of thousands of boxes. This accumulation of boxes assembles and resembles evocative, basic, village-like communities, while the use of cardboard is suggestive of the temporality of settlements, dwellings, encampments and the life of transience, which can often endure as a state of affairs for displaced persons. The ambiguous performance is highly playful and deadly serious, situating the performer in a position playing the role of the occupier. 

The Trial
Aissa Deebi‘s two-channel installation The Trial is a work about the colonial present as much as the colonial past. A video installation that consists of two actors at a table, in a darkened room, alternately reciting a speech by Daoud Turki, a Palestinian-Arab citizen of Israel, delivered at the Haifa District Court in 1973, just before he was convicted of espionage for his activities as a leader of a Marxist cell. Turki tried to advance an idea against the paranoid Zionist fantasy of conflict toward the larger idea of a socialist class struggle, proclaiming solidarity with “…all workers, peasants and those persecuted in Israel society.” The speech is ironically revived to present an insight through this historical event on the transformations of the identity through its ideological affiliations.

Sponsors and partners
Palestinian Art Court – al Hoash
Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton
American University in Cairo
Liceo Artistico Statale di Venezia
A.M.Qattan Foundation
The Mosaic Rooms

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Palestinian Art Court – al Hoash
July 19, 2013

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