Alexandra Handal investigates the interface between storytelling cultures and mapping traditions, creating works that dissolve the boundaries between high and low art, documentary and poetry, the written and spoken, research and imagination. She mixes methodologies from different disciplines in order to develop a visual language that is informed by multiple perspectives, making way for new creative expressions. Her work breaks down the north-south and east-west dichotomies by disrupting dominant narratives and dismantling knowledge hierarchies. She explores the site of memory for what it can convey through its revelations as well as its limitations. Her work was selected for New Contemporaries 2009, UK. Born into a Palestinian family, her personal history is marked by intergenerational migration across disparate cities. Since 2004, she is based in London and intermittently in Jerusalem. Handal is currently an artist-in-resident at ZK/U - Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik in Berlin.
CONFLICT AREA / COUNTRY OF REFERENCE: JERUSALEM, PALESTINE, ISRAEL
There was no singular beginning.
Discoveries on foot, in cyberspace and through encounters crisscrossed, leading to its creation.
I once met a Palestinian exile in NYC who showed me an advertisement in a magazine that featured upscale residential properties in West Jerusalem. At first glance it looked like an ordinary advert. Soon however an absurd political reality became apparent. The house in question was this Palestinian man’s expropriated family home emptied of its Arab history and put on sale for an exclusively Israeli Jewish international clientele. With this paradoxical advertisement in mind, I meandered through Israeli real estate websites to see what had become of areas of the city that I have limited access to as a Palestinian. I learned that confiscated Palestinian houses in West Jerusalem are ironically repackaged by Israeli real estate agencies as ‘Arab-style’. Their factual history is camouflaged behind this architectural terminology; their Palestinian memory erased.
This inspired the making of Dream Homes property consultants, a nomadic real estate agency engaged with piecing together a disappearing world whose memory is submerged into forgetfulness by the narrative of power. To explore the torn social, cultural and intellectual fabric, I undertook oral history research with 24 Palestinian refugees and exiles from West Jerusalem. The departure point for our conversations was the memory of their usurped home. That delineated the path to re-trace their footsteps of displacement, dispossession and cultural cleansing. Echoing memory’s complex cognitive language, I translated through a multitude of forms their individual recollections, our collective history.
Launch in November 2013: www.dreamhomespropertyconsultants.com
Dream Homes Property Consultants (DHPC),
New Media & Art Intervention,
Work-in-progress from 2007-ongoing
Launch November 2013
© Artraker CIC 2014