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  • The Green(er) Side of the Line - Israel/Palestine

  • The Green(er) Side of the Line - Israel/Palestine

  • The Green(er) Side of the Line - Israel/Palestine

  • The Green(er) Side of the Line - Israel/Palestine

  • The Green(er) Side of the Line - Israel/Palestine

Production of visual contents merging creativity and expertise

The actors

> Initiative, research, photographs and texts : Alban Biaussat
>Artistic Production : Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jerusalem.

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Expectations

This project intends to communicate, with a smile, a sense of unity in this otherwise divided landscape, in order to improve the understanding of the issues at stake and to keep the door open to alternative thinking.

Afro food... for thought : South Africa Video: introduction to International IDEA

The context

Drawn with a green pen on maps when negotiating the 1949 armistice, the Green Line has demarcated Israel from Transjordan and the Egyptian-controlled Gaza Strip until 1967. Since Israel started occupying these territories, this line has become the central reference for every peace process. The legality of the unilateral construction of the separation wall by Israel was contested by the International Court of Justice on the basis that it does not follow the Green Line. What to believe then, what to see, how to feel, and what mental and indentity schemes to build in the face of this landscape ?

The Green(er) Side of the Line is a photography project which consists in making visible the 1949 armistice line, which has graduated to become a pseudo border drawn in green on maps, separating Israel from the Palestinian territories it has been occupying since 1967.

« In the Middle East, new political concepts, initiatives and slogans are plenty, supplementing each other month after month as the previous ones exhaust themselves. But there is one reference that has borne a sustained potential for visualization, if not for political vision: the Green Line.

As I became tempted, like so many others, by a career as a messiah in this Holy Land, I decided to make the Green Line appear. Photography would be my magic wand. Later, as I was considering the various shades of green for my 12-meter long ribbon and painted balls to be placed in the landscape as an artificial allusion to the line, some people questioned my initial choice. “ This is not the green of the Green Line ”, they said, as if they had actually seen it for real !

Traveling during Spring and Summer along the line, it looks green indeed. Often, it also appears pale and blurred where there is a motorway interchange, a traffic intersection, inaccessible agricultural fields, empty hills or valleys, un-cleared minefields and military zones around the sections of wall and fence that make up the gently called "separation barrier".

But its enduring political validity has been saturated by various, and sometimes contrary Israeli and Palestinian popular discourses. For all these reasons, the Line is almost blinding because it is about cease-fire and hope, but it is also artificial and blurred.

This is sometimes represented visually by the project, either by creating a movement effect, or by placing a virtual line in the landscape made of large green balls: the path between two points can indeed take an infinite number of courses, a straight line being only one of them.

This project wants to be a gentle, yet absurd, kick in the big green eyes of the so-called solution of “two States living side by side in peace and security along the 1967 border.” More interestingly, it is about showing the physical landscape of possible political separation, as was the case in the past, and about raising the understanding of the related issues at stake.» 

Alban Biaussat

«The Green(er) Side of the Line, projet dans lequel l’artiste fait flotter un étendard vert au travers de la frontière nébuleuse entre Israël et la Cisjordanie, est particulièrement touchant dans la période politique actuelle» -
Teka Selman / Duke Magazine

JPEG - 15.7 kb

Plusieurs activités complémentaires ont été organisées en parallèle des expositions internationales, avec la participation d’experts et de politiques : projections de films, deux ateliers réunissant négociateurs et artistes palestiniens et israëliens, une sortie avec guide en bus le long de la Green Line pour 50 participants, et 5 ateliers photographiques pour 20 adolescents palestiniens. Des images ont également servi à de nombreuses initiatives, notamment le «Walk the Green Line», événement organisé au printemps 2008 par le Centre Israëlien-Palestinien de Recherche et d’Information (IPCRI).

  • 11 Exhibitions in Palestine, Israël, Jordan, Belgium, United States, France and Mexico.
  • 2 Contributions to arts book on Palestine and cartography.
    Kitty Harmon, «Cartography : Artiste + Maps», published at Princeton Architectural Press (Etats-Unis) includes the Green Line project.
  • Alban Biaussat also wrote an article «A land without people for a people without a land ; an interactive graphic exhibition about Palestine», an art book project (graphisme, design) by Nuno Coelho and Adam Kershaw, (self published, Portugal).
  • 19 press and web publications.
    Photos, comments and references to this project have been made in Courrier International, Science et Avenir, Escala, La Libre Belgique, L’Art Même, OrSérie, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Jordan Times, Al Rai, Al Dustour, Al Ghad, Artschool Palestine, This Time in Palestine, etc.
  • 3 Reports on TV and radio.
    A radio show and a web article have benne made by a BBC journalist about Barta’a, a palestinian village cut in half by the green line since 1949.
  • «50 degrés à l’ombre », the Belgium cultural show, has made an eclusive report about the Green Line exibition in Bruxelles. Alban Biaussat was elected «photographe de la semaine» by the show.
  • Arte Europe has made an interview of the photographer when the Israeli Education Minister was thinking about reintroduce the green line on maps and schools’ programmes.

Reportage TV Arte - Green Line from Collateral Creations on Vimeo.