I’m in Jerusalem at the moment, here for an almost ten day trip that has to propel hopefully Picasso in Ramallah as an endeavor into the future more and to meet Jack Persekian for an interview on CAMP ( Contemporary Art Museum Palestine).
I’m getting quite used to the Israeli border control, but now it was the first time they stopped me before entering, rather than only interrogating when I left. I know that some stamps of Lebanon and other ‘Arab’ countries do not help the process of getting smoothly through border control. It’s an easy thing to talk about and I imagine all international travelers, curators, artists, NGO active people, writers and journalist talk about this issue much too often, like I do now. I will therefore stop this nagging about my position and pseudo cruelties, knowing the real constrictions of many millions of people in West Bank and Gaza. Still, it is a discussion that I talk about every time and keeps on coming back.
I visited Jack today to interview him on the history and future of CAMP. We will use the material for a short film that will be presented during Play Van Abbe, chapter 3, The Politics of Collecting and the collecting of Politics. It was an amusing interview that I had very little work to do for, since Jack spoke lively and committed on anything that I slightly touched on. These are the easy and joyful parts of my job, listening to somebody who is talking about his lifelong work.
I was accompanied by Issa Freij, an equally passionate filmmaker who was one of the co-initiators of Al Ma’mal in the 90′s together with Jack and whom I met for the first time. He filmed the interview with Jack, without tripod, for over an hour long.
I always get lost in the Old City, I don’t know what it is, but I always seem to take the wrong turn. On one of these occasions however I turned up at the front of the AL Aqsa Mosque entry, on a Friday, fully packed with people everywhere. This was exciting.
Jerusalem is vibrant and for the first time, something like the Syndrome popped up. Not in terms of religious anxiety, but anxiety that imagines all the possibilities of this city, even given the conditions of occupation it is in at the moment. If you draw this back to a more institutional critique, it was lovely to see the workshops that Al Ma’mal organised for kids to paint and draw for a full two day course. It’s education at its best and makes Al Ma’mal a very natural combination between contemporary artproducts that reflect on life in the political Israeli/Palestine arena, but lives it through this education. An enormous simple example that we could even learn from.
More to come in the following days,…