An Index of Tensional and Unintentional Love of Land


In 1970, Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin arrived in Jordan to shoot a film on the Palestinian revolution titled Jusqu’a la victoire [Until Victory]. They envisioned a film structured around five revolutionary slogans—the people's will, armed struggle, political work, prolonged war, and until victory—but when the filmmakers returned to Paris they realized the images they had amassed amounted to a stream of overdetermined representations. Godard and Gorin were unsure of how to edit the film, and it remained unfinished until Godard returned to the footage with Anne-Marie Mieville four years later. Together they added more scenes and re-edited the film to create Ici et ailleurs [Here and Elsewhere], a compelling reflection on the role of images in shaping both ideologies and representations.

One way to narrate the recent history of the Arab world is to trace the impact of the Palestinian struggle alongside the ideals, efforts, and discourses that reverberated across different times and geographies. “An Index of Tensional and Unintentional Love of Land" - an exhibition set within “Here and Elsewhere” and curated by Ala Younis - attempts such a survey, juxtaposing images, artworks, photographs and documents of visual culture that undermine stereotypical representations of conflict.

With a focus on the 1960s to 1980s, this presentation is preoccupied with elements that reveal an enduring process of popularizing ideas and the related icons that have persisted over time. Political and creative practices are the protagonists in this show, particularly visible in cinema, journalism, publishing, and nationalist projects. Between the contemporary artworks and archival materials presented, this collection of images looks critically and historically at the constant transfer of subjects from one place to another, at icons that emerge and recede in the popular imagination, and at artists’ practices that shift toward service of the public, together revealing various modes of relating to pan-Arab nationalism and revolutionary political promise.


An Index of Tensional and Unintentional Love of Land, is an ongoing project by Ala Younis. It was commissioned by and presented at the New Museum, within "Here and Elsewhere" exhibition (organized by New Museum's curatorial department led by Massimiliano Gioni).

The project featured works by Adel Abidin, Mustapha Akrim, Yto Barrada, Neïl Beloufa, Mohssin Harraki, Mona Hatoum, Amina Menia, Abdul Hay Mosallam, as well as archival materials and images from Magnum Photos, Arab Image Foundation, Palestine Poster Project Archives, Dar Al Fata Al Arabi publications, Hani Jawhariah's camerawork, Mohieddine Ellabbad's concepts, Tewfik Saleh's films and others.

5th floor, New Museum, New York City, 16.7 - 28.9.2014

> Exhibition views
> Images and texts from the project are at tensionaluntensional.tumblr.com
> Here and Elsewhere, New Museum
> An Index of Tensional and Unintentional Love of Land, extensive piece in Nafas Art Magazine, including curator's reflections, exhibition views, artworks' and objects' details, September 2014. [English] [Arabic] [Deutsch]

> Here and Elsewhere, by Laurence Cornet, Nafas Art Magazine, August 2014 [English] [Arabic] [Deutsch]
> Realities of the Arab World, by Melik Kaylan, The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2014.
> Here and Elsewhere, by Joseph R. Wolin, Time Out, NY, August 20, 2014.

 

"Similarly the small gallery on the museum’s fifth floor holds a mini-exhibition curated by Amman-based artist Ala Younis. Using the Palestinian struggle as a lens through which to examine recent Arab history as a whole, she orchestrates art and archival materials into a tour de force of odd affinities and historical eddies. The objects range from curiosities such as PLO pins and children’s books from the 1970s to projects like Adel Abidin’s Three Love Songs (2010), a trio of music videos in which sultry blondes sing bombastic songs, originally commissioned by Saddam Hussein, in the style of Western pop, torch, and easy-listening music. The effect is deliriously wacky, if a little sinister." _ Joseph R. Wolin, Time Out, New York, 20.8.2014.

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