Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Facing Failure. A visit to Bethlehem

Tragedy has a way of playing ironic games that we only begin to understand once it's too late.

About a year ago, I wrote about a project called Face2Face, by two artists who go by the pseudonyms JR and Marco. The simple idea was: bring people to see how similar they are, and how funny. Show the two sides their faces. A charming, courageous project that meant to show the urgency of seeing the other.

That was one year ago.

A few days ago, on December 25th, I visited Bethlehem, the capital of the Palestinian Autonomy.
When entering the city, I discovered street art I had written about.
And the site was sad.

It is true, the works survived on the walls for quite a while. But especially in the case of some of the portraits, the damage was more than just a random act of destruction.

It made me feel like that particular project failed.
Possibly, someone still got influenced by it. But the statement it was making now was much stronger, and seemed to correspond better to the tension. And to increase it.
Among the many question that arose, one came back often: isn't this ridiculous, to think you can just put some funny faces on both sides of the wall, and people will feel closer to each other? You know, We Are The World... Here is what the artists were saying in 2007:

In a very sensitive context, we need to be clear.
We are in favor of a solution for which two countries, Israel and Palestine would live peacefully within safe and internationally recognized borders.

All the bilateral peace projects (Clinton/Taba, Ayalon/Nussibeh, Geneva Accords) are converging in the same direction. We can be optimistic.

We hope that this project will contribute to a better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.

Today, "Face to face" is necessary.
Within a few years, we will come back for "Hand in hand".

Hand in hand? Today it's tempting to ask, so what does each hand hold?
What is left for the artist? This cute idea of the artist being a social engineer can look ridiculous in the face of the violent tragedy we're witnessing. The Greek tragedy appears in all its seemingly unsolvable power.

But what made this particular artistic project end up like this?
1. It felt like it was a declaration: we don't think you're funny.
2. Maybe it said: your language is not ours. You have no clue about us (but implying: and we - about you).
3. But let us go back to the face. The French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas said that
the face says to me: you shall not kill.
Is that why the work was torn? In a way... I would be tempted to say that Levinas gives a reason a little further in that interview:
Accordingly, my duty to respond to the other [because of being confronted with his face] suspends my natural right to self-survival, le droit vitale.
Ergo, a work showing the faces of others can somehow take away my power to consider myself ahead of the other, leaving me at their mercy. They are facing me. In front of me. (Laughing at me?)(Mocking my way of life? My seriousness and attachment to my culture? My people's suffering, maybe?) By looking at me, constantly, they demand recognition that goes beyond any recognition they can give me.

Yes, this seems like a dead-lock. And a sad time, also for art.

One desperate attempt at a positive note.
Not all ancient Greek tragedies ended badly. For instance, The Eumenides, the third part of Aeschilus' trilogy Oresteia, ends well. It is Athena who comes and convinces the goddesses of vengeance - the Furies - to accept a judgement democratically made by a jury. Athena renames the Furies (Erinyes) the Kindly Ones - Eumenides. (And everyone lives happily ever after.)
Can we paint ourselves into being Athenas? We'll keep on trying. But we could certainly use some of those sound democratic judgements to defend.
Selected fragments of Levinas on the face:
The face resists possession, resists my powers.
The face opens the primordial discourse whose first word is obligation.
The Other faces me and puts me in question and obliges me.
The face is exposed, menaced, as if inviting us to an act of violence. At the same time, the face is what forbids us to kill.
The manifestation of the face is already discourse.


chook said...

Modern warefare has removed the victims faces from the soldiers. Perhaps if the B52 bombers could see the childrens' faces they would go home with the bombs intact.

chez-tortue-et-mouton said...

It's a very interesting blog. Thanx for that. come on http://tortue-mouton.blogspot.com/ its my young art blog. bye

tom said...

Nice job with the blog. very informative.

Anonymous said...

仓储货架|仓库货架|托盘|仓储笼 仓储货架|仓库货架|托盘|仓储笼 仓储货架|仓库货架|托盘|仓储笼 仓储货架|仓库货架|托盘|仓储笼 轻型仓储货架|轻量型仓库货架|库房货架 货架厂|货架公司|南京货架 中量型仓储货架|中量A型仓库货架|库房货架 货架厂|货架公司|南京货架 中量型仓储货架|中量B型仓库货架|库房货架 货架厂|货架公司|南京货架 横梁式仓库货架|重型仓储货架|货位式库房货架 货架厂|货架公司|南京货架 模具货架|抽屉式仓库货架|仓储货架|库房货架 货架厂|货架公司|南京货架 贯通式仓储货架|通廊式仓库货架|驶入式库房货架 货架厂|货架公司|南京货架 悬臂式仓储货架|仓库货架|库房货架 货架厂|货架公司|南京货架 阁楼式仓储货架|仓库货架|库房货架|钢平台 货架厂|货架公司|南京货架 流利式仓储货架|仓库货架|库房货架|辊轮式货架|自滑式货架 货架厂|货架公司|南京货架 工作台|工作桌 工具柜|工具车 托盘|塑料托盘|钢托盘|铁托盘|钢制托盘 仓储笼|仓库笼|折叠式仓储笼|蝴蝶笼 周转箱|塑料周转箱 静音手推车|铁板手推车|购物手推车|登高车 手动液压托盘搬运车|不锈钢搬运车|电子秤搬运车 高起升搬运车|电动搬运车|平台车 手动液压堆高车|手动液压堆垛车|半电动堆垛车 全电动堆垛车|油桶搬运车|圆桶搬运车|油桶装卸车| 柴油内燃平衡重式叉车|电动平衡重式叉车 液压升降机|剪叉式高空作业平台|固定式蹬车桥 文件柜 不锈钢制品 零件盒|零件柜 折叠式仓储笼|仓库笼 钢托盘 钢制料箱 堆垛架 物流台车 手推车 钢托盘 折叠式仓储笼|仓库笼 折叠式仓储笼|仓库笼 钢托盘|钢制托盘|铁托盘|金属托盘|镀锌托盘 堆垛架|巧固架 钢制料箱 物流台车|载物台车 手推车|静音手推车 手推车|静音手推车 仓储笼|钢托盘|钢制料箱|堆垛架|物流台车|手推车 仓储笼|钢托盘 仓储笼 仓库货架|中量A型货架 仓储货架|中量B型货架 库房货架|横梁式货架 塑料托盘|栈板 钢托盘|钢制托盘 折叠式仓储笼|仓库笼 仓储笼|仓库笼|折叠式仓储笼 托盘|钢托盘 托盘|塑料托盘 周转箱|塑料周转箱 托盘|纸托盘 料箱|钢制料箱 工具柜|工具车|抽屉柜 工作台|工作桌 刀具柜|刀具车|刀具架 手动液压托盘搬运车|电动托盘搬运车 手动液压堆高车|手动叉车 仓储笼 仓库笼 南京仓储笼 常州仓储笼 无锡仓储笼 苏州仓储笼 徐州仓储笼 南通仓储笼 镇江仓储笼 连云港仓储笼 泰州仓储笼 扬州仓储笼 盐城仓储笼 淮安仓储笼 宿迁仓储笼 轻量型货架|角钢货架 中量A型货架 中量B型货架 货位式货架 横梁式货架 阁楼式货架|钢平台 悬臂式货架 贯通式货架|通廊式货架|驶入式货架 辊轮式货架|流利条货架 压入式货架 移动式货架|密集架 模具货架 抽屉式货架 汽车4S店货架 汽配库货架 自动化立体仓库货架 托盘|钢托盘|钢制托盘 托盘|塑料托盘 托盘|塑料托盘 托盘|塑料托盘 仓储笼|仓库笼|折叠式仓储笼 手推车|铁板手推车 手推车|静音手推车 置物架|工业置物架|家用置物架 堆垛架|巧固架 挂板架|物料整理架 登高车 物流台车|载物台车 料箱|钢制料箱 搬运车|手动液压托盘搬运车|电动托盘搬运车 堆高机|堆垛机|手动堆高机|电动堆高机 叉车|电动叉车|内燃叉车|叉车厂 货架 货架 仓储货架 仓储货架 仓库货架 仓库货架 货架厂 货架厂 货架公司 货架公司 托盘 钢托盘 铁托盘 钢制托盘 塑料托盘 仓储笼 仓库笼 折叠式仓储笼 折叠仓储笼 仓储货架|仓库货架|库房货架 南京货架|横梁式货架|中型货架 钢托盘|塑料托盘|纸托盘 仓储笼|仓库笼|折叠式仓储笼 钢制料箱|工具柜|工作台 手动液压托盘搬运车|手动液压堆高车 仓库货架|中量A型货架> 仓储货架|横梁式货架|货位式货架 托盘|塑料托盘|钢制托盘|纸托盘 仓储笼|仓库笼|折叠式仓储笼|蝴蝶笼|储物笼 手动液压托盘搬运车|手动液压堆高车 仓库货架|中量A型货架 仓储货架|横梁式货架|货位式货架 托盘|塑料托盘|钢制托盘|纸托盘 仓储笼|折叠式仓储笼|仓库笼|蝴蝶笼|储物笼 手动液压托盘搬运车|手动液压堆高车 仓储货架|仓库货架|库房货架 南京货架|中型货架|横梁式货架 钢托盘|钢制托盘|塑料托盘|纸托盘 仓储笼|仓库笼|折叠式仓储笼 钢制料箱|工具柜|工作台 手动液压托盘搬运车|手动液压堆高车 仓库货架|中量A型货架 仓储货架|中量B型货架 库房货架|横梁式货架|货位式货架 钢托盘|钢制托盘|铁托盘|栈板 托盘|塑料托盘|栈板 纸托盘|栈板 仓储笼|仓库笼|折叠式仓储笼|蝴蝶笼|储物笼 钢制料箱|钢制周转箱|网格式料箱 搬运车|手动液压托盘搬运车|电动托盘搬运车 仓库货架|中量A型货架 仓储货架|中量B型货架 库房货架|横梁式货架|货位式货架 钢托盘|钢制托盘|铁托盘|栈板 塑料托盘|塑料栈板 纸托盘|栈板 仓储笼|仓库笼|折叠式仓储笼|蝴蝶笼|储物笼 钢制料箱|钢质周转箱|网格式料箱 手动液压托盘搬运车|液压搬运车 仓储货架|>仓库货架|库房货架 南京货架|中型货架|横梁式货架 钢托盘|钢制托盘|塑料托盘|纸托盘 仓储笼|仓库笼|折叠式仓储笼 钢制料箱|工具柜|工作台 手动液压托盘搬运车|手动液压堆高车 仓库货架|中量A型货架 仓储货架|中量B型货架 库房货架|横梁式货架|货位式货架 钢托盘|钢制托盘|铁托盘|栈板 塑料托盘|塑料栈板 纸托盘|栈板 仓储笼|仓库笼|折叠式仓储笼|蝴蝶笼|储物笼 钢制料箱|钢质周转箱|网格式料箱 手动液压托盘搬运车|托盘搬运车 货架|仓储货架|仓库货架|库房货架 南京货架|上海货架|北京货架 轻型货架|中型货架|搁板式货架 重型货架|横梁式货架|托盘式货架 托盘|木托盘|纸托盘|木塑托盘 托盘|钢托盘|塑料托盘|钢制托盘 仓储笼|仓库笼|折叠式仓储笼 手推车|静音手推车|铁板手推车 物料架|整理架|挂板架 料箱|钢制料箱|钢制周转箱|网格式料箱 手动液压托盘搬运车|电动托盘搬运车 手动液压堆高车|半电动堆高车|手动叉车 塑料周转箱|物流箱|塑料化工桶|塑料卡板箱 工具柜|上海工具柜|南京工具柜|抽屉柜 工作台|工作桌|南京工作台|上海工作台 刀具车|刀具柜|刀具架|刀具座 货架 货架厂 货架公司 仓储货架 仓库货架 库房货架 南京货架 上海货架 托盘 钢托盘 钢制托盘 货架|轻量型货架|角钢货架 货架|中量型货架|次重型货架 货位式货架|横梁式货架|重量型货架 仓储货架|阁楼式货架|钢平台 仓储货架|悬臂式货架 仓储货架|贯通式货架|通廊式货架|驶入式货架 仓库货架|库房货架|抽屉式货架|模具货架 仓库货架|库房货架|汽车4S店货架|汽配库货架 货架厂|货架公司|南京货架|上海货架|无锡货架|苏州货架 货架厂|货架公司|北京货架|天津货架|沈阳货架|大连货架 货架厂|货架公司|广州货架|深圳货架|杭州货架 托盘|钢托盘|钢制托盘 托盘|塑料托盘 仓储笼|仓库笼|折叠式仓储笼 置物架|多功能置物架|卫浴置物架 料箱|钢制料箱|钢制周转箱 手动液压托盘搬运车|不锈钢托盘搬运车|电动托盘搬运车 手动液压堆高车|半电动堆高车|电动堆高车|堆垛车 货架 仓储货架 仓库货架 货架厂 货架公司 托盘 钢托盘 铁托盘 钢制托盘 塑料托盘 仓储笼 仓库笼 折叠式仓储笼 折叠仓储笼 货架 货架 货架 仓储货架 仓储货架 仓储货架 仓库货架 仓库货架 货架厂 货架厂 货架公司 货架公司 托盘 钢托盘 铁托盘 钢制托盘 塑料托盘 仓储笼 仓库笼 折叠式仓储笼 货架 货架 货架 仓储货架 仓储货架 仓储货架 仓库货架 仓库货架 仓库货架 货架厂 货架厂 货架厂 货架公司 货架公司 货架公司 托盘 钢托盘 铁托盘 钢制托盘 塑料托盘 仓储笼 仓库笼 折叠式仓储笼 折叠仓储笼 托盘 塑料托盘 钢托盘 钢制托盘 铁托盘 货架厂 仓储笼 仓库笼 折叠式仓储笼 折叠仓储笼 南京货架 货架公司 货架厂 仓库货架 仓储货架 货架 货架

Rumelo Amor said...

A very insightful read.
I came to this post from the GOOD article on JR/Face2Face. Thanks.


Related Posts with Thumbnails