say cheese (2021-2022)
When I first arrived in Israel/Palestine one thing, that immediately caught my attention were phone cameras. At every protest, at every encounter with the Israeli military or Israeli settlers Palestinians would film everything, and you would find this footage on social media shortly after.
Many people call the video camera a weapon in the Palestinian resistance against the occupation and injustice. The definition of a weapon is “a means of gaining an advantage or defending oneself in a conflict or contest”. There are many ways in which the camera can be a tool in resistance. Some more efficient than others. One thing – I feel is important – is that in the nature of the military occupation the Palestinian body is subject to the gaze of the occupier and is restricted in the ability to see themselves. During searches at Checkpoints, house searches at night, extensive video surveillance and the Separation wall - which physically interrupts the ability to see. Cameras in the hands of Palestinian citizens are an attempt to reverse these power dynamics of seeing and being seen.
This work talks about the hope, that documenting with videos can bring change, the question of how much truth can be in (audio-)visual footage, the difference between citizen videography and footage from (foreign) journalists, footage in the context of social media and the war on pictures.