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An ongoing project to interrogate the absurd landscape of Palestine

“ In the history of colonial invasion, maps are always first drawn by the victors since maps are instruments of conquer. Geography is therefore the art of war, but can also be the art of the art of resistance, if there is a counter strategy” Edward Said

The Digital Garden is part of an ongoing research to to interrogate the absurd landscape of Palestine and reclaim the absent landscape and the absent narrative..

Part of this research project is an installation in collaboration with Riwaq titled Secrets of a Digital Garden. The installation has been curated by Yara Sharif and Nasser Golzari.

Secrets of a Digital Garden is a future imaginary scenario set up in rural Palestine Nothing is conventional in this garden. Not aware whether one is at the scale of the village, or the city, or the room, or the surface or bellow, the garden negotiates a new experience within the informal and the periphery that has been created as a result of a fragmented geography; a status of “in-betweeness”; in-between the real and the imaginary, surface and bellow, absurdity and irony, physical and virtual. This “in-between’ despite the attempts to alienate it, is still open for change and thus, is our fertile ground for reclamation.

The Digital Garden reclaims some of the 420 villages existing in present day Palestine but also marks, remembers and commemorates the 420 Palestinian villages that had been erased to the ground in pre 1948 historic Palestine.

While navigating through the garden…

50 slices of earth containing ‘digital’ flowers have been brought to Berlin to narrate the absurd landscape. Capsules containing physical and digital DNA is trapped in each flower to capture and share the story of the 50 Villages project. It may eventually require DNA forensics to reveal the micro objects implanted within each flower. For Palestinians this will be awakened one day.

Scanning the QR on the acrylic flowers will offer a new insight into what the capsules are trapping: Riwaq’s Digital Archive. The work challenges the colonial snatch and erasure of the rural landscape by offering new means to narrate whereby the garden becomes the ‘agent’.

“The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” Marcel Proust

Secrets of a Digital Garden has been exhibited at Chicago Architecture Biennial 2010 and Berlianale 2020


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