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Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Monday 29 Nov

Instagram Live: 12PM CET | 1PM Palestine

UN Office in Geneva

Live coverage of a body moving, existing, (dancing?) and walking inside Palais des Nations – United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland – in solidarity with Palestine and its people. From 12PM CET. Click here to watch on Instagram.

In Observance

In October 2021, I came to Geneva as a resident artist at the Embassy of Foreign Artists to work with the United Nations Archives. I have spent 22 working days at Palais des Nations. I have spoken to the archivists, visited the repositories and the digitisation process.  Some of the documents are shocking. But you see so much shock that you go numb.  At some point I asked some Palestinian friends of mine and their mothers to suggest their favourite Palestinian song – you'll see their suggestions dispersed across this page. The words I say in my observance-performance are inspired by and borrowed from these songs.

 

 

29 Nov is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This is a UN-organised observance but unlike some previous years, UN office in Geneva are not doing anything to observe this day. So I thought, I’ll do it. I’ll be there. I’ll ‘observe’ this day. I’ll acknowledge colonialism not as a thing of the past but as an ongoing fact of our world.

 

I have been looking into the documents and photographs related to Palestine at the United Nations archives in Geneva for some time now – thinking of ways documents and sites can be embodied, and the experience of sitting with these at times deeply disturbing documents and photographs can be shared through my body, not as historical research but as a mode of being and moving. This is a fragment of an idea in the making, not polished, not finished, not choreographed. 

this page will be slowly updated 

this is not a historical or political research, it's an artistic exploration engaging with history and politics 
UN Archives (UNOG)
UN Archives (UNOG)
Girls' School in Gaza, 1990 - UN photo 157984, John Isaac
UN Archives (UNOG)
Girls' School in Gaza, 1990 - UN photo 157979, John Isaac
Girls' School in Gaza, 1990 - UN photo 157978, John Isaac
The dome of the rock, Jerusalem, 1980 UN photo 149156 / John Isaac

All photographs: collecting gestures from UN archives

© United nations / John Isaac

All documents: photographs I've taken of documents in the archives at United Nations Office at Geneva

  • finding traces of the body in an institutional archive

  • how to engage with, disperse and challenge an institutional archive through performance

  • embodying the experience of sitting with at times deeply disturbing documents and photographs

  • linking my own body to the site of the archive and its surroundings

  • finding ways of carrying and dispersing fragments from the archive in my body and presence

 

That’s how I got into this. 

Perform

-ance

Artist