Tightrope Walking

The Zone – A View From The West Bank

The Zone is an ongoing research project by Palestinian artist Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme that has different extensions; previously it has been shown as a multiscreen video and sound installation at the New Art Exchange and the 5th Jerusalem Show. Currently the artists are continuing the research for different forms of presentation.


In one of the darkest moments in Palestinian lived history, a ‘dream-world’ has somehow emerged in the West Bank: a host of commodified desires, a semblance of normality, have been constructed atop the debris of political failure and collapse.

Here, new lifestyles, desires, senses of self mingle and collide with a persistent denial of the disasters of Palestine’s current situation.


The Zone, by evoking both the phantasmagoria of the dream-world and the dystopia of the catastrophe, reflects this state of being, full of surrealism and absurdity and a growing sense of the uncanny.

Constructed as an immersive environment, a site of ruin and dream, a physical reflection on a subjectivity marked by a double moment of colonial expansion/political defeat and impending statehood/consumptive regime.

But the violence, in its political and physical incarnations, cannot be ignored. It’s in the intensifying colonial structures, the ever evolving technologies of control and surveillance; walls; watchtowers; bypass tunnels… the spatial ‘rearrangements’ that are taking place at the imposed limits of Palestinian centers.


It is here that dream becomes nightmare; this uncanny dialectic haunting a space at once filled with desire and disaster.

This article is a compilation from artterritories the ongoing extension of The Zone by Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, for the online presentation of some of the researches see at artterritories.

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme (Ramallah, Jerusalem) work together across a range of sound, image, installation and performance practices. Their work explores issues dealing with the politics of desire and disaster, spatial politics, subjectivity and the absurdities of contemporary practices of power, often investigating spatio-temporal resonances in the relation between the actual, imagined and remembered.

Thomas Büsch

Filmmaker, Founding Member and Secretary General of diyalog, promotion of cultural exchange with Turkey. Since 2012 he is also project manager of InEnArt.

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