The missing pistol: notes on impossible museological objects in Palestine

Lara Khalidi
June 16th at 14:00 - 17:00

The paper will address the museum as a technological tool for resurrection and return of revolutionary ideas, objects and figures; at times an incubator for dormant revolutionary thought and activism and at others the space for stasis, or the return of the same. Museums in Palestine will be the focal subjects of this lecture, framing them within contradictory traditions, the modernist museum and the revolutionary museum simultaneously. The lecture will introduce the recent museum building fever in Palestine and contextualise it within the settler colonial condition and the contradictions that those museums become sites of. The paper will examine various case studies such as several objects in the museum; exhibited pistols at the Yasser Arafat museum, a constellation of hand grenades at the Banksy Hotel Museum, as well as other objects from other museums. The questions which these objects or their lack conjures is about how the museum changes certain objects once they enter into it? Is the museum an a-historical space? Could one re-use objects at the museum? What would this reuse indicate? What does a museum of the revolution look like in Palestine?  Referencing artists and thinkers who have worked on these questions such as Hito Steyerl, Arseny Zhilyaev, Boris Groys and others this paper will attempt to address the contradictions about notions of revolutionary thought and history that these museums and museum objects in Palestine reveal.

Lara Khaldi is an independent curator, based in Jerusalem, Palestine. She is an alumna of de Appel curatorial programme, Amsterdam, and the European Graduate School, Switzerland. Khaldi is currently the head of the Media Studies program at Al Quds Bard College, Jerusalem. Some of her recent curatorial projects are Desires into Fossils: Monuments Without a State research exhibition series (with Reem Shilleh) Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, 2017; Eclipses, A.M Qattan Foundation, Ramallah, 2017; Oh Whale, Don’t Swallow Our Moon: a Solo exhibition of Jumana Emil Abboud's work, Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center and Qalandiya International III, 2016; Benjamin in Palestine Conference (with Sami Khatib and Yazan Khalili) at Birzeit University and International Academy of Art Palestine, Ramallah, 2015; Love Letter to Mars (with Yazan Khalili), Office for Contemporary Art, Oslo, 2014; The Jerusalem Shows IV, 2011 and V, 2012 (with Jose A. Sánchez and Katia Garcia Anton) at Al Ma’mal Art Foundation, Jerusalem. For her most recent project, Shifting Ground, Sharjah Biennial 13 Offsite project for Ramallah, Palestine in August 2017, she edited eight artist publications and curated a symposium around notions of the underground and museums in Palestine.

Supported by the A. M. Qattan Foundation through the “Visual Arts: A Flourishing Field” project funded by Sweden.

Dar Yusuf Nasri Jacir for Art and Research
Al Khalil Road,Bethlehem, West Bank

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