Monday, December 08, 2014

Coming soon: Gil Hochberg, "Visual Occupations: Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone"

UCLA Prof Gil Hochberg's book, Visual Occupations: Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone, is out soon (May 2015) from Duke University Press. I blurbed it, so I've read the manuscript, and it is terrific, an essential read.

Here is Ella Shohat's blurb:

"Focusing on the politics of visuality, Visual Occupations engages the Zionist narrative in its various scopic manifestations, while also offering close readings of a wide range of contemporary artistic representations of a conflictual zone. Through such key notions as concealment, surveillance, and witnessing, the book insightfully examines the uneven access to visual rights that divides Israelis and Palestinians. Throughout, Gil Z. Hochberg sharply accentuates the tensions between visibility and invisibility within a context of ongoing war and violence. Visual Occupations makes a vital and informed contribution to the growing field of Israel/Palestine visual culture studies." 

and mine:

"Gil Z. Hochberg's brilliant and lucidly written text provides a vivid analysis of the sharp limits on visibility in Palestine/Israel. The expulsions of Palestinians in 1948 are invisible in Israel, and yet they continue to haunt its citizens and mobilize Palestinian resistance. Palestinians under occupation are hyper-visible, as victims and militants, and they seek both non-spectacular images and a measure of opacity. Through her critical readings of an array of Palestinian and Israeli artistic works, Hochberg offers other ways of looking and being seen, in this vastly unequal field of visibility."

and Duke Press' description:

"In Visual Occupations Gil Z. Hochberg shows how the Israeli Occupation of Palestine is driven by the unequal access to visual rights, or the right to control what can be seen, how, and from which position. Israel maintains this unequal balance by erasing the history and denying the existence of Palestinians, and by carefully concealing its own militarization. Israeli surveillance of Palestinians, combined with the militarized gaze of Israeli soldiers at places like roadside checkpoints, also serve as tools of dominance. Hochberg analyzes various works by Palestinian and Israeli artists, among them Elia Suleiman, Rula Halawani, Sharif Waked, Ari Folman, and Larry Abramson, whose films, art, and photography challenge the inequity of visual rights by altering, queering, and manipulating dominant modes of representing the conflict. These artists' creation of new ways of seeing—such as the refusal of Palestinian filmmakers and photographers to show Palestinian suffering, or the Israeli artists' exposure of state manipulated Israeli blindness—offers a crucial gateway, Hochberg suggests, for overcoming and undoing Israel's militarized dominance and political oppression of Palestinians."

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