This project explores the quiet nuances of conflict as manifested in the daily routines and ongoing presence of occupation. In visiting the West Bank, the Occupied Territories of Palestine, conflict presents itself in practices of violence and discrimination perpetuated by the construction of national, historical and political narratives marking the encounter with the landscape. These encounters are imbued with subtle confrontations with the ambiguity of local laws and restrictions, the exercise of power and the implications of gender and national identity. ‘Punctuated land’ alludes to the relationship between the landscape and language, and how these inform and disrupt one another. This project experiments with the notion of unlearning. In German the verb ‘verlernen’, which translates into forgetting in Hebrew and Arabic, contains within its meaning an action that is both passive and active. As a process, the word suggests an active form of undoing or a passive fading away, in both instances a form of erasure becomes apparent. I am exploring the conceptual, political, material and poetic interpretations and implications of this process on the landscape and ways of seeing through the photographic image and the printing process. The land and the encounter become both the subject and means of inquiry, recording the traces of violence, erasure, displacement and occupation. The spatial and temporal encounter with these traces is indicative of ongoing conflict, such as in the case of asserting control and surveillance. It also appears in the incidental – what grows in the meantime between abandoned structures and untamed landscape. In the attempt to simultaneously suspend and expand the reading of these images, the methods of printing become a significant site of mark-making.
Dana Ariel is an artist, researcher and lecturer based in London. She received her PhD, a research project entitled ‘Sites of Unlearning: Encountering Perforated Ground’, from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London with an awarded studentship from the AHRC. Dana is of German-Israeli-Kurdish background and this entangled relationship to history and identity plays a significant role in informing her work. In her art practice, she explores the conceptual, political, material and poetic interpretations and implications of the process of unlearning on the landscape and ways of seeing and knowing. This is done through experimentation with analogue printing processes of photographs and hybrid printmaking techniques, video, sound, text and abstract notions of drawing. Landscape and language form the basis of her search for moments of misidentification and misreading that could offer generative ways to challenge the reading of images and words. Her work has been exhibited internationally in various venues and events including the recent solo exhibition ‘To Cross the Border with a Pomegranate’, Maya Gallery, Tel Aviv (2019), Brighton Photo Fringe Festival (2016) and Neo Gallery, Bolton (2014). Recent group exhibitions include ‘Home Sweet Home’ at the Institute for photography, Lille and Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles in 2019, The International Print Biennial, Newcastle, 12 Star Gallery, Roaming Room and the UCL Art Museum in London.