An Anthology of 31.7683° N, 35.2137° E
(41 watercolours, size 10.6×13.6 cm)
‘Variations on a map’ is an anthology of maps of Palestine, Israel, the West Bank, Biblical Kingdoms, a Roman province, Greater Syria, some Ottoman Sanjaks, a British Colony, etc… The same place represented as many different places, some past, some present, some speculative, some informative and some that never were and never will be.
A map of a country illustrates the general outline of a territory and often pertains historical and political claims. It shows borders, neighbours, some cities, sometimes geological features and more, in the case of these maps, most often more, borderline symbolic.
A map is a representation of a territory from a certain distance. One of its initial functions is to enable the practice of the represented territory. But those images evolved into signifiers, distancing themselves from the practice of a territory. Abstract, they are part of the language that shapes the ‘ex-habitants’’ relationship with the habitat.
The maps are collected from the Internet, their provenances encompass the spectrum of political imaginaries orbiting around this territory. Their degree of factuality and fictionality vary accordingly. The process is like a virtual ‘derive’ of a disoriented cartographer mapping the phantasmagoria of this territory.
Those maps are protractions of analogies; from biblical real estate to flooded archipelagos, from bureaucratic labyrinths to generic nationalism, from orientalist baroque to infographic minimalism, from a land with no apparent border to a land of a thousand and one borders.
The maps are subsequently copied and documented in form of miniature watercolours, information is diluted due to the nature of the medium and format, and they are reduced to their graphical value, to their sign. With no mention of their origins, they come together in the same temporality, that of the imaginary.
Each map, seen on its own, has its context and supports a specific political agenda. Seen together, stripped of their context, they illustrate a territory that is a petri dish for projections and a cutting mat for shifting borders.
The maps can be categorized into different series, composed of different variations. In association they create sets of contradictions and tautologies. The only element they all seem to be consistent about, is that the Dead Sea is shrinking and the lowest point on earth is getting deeper.