“On Fareed Armaly’s Documenta 11 work.”

Published as part of the newspaper series: My Favorite Documenta work


Fareed Armaly’s contribution for the documenta 11 is significant in relation to both subject as well as strategy of the goal suggested by the documenta11 platforms. As their aim was to initiate a dialog between different locations, Armaly represents one of the few artists who respond to that within the Kassel reality. The floor drawing which connects various names of places refers to that dialog between places. At the same time, it suggests a problematic field where it is difficult to find a position because the knowledge of place as well of history are insufficient. On the one hand, Armaly includes a relevant position from Ramallah by inviting filmmaker Rashid Masharawi, on the other hand, he points to a map which for many still represents a “terra incognita,” a fictitious map. The architectural space has been fabricated via media correspondences—as it is the case in reality, where the contested space of Israel-Palestine is produced by the media in order to submerge real space. A website, films, videos, photographs, maps and wall texts are being used as media in order to represent various perspectives on the mass media representation of the problematic territory. This is being illuminated by the function of diasporic space and the role of representative media politics in relation to Palestinian refugees. Armaly thus establishes a perspective between real geography and Stuart Hall’s notion of “routes converted to roots.” By applying media platforms in a distinct manner he manages to render a distinct image of the problematic field Israel-Palestine without taking an ideological position. The onlooker is not forced into empathy, he/she is invited to judge and employ options and informations which are being offered by real and media spaces, as well as they can navigate through the “routes” to the “roots” of the conflict field. Through its critical position of representation politics as well as through its broad unfolding media perspective, Fareed Armaly’s work represents a contemporary production which actually belongs to the twenty-first century, which is thought through and engaged in relation to issues of post-colonialism, multi-culturalism, migration and the related “politics of dispossession”—and which suggests on which issues a future documenta could be founded.

Peter Weibel (Director ZKM, Karlsruhe).