Cite: Ball, Towards a Visual Politics of ‘Touch’ at the Israeli-Palestinian Border

Ball, Anna. “Impossible Intimacies: Towards a Visual Politics of ‘Touch’ at the Israeli-Palestinian Border.” Journal for Cultural Research 16.2-3 (2012): 175-195. [Special Issue: Arab Cultural Studies]




The West Bank Wall (or ‘Separation Fence’) constructed by Israel along much of its border with the occupied West Bank offers a potent visual signifier of the divisive, restrictive and intrusive ways in which the Israeli occupation touches the everyday lives of Palestinians. Consequently, the Wall has become a prominent site of representational concern in Arab visual culture. This article examines two particular visual representations of the Israeli-Palestinian border, Mona Hatoum’s sculpture ‘Grater Divide’ and Simone Bitton’s film Wall, in order to explore the complex politics of encounter and representation that circulate around the border in these works. In doing so, it seeks to establish a broader understanding of the ways in which discursive and cultural boundaries might be negotiated and crossed in the service of an interdisciplinary model of Arab cultural studies.

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