Hochberg, Gil Z. Visual Occupations: Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone, Perverse Modernities. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2015.
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.
Gil Z. Hochberg is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Gender Studies at UCLA. She is the author of In Spite of Partition: Jews, Arabs and the Limits of Separatist Imagination.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Visual Politics at a Conflict Zone 1
Part I. Concealment
1. Visible Invisibility: On Ruins, Erasure, and Haunting 37
2. From Invisible Spectators to the Spectacle of Terror: Chronicles of a Contested Citizenship 57
Part II. Surveillance
3. The (Soldier’s) Gaze and the (Palestinian) Body: Power, Fantasy, and Desire in the Militarized Contact Zone 79
4. Visual Rights and the Prospect of Exchange: The Photographic Event Placed under Duress 97
Part III. Witnessing
5. “Nothing to Look At”; or, “For Whom Are You Shooting?”: The Imperative to Witness and the Menace of the Global Gaze 115
6. Shooting War: On Witnessing One’s Failure to See (on Time) 139
Closing Words 163