One Map, Multiple Legends
Exposing Military Spatial Narratives in the Israeli Desert
This paper investigates the blurred borders between civilian and military ways of envisioning, experiencing and mediating space in the context of Israel political geography. It does so by way of a close reading of Detroit, a short video work by Amir Yatziv where the construction plans of an urban combat training facility in the Israeli desert are the focus of attention (2009). Taking Detroitas a point of departure, I will present a number of works of art that address the phenomenon in which a military-inflected construction of space yields material and cognitive consequences, naturalising the military’s status as the guiding principle of daily life. Within this sub-genre of critical city- and landscape imagery in Israeli art, Yatziv’s work stands out as it turns the focus from the land itself towards its mediation. This approach, I argue, is highly productive for critical anti-military visual projects, as it directs attention towards those who code and decode urban military landscapes, and highlights the fact that while the borders between military and civilian mediations of space may be blurred, they are not lost just yet.
Social geography; critical cartography; Israeli art; militarism, Israel-Palestine; simulacrum, maps and mapping.
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