A living environment is a defined terrain where actual and imaginative perceptions are mutually experienced. The current flow of global information intensifies the simultaneous sense of personal space, and images serve as its geographic and emotional expansions. This kind of amalgamation narrows the distances between the self and the other to a point where remote events become part of the private reality. The universal language of visual photographs coupled with their electronic distribution creates a swift cross-territorial tide which transforms the traditional formation of identities.
Human feelings are based upon interpretations that originate from our culture, tradition, familial background, communal surroundings and political affinities. The existential aspect of cross-territorial visual discourse does not come down to a mere declaration of mutual awareness. It directs the self, in a crucial and concrete manner, toward the other and embodies tensions, conflicts, expectations and a cultural oscillation between tangible and envisioned realities.
Certain conflicts embody significant life and personal implications, and reflect universal changes of the perception of sovereignty. The longstanding ongoing armed conflict in Israel and its explosive potentials signify the recent global tensions and are closely monitored by the media, combat and propaganda agents. Implicit in this friction are layers of West and East, Third and First Worlds, Developed or Developing States and religious sensibilities that are locked within a volatile nucleus which defies classifications of center and margins and contains complex personal, social, political and cultural charge.
A state of superimposition casts its auspices on every personal or communal particularity and compels upon it an exterior feature of identity. Territoriality and borders in Israel keep changing and bind its members to an odd sense of otherness: Israeli or Palestinian, Modern and Historic, Rich and Poor, Moderate and Extreme, Traditional and Secular, Creative and Destructive, Historic or Futuristic, Refugee, Resident, Immigrant, Survivor or Illegal, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Druze or Samaritan.
This multi-edged actuality forms a paradoxical Meta Territorial entity, an imagined but real third space that is not subordinated by any kind of particularity and bears in each self an alien sense of otherness. What is repressed by polarity may become articulated by an intricate gaze that reveals a human condition concealed within the Meta Space. An imaginative documentary talent can capture the concrete but undefined present by summoning history and the future compounded within it. The evasive embodiment of taboos, ethics and emotions in the Meta territory create an eye to eye glance between protagonists from contradicting cultures, resolve and values. They present a critical point of otherness but perform an inventive passage of barriers.
Photography is the ultimate tool that can capture meaningful frames out of the rapid flow of crucial events in Israel. Valuable photographic inscriptions are a result of meticulous witnessing by photojournalist and documenters and their personal involvement. Dedicated in situ documentation is intended to draw meaningful stories and can turn dangerous. Culturally valuable documentation is created when the photographer rises above the casual reporting of news to create a sensitive, poetic and thoughtful portrayal of life real fictions.
Documenters in Israel and Palestine: Arabs, Jews and foreign photographers, participate in an active search for genuine circumstances of manifestations of the psychic, body and territory that represent a local third space condition. The means of communication embody these Meta Space qualities by dissolving territorial partitions and borders. World wide digital distribution, shared news agencies assignments and documentary stories assimilate current documentation capability with Meta local actuality.
Documentary testimony has become a cultural source for different artistic expressions in Israel. By deepening its representation of the Meta Space contemporary Israeli films, literature, video art and photography gained universal meaning and world recognition. Photographed stories and still images are an important critical source which echoes the expressive depth of a vibrant culture. They illustrate the vicissitudes of fate by critically inscribing the individual state of affairs and play a significant role by infusing essential meaning into the landscape of memory and forgetfulness.
(by Ami Steinitz)