Al Jaar Qabla al Daar (The Neighbor before the House, Jerusalem, 2009–11): Screening and Discussion with Shaina Anand and Ashok Sukumaran

The Neighbor before the House is a series of video probes by CAMP (Shaina Anand, Ashok Sukumaran, and Nida Ghouse, with Mahmoud Jiddah, Shereen Barakat, and Mahasen Nasser-Eldin) into the landscape of East Jerusalem. Shot with a PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) security camera, these images show that before and after instrumental “surveillance” there is inquisitiveness, jest, memory, desire, and doubt that pervade the project of watching. Often the image leads the commentary. At other times, narrative spills out first and the live camera operator seeks an image that might provide evidence. Palestinian residents evaluate what they see, and reflect on the nature of their distance from others. They observe nearby archeological digs, their homes, the West Bank barrier, both near and far settlement activity, and other seemingly mundane aspects of the relentless occupation of East Jerusalem. The project unfolded over a month in neighborhoods and homes in the Old City, Sheikh Jarrah, and Silwan, and in other areas of Greater Jerusalem, including Beit Hanina and Azariyah. The project stems from earlier work by CAMP and Shaina Anand around critical documentary, participation, and surveillance systems.

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