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'21st Century: Art in the First Decade' is an exhibition, publication, blog and series of public programs at the Queensland Art Gallery l Gallery of Modern Art that explore the art of the past ten years. As an expanded platform for the exhibition, the '21st Century Blog' functions as a source book of reference material and contributions provided by artists, curators and writers. Read more

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2006.116a-b_002_part b

Emily Jacir | Where we come from (Habib) 2001–03 | Laser print on paper; Type C photograph on paper mounted on cintra | Laser print: 22.2 x 28.6 x 2.5cm (framed); Type C photograph: 30.5 x 22.9 x 2cm | Purchased 2006 | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

…the terrain between text and photograph, description and realisation, represents an unbridgeable chasm, an impossibility on which a complex of desire is built.

Where We Come From, like much of Emily Jacir’s work, concerns the (im)possibility of movement, rather than the plausibility of sitedness. Its locus — Where We Come From — can only be imagined, not physically occupied. It is the forbidden center around which exiles perpetually revolve. Yet, movement too — whether in terms of migration, exchange, travel, or translation — is profoundly troubled in this work, even while often desired. Viewers face a project that is first of all divided between text panels and photographs. But how to get from one to the other? The visual transition from language to image seems simple enough. A mere shift of the eyes will do. And the descriptions involve things we often take for granted: visiting one’s mother, eating food in a restaurant, playing soccer. Yet it is just this translation, written out in clear language and then realised photographically, that for many is insurmountable. Getting from written description to photographic actualisation can be easy enough for some, like Jacir, who have American passports. But for other unfortunates caught up in the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has been raging since 1948, when so many were exiled from their land, the terrain between text and photograph, description and realisation, represents an unbridgeable chasm, an impossibility on which a complex of desire is built. The piece operates, it would seem, by fulfilling desire. But whose desire?”

TJ Demos ‘Desire in Diaspora: Emily Jacir’ in art journal, Winter 2003, pp.68-78

Categories: Artist, Writing

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