Capturing Palestine: Witnessing and Storytelling with Michael Kennedy
UnionDocs (322 Union Ave., Brooklyn)
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Since late 2009, the West Bank village of Iraq Burin has been subject to land theft and increasing violence from the Israeli military and neighboring settlement of Bracha. In March 2010, the Israeli military entered the village and shot two teenage boys in the street. Counter to Israeli claims that no live ammunition was used, a U.N. report was issued on the incident containing three post-mortem photographs of entry and exit wounds on the boys’ bodies. Excluded from this report and other journalistic accounts is another image: dried blood in the street where the boys fell that spelled “Mohammed.”
Can the photographer, researcher, artist, journalist, human rights worker or activist meet the demands of objectivity and proof required in the documentation of rights abuses and still take the miraculous seriously?
On Iraq Burin consists of 22 large format photographs accompanied by entries from Kennedy’s notebooks recounting demonstrations, settler violence, detention and stories told in the village of the boys’ murder. The form of the notebook is explored here as a genre of writing, driven by the unfinished thoughts and observations purged from (scholarly, legal, journalistic) writings that find their efficacy in objectivity. Photographs of landscape, home interiors, objects referenced in the reports, and the notebooks themselves are sutured to the text to make a sort of half document, quasi record, semi proof of things – not? – encountered.