The 13th annual Brakhage Center Symposium will exhibit Kissing Point (Revisited) by video artist Peggy Ahwesh, featuring two distinct videos that together create a friction of both style and concept at the ATLAS Center's Black Box Experimental Studio on March 11 and 12. The exhibit features two distinct videos that together create a friction of both style and concept.
"Kissing point" is a little-known concept used to articulate the geographic junctures where the two territories of Israel and Palestine make contact or overlap, indicating points of geopolitical contention.
"Erotic undertones flavor the meaning of the term [kissing point], offering the potential of interaction and a flirtation with 'the other,' giving these junctures a psychological dynamic and more than a bit of ironic interplay," Ahwesh says.
The title piece "Kissing Point" is a 15-minute split-screen video that pairs footage from inside and around West Bank tunnels with an Israeli bypass road and its environs.
Shot during the early hours of the morning, the camera methodically snakes through these aseptic, nearly empty spaces, sometimes forced to stop and double back because of roadblocks or other physical limitations.
Shot mostly at night, street scenes of shopping and men at work are situated as part of the bewildering network of void zones and semi-porous borders that make up this landscape.
Ahwesh commented on the piece: "The nighttime skies and landscapes on the physical and political edges of the territory are empty, haunted, and surreal . . . one’s expansive sense of wanderlust is controlled by the limitations of division . . ."
The second video, titled "Lessons of War," is presented on monitors and details several episodes from the Israeli-Gaza conflict of 2014.
The video footage is lifted from a YouTube channel that renders the news in animation—fantastic, imaginative and several protective layers away from reality—which Ahwesh re-purposed to comment on society's short memories, the reductive narrative of the news and the uneasy detachment one has from distant violence.
The exhibit is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, and Sunday, March 12.