Photography and Archeology as Looting


Wednesday, November 15, 7pm

Inspired by Michal Baror’s exhibition, “Looters,” the CCA presents a panel discussion on colonialism and anti-colonialism in photography and archeology. These two fields – photography and archeology – are very different, but they share the act of taking. Taking can be interpreted as theft or looting, or as an act of protest that enables a new reading of the (excavated or photographed) object.

Yonatan Mizrahi will outline the influence that the West has on antiquities robbery and Israel’s part in antiquities trade in general and in looting in particular. He will outline the interests of the Western world in allowing the trade and robbery of antiquities as well as Israel’s interests, as the only country in the Middle East that allows trading antiquities.

Elinor Darzi will examine the connection between the photograph and the archeological object through the act of taking common to both. As opposed to considering empirical evidence and science, she will ask what taking doesn’t allow or perhaps what it leaves behind.

Muhammad Jabali will outline two cases of photographic re-appropriation by Palestinian youth who made two photographs the top Google image search results when querying historical incidents. The incidents were never actually captured on camera, and the images found on Google were never intended to represent them. Paralleling photographic appropriation to looting, Jabali will offer another way of understanding the reuse of these images not simply as a way of filling in for lost or stolen Palestinian archives, but rather to put in question the fundamental notion of the modern archive and of photography as evidence.

The panel will be held in Hebrew and will be moderated by journalist Janan Bsoul.

About the Speakers:

Yonatan Mizrachi is the Founder and Executive Director of Emek Shaveh, an NGO that defends cultural heritage rights and protects ancient sites as public assets. He studied archaeology at the Hebrew University and has worked as an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority in East and West Jerusalem. In 2006, he published “People of the Wall,” a book about his experiences as an archaeological supervisor along the separation barrier as it was being built in and around Jerusalem (Pardes Press). Over the last decade Mizrachi has been writing about archeology’s place in Israeli society and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Elinore Darzi is a graduate student in the Department of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University. She researches phenomenology, the philosophy of language, photography, and continental philosophy.

Muhammad Jabali is an artist, writer, researcher, website SEO expert, and DJ. He also teaches Post-Internet art theories in Bezalel Academy of Art and Design’s photography department.

Janan Bsoul is a reporter, formerly with The Marker and Haaretz newspapers. She holds a BA in English literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her writing has appeared in numerous online publications such as TimeOut and I24 News.

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