Ahdaf Soueif on the guardian

"Leaning against padded walls in a darkened room we eavesdrop on an argument: "the elite think they can get independence without resistance - by collaboration -"
"What's wrong with being normal? Normality as a form of resistance -"

"What is normal?"

"You know, sometimes I forget that we're under occupation . . ."

Last week I heard the same phrases in Ramallah. Today, we're listening to them at the Venice biennale, in Ramallah Syndrome, a project by Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti.

Three biennales ago, in 2003, Bethlehem-born Hilal and her husband, Petti, provided the exhibition with Stateless Nation: a number of giant passports that you came upon, one by one, in the pavilions of different states. The passports were issued by different authorities, but the bearer's place of birth was always Palestine. Now I'm struck by the converse: the number of people born in different parts of the world who identify themselves and act as Palestinians. And this year the Palestinians have - well, not a pavilion, but a space of their own. As one of the 44 "Collateral Events" of the 53rd biennale, they are housed - courtesy of the City of Venice - in the former Convento dei Santi Cosma e Damiano"

for the all article http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2009/jun/13/art-theatre

Marisa Mazria-Katz on the economist

"Ramallah Syndrome", the installation consists of a padded cell in which visitors sit in darkness and listen to a soundtrack. For about ten minutes, the sounds of beating hearts mix with tractor hums, and heavily accented voices proclaim in English: “We are imagining stability… sometimes I forget there is an occupation…if you just go North, South, wherever there is a checkpoint…reality says we are under occupation...we absolutely need to be one people.”

“There is a massive over-exposure of images of Palestine,” says Petti. “And because of all these images you cannot hear anything. So we decided to produce something that is more linked to the people, which is interesting, crucial, and also self-critical. We are asking those who only know the news to listen to everyday life here.”

for the all article http://www.moreintelligentlife.com/content/marisa-mazria-katz/stateless-nation-palestine-venice-biennale


In Palestine c/o Venice, special mention goes to Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti for their remarkable sound installation Ramallah Syndrome. Rarely do sound installations make any sense of their spatial dimensions but this work demands that you enter a small, dark room, so that once you close the door, your eyes adjust and you feel the sense of enclosure, being surrounded by grey walls and overwhelmed by the voices and sounds that are expertly mixed into a complex and uncompromising soundtrack of occupation. The piece shifts with great linguistic dexterity between notions of normal, normality, normalcy and normalization, and mulls over the political implications of them all.


Ramallah syndrome sound installation at the Jerusalem Show III