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A Prologue to the Past and Present State of Things

Crossing Surda (a record of going to and from work): Emily Jacir

009_00 / 2 July 2015

Crossing Surda (a record of going to and from work)


Video, 30 mins


On December 9, 2002, I decided to record my daily walk to work across the Surda checkpoint to Birzeit University. When the Israeli Occupation Army saw me filming my feet with my video camera, they stopped me and asked for my I.D. I gave them my American passport, and they threw it in the mud. They told me that this was "Israel," that it was a military zone, and that no filming was allowed. They detained me at gunpoint in the winter rain next to their tank. After three hours, they confiscated my videotape and then released me. I watched the soldier slip my videotape into the pocket of his army pants. That night when I returned home, I cut a hole in my bag and put my video camera in the bag. I recorded my daily walk across Surda checkpoint, to and from work, for eight days.



Emily Jacir (b. 1970, lives and works around the Mediterranean). Emily Jacir's work spans a diverse range of media and strategies including film, photography, social interventions, installation, performance, video, writing and sound.


Solo exhibitions include Whitechapel Gallery, London (2015), Darat al Funun, Amman (2014-15), Beirut Art Center (2010), Guggenheim Museum, New York (2009), and Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen (2008). Jacir participated in dOCUMENTA (13) (2012); the 51st (2005), 52nd (2007), and 53rd (2009) Biennale di Venezia; 15th Biennale of Sydney (2006); Sharjah Biennial 7 (2005); and the 8th Istanbul Biennial (2003).

Chapters in this series