By Rebecca Garrett
Part of THE OLIVE PROJECT: TWO MINUTES FOR PEACE & JUSTICE
The Hard Pressed Collective and Charles Street Video present: THE OLIVE PROJECT: TWO MINUTES FOR PEACE & JUSTICE
A program and website featuring original videos from around the world, The Olive Projects’ two minute videos premiered on October 12th, 2003, at the TRANZ <—> TECH: Toronto International Media Art Biennial at the Latvian House, 491 College St. West. Information: www.tranztech.ca
Since the second Intifada in Palestine and Israel, the olive harvest in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has been disrupted by violence, with Israeli military and settlers preventing Palestinian farmers from bringing in the crop.
Since 1967, more than 200,000 olive trees have been uprooted from Palestinian land by Israeli forces. This has prompted a campaign by hundreds of international and Israeli volunteers to provide protection for Palestinian olive farmers, to help them harvest their crop, and prevent theft and destruction by settlers. The Olive Project: Two Minutes for Peace and Justice is a video contribution to this effort.
Producers from around the world responded to a call to make two-minute videos in solidarity with the Palestinian olive harvest. They could take any angle and draw on any style or approach, but the works had to feature olives, olive trees or olive products. Melding brevity with impact, these veteran artists and first-time videomakers have produced pieces that span the range from documentary to experimentalism, earnestness to irony, wistfulness to militancy, all creative, all olivy.
To launch the Olive Project tapes and website, the Hard Pressed Collective presented a live conversation with An-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine. Participants in Toronto and Nablus discussed the possibilities for solidarity through art: Can political works be effective in and with differing contexts and audiences? The live video conference was moderated in Toronto by Jayce Salloum and b. h. Yael, with Hanadi Loubani.
What specific elements must artists and activists attend to differently in Palestine and Canada? How can one balance the imperatives of politics and art? Does art do politics differently?
The programs include videos by: Patrick Abboud (Australia); Jessica Allee, Shane Flores, Wago Kreider (USA); Omid Arabian (USA), Katinka Bock (France), Stephanie Bouvier (France), Michael Cousin (Wales), Ellen Flander (Canada); Kathryn Haddad (USA); Jamelie Hassan (Canada); Jennifer Jajeh and Huha Araj (USA); Kloie Picot and Muthana Al Qadi (Palestine); Video 48 & Meister (Israel); Kathy Wazana (Canada)
Hard Pressed members Rebecca Garrett, John Greyson,and b.h. Yael also produced videos for this project.
The Hard Pressed Collective is a group of video artists working in support of a just peace in Israel/Palestine. Members include: Riad Bahhur, Richard Fung,Rebecca Garrett, John Greyson, Jayce Salloum, and b.h. Yael. The Olive Project coordinator at Charles Street Video is Greg Woodbury.
The Olive Project gratefully acknowledges the support of Salah Bachir.
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