18th September - 18th December, Thessaloniki
Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh studied history, photography and visual anthropology in Paris. In 2006, she moved to Burj al-Shamali, a refugee camp established in 1956 and located just south of the port city of Tyre, Lebanon, where she lived until 2011. In Burj al-Shamali she carried out a photographic project with a group of young Palestinians, as well as archival work on family and studio photographs and began a personal still ongoing research on vernacular visual cultures and on artistic gestures including dialogical approaches. Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh is a member of the Arab Image Foundation since 2008.
Through a practice of immersion and the creation of what I call ‘collective creativity’ based on an exchange of knowledge and experiences, my work is linked to a situation, time and people or, to be more precise, to the creation of a situation resulting from the relationship to people established over a given period of time.
Although my intentions are clear and laid out from the beginning I leave the evolvement of these situations, which demand an intimacy grounded in a mutual confidence, to its natural process of unfolding. In the context of Burj al-Shamali camp, a Palestinian refugee camp southeast of Tyr in Lebanon, I, through my immersion, aimed at examining people’s relation to photography in the specific context of its production, perception and usage. Through the development of an intense interaction with people within the conservative and suspicious micro-society of the camp, my comprehension of images merges with that of my counterparts in what I have initially defined a “photographic conversation”, a reciprocal relationship between people, with myself and photography as a mediator, which talks and is talked about.
However, this substantial dialogue cannot be reduced to the exchange of ideas, thoughts, stories, facts, beliefs, convictions, principles or values but is also a transformative process that ideally leads all parties involved on a path of reconsideration, creatively challenging individual dispositions and negotiating them in relation to each other. Considering this process of transformation itself as the essence and motor of an artistic research, I have come to wonder how tangible the gesture of immersion as an artistic practice really is?
The performance Re-immersion (working-title) is a presentation of slightly modified “raw material” collected in the past five years while living and working in Burj al-Shamali camp. During the performance, questions concerning the narrative and representational limits of photographs, as well as questions related to the public nature and visibility of photographs in the context of the conservative microcosm of the refugee camp, will be tackled.
Yasmine Eid Sabbagh