Becoming Citizens: A Conversation with Bisan Abu Eisheh and Alex Bookbinder

Bisan Abu Eisheh; Screenshot from video Victory Land, 2008
Bisan Abu Eisheh for Radio Materiality, Vessel 2013

As part of the Dreamed Native Ancestry [DNA] programme, this conversation between artist Bisan Abu Eisheh and independent journalist and researcher Alex Bookbinder explores mobility and migration seen simultaneously from affective, political and legal points of view.

While reflecting on how these dimensions affect journeys and attempts to cross borders, this dialogue unravels some urgent questions: what is the social and political agency of migration? And how can it go beyond bureaucratic and legal frameworks of visibility and representation? Can we understand migration through the lens of what Sandro Mezzadra refers to as ‘the gaze of autonomy’, which implies “looking at migratory movements and conflicts in terms that prioritise the subjective practices, the desires, the expectations, and the behaviours of migrants themselves.”
A performance by sound artists Dubmorphology will follow the talk (from approximately 4pm), during which visitors are free to come and go as they please.
Listen back!
The event forms part of Dreamed Native Ancestry (DNA), an installation and programme critically addressing and re-thinking contemporary issues around race, migration, biopolitics and culture, through an Afrofuturist science fiction narrative and deep history perspective.
This event is free and open to all, although we recommend reserving a place here.
Born in Jerusalem in 1985, Bisan Abu Eisheh is a Palestinian artist living and working between Jerusalem and Glasgow. He uses art as a tool to investigate history, society and politics. Working across media, such as video, installations and interventions, with a practice situated both within the gallery space and the public sphere, his work attempts to create a sort of shared awareness for himself as well as his audience about several details lost within grand narratives. Researching through different resources, from conversations and oral testimonies to archives and collected objects he tries to challenge the aesthetics of his artworks in order to bring some facts under the eyes of his viewers. By doing so, his works often aspire to open a dialogue and, perhaps, seek answers related to several topics such as national identity, mobility, migration and socio-political injustice.
Abu Eisheh believes that such complex topics often require fragmenting the work into several phases of exploration and experimentation, which eventually leads to the final outcome. He values process as much as production and therefore endeavours to share these processes publicly at various stages before reaching the final project outcome. For his PhD research, Abu Eisheh is investigating how the political situation resulted by the signing of the Oslo Agreement, between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Israeli State, affected on the roles of Palestinian politicises art practices within the Palestinian context.
Alex Bookbinder is an independent journalist and researcher focused on Myanmar and Southeast Asia. Based in London, he lived and worked in Myanmar from 2012-2016. He has worked with Rohingya communities both in Myanmar and in exile for many years, and has conducted extensive research on Rohingya migration and human trafficking. In 2014, his work on Buddhist nationalism in Myanmar won the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) Award for Human Rights Reporting.
Find out more via his website: