Michael Baers

Representing Staging and Staging Representation: representations of Palestinians in the Post-’48 context and facilitating their counter-representations


My contribution to a show last year in East Jerusalem entitled “The Other Shadow of the City” (various venues) was to distribute 500 shopping bags to markets in East Jerusalem where they were sold for a nominal fee. Foto: Christine Würmell
My proposal involves a praxis-based experiment in collective narrative/documentary construction within the context of the Occupied Territories of the West Bank of Palestine, and an historical investigation of representations of and in the region. This work draws on my established practice as a producer of comic books, but will not be limited to that specific media. Publication works, video, web-based research/archival works, and installation-based work also figure, either as preparatory studies or autonomous works. Theoretical texts for publication will also be employed with a similar understanding of their relationship to the main project—as one area in a constellation of practices and projects.
This proposal is not based exclusively on artistic practice. Rather, it is conceived as the outcome of a sustained dialogical engagement in different pedagogical and discursive settings. Thus pedagogy serves as the primary locus for my interaction with the arts community of the West Bank—grounding my activities within established institutional frameworks—as well as providing a means of generating material collaboratively.
A textual component will offer an account of my experience and the theoretical implications—ethical, political, and sociological— of the project’s pedagogical and collaborative components, drawing on discourses such as ethnography, postcolonial studies, ethics, historiography, post-Marxism, and film/media studies. Doing so frames my project within specific disciplinary discourses while also providing a set of hermeneutic tools. Prior models of art production where artists have worked in a situation of solidarity in general and colonial struggle in particular will be one special area of historical research.
Michael Baers was raised on Oahu in the Hawaiian Island chain, and attended art schools in California before relocating to Berlin in 2003. In 2004 he began to produce comics of a discursive nature. This has become his main mode of artistic production, although he still occasionally writes essays and produces installation-based works.