The installation Qalandia 2087 (2009) is the third in a series of future projections of Qalandia military checkpoint and refugee camp. Established in 1949, the Qalandia camp is home to over 10,000 Palestinian refugees. Qalandia checkpoint, one of the largest Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank, over the years has become increasingly high-tech and when the Israeli army closes it, Palestinians can neither enter nor leave Ramallah. Ironically, until 1967 Qalandia used to be the site of Jerusalem airport.
2087, the year in the title, marks one hundred years of the first Intifada, whilst the first two installations in the series, Qalandia 2047 (2006) and Qalandia 2067 (2008), created projections of two equally important anniversaries; one hundred years after the 1948 Palestinian exodus, also known as 'al Nakba', or 'catastrophe', and one hundred years after the Arab-Israeli Six Day War, which resulted in the occupation of the West Bank.
Unlike the first two versions of the work, in which the occupation was still palpable, in Hourani's projection of Qalandia in 2087 there is no longer a checkpoint or the wall. With its minute details of daily life in the city that has in the meantime grown beyond the refugee camp, the work shows the ways in which the camp and the checkpoint become integrated into people's perceptions as something to be loathed, but at the same time improved. Nevertheless, in projecting itself into the future without the occupation, it creates a new imaginary that goes beyond perpetuating the grim reality of today.
Istanbul Biennale 11 - Curator: WHW
Wafa Hourani - Palestinian Artist - Photography - Installation - Science Fiction
The Historical Timeline of Qalandia 1948 - 2087
Israelis took over Palestine and ethnically cleansed hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages. Palestinian refugees were forced to settle in many refugee camps in the surrounding region. Qalandia camp was located in a piece of land between north Jerusalem and south Ramallah, becoming home to thousands of refugees. Qalandia was named after a nearby airport with the same name.)
The Israelis occupied the rest of Palestine, and Qalandia airport became a remote military zone, except that it was located at the entrance of Ramallah, where many visitors from Jerusalem passed.
The first Intifada erupted, and the airport became a confrontation line between Qalandia's residents and Israeli soldiers.
The second Intifada broke out. The Israelis built a massive checkpoint next to the airport that overshadows the refugee camp. Qalandia checkpoint became the main crossing between northern and southern Palestine.
The Israelis built the notorious Apartheid Wall to isolate the Palestinian population in the occupied West Bank. Qalandia became even more isolated by giant concrete blocks from its surroundings.
Yasser Arafat, known to be an icon of the Palestinian national liberation struggle, died in a hospital in France, and the Palestinian people were to fill the void he left behind.
A Palestinian from the camp by the name of Abu Jamil missed the sea and the fish so much, he dug a pool beside his home and brought a goldfish to swim in it. People in the camp say that Abu Jamil brought us the sea. The fish loved the camp so much, it got used to the people visiting her laying in the sun and having barbecues by its pond.
Soon Abu Jamil's goldfish became a local attraction for the refugees.
After many years of living in what became an overcrowded open-air prison, the Palestinian Mirror Party (PMP) decided to cover the wall with mirrors to create the illusion of more space and seeing their reflection everywhere. They begin to wonder how they got in there.
Qalandia School changed its name to Impossible School.
And the students closed the basketball rings; no goals in the game.
An Israeli tourism company built a discothèque bar with an aquarium and one goldfish, near the checkpoint. They called it Checkpoint Bar to encourage trippy, political tourism.
Palestine made the Guinness Book of World Records for the biggest mirror in the world. It attracted many tourists from around the world to come and visit Palestine.
Searches at the checkpoint changed from palm scanning to an audiovisual-check; you look into the blue light and say: Weehaa!
The Israelis fixed laser lights on holes in the wall to tighten security. The Palestinians were furious as the holes were meant to remove the WALL not fix laser points in it.
The gold fish died. All the camp grieved and said: “The fish died, the sea died.” They took out the water and buried the fish and called it the Fish Tomb. The visits then changed from picnics, singing and dancing to a Martyr’s memorial, where flowers were laid by the grave and silence kept
The Palestinians start talking about the revolution again. They built the Stone Garden to commemorate 50 years since the first popular Intifada in 1987.
The Palestinians improved their economic situation after a complete boycott of Israeli products. This prompted many investors to move from Dubai to Ramallah.
The Palestinians built a garden in the camp and called it the Flower Garden. It became a romantic meeting point for young and old lovers from the camp.
Students at Qalandia School opened their basketball rings, but they made them very wide.
Palestinians refuse to say Weeha while they pass the checkpoint.
The Israeli government shut down the Mirror Party offices in Jerusalem as the police launch a campaign against anyone possessing a mirror.
The Israeli company for tourism changed the golden fish in the Checkpoint Bar to shark fish to make it more adventurous for the tourists.
The Mirror Party reopened their office in Jerusalem.
Palestinians use the mirrors on the wall as an electric power plant.
Three candidates from the Mirror Party won seats in the Israeli parliament.
The Mirror Party celebrated their 50th Anniversary by creating The Mirror Garden, a garden with a big hand mirror where people can look at themselves, while removing the laser lights from the Wall after the International Criminal Court ruled in their favor.
Students at Qalandia School made their basketball rings smaller to match the size of the ball exactly, for more precise aims.
Cinema Dunia reopened along with the Qala Modern--the first modern museum in Qalandia.
Someone from Jerusalem buys the Checkpoint Bar from the Israeli tourism company that owns it and converts it to AL Ajami Restaurant - Bar, featuring five goldfish in the aquarium.
The new Israeli government removed Qalandia checkpoint. The Palestinians kept the microphone left behind, and changed the checkpoint to an open mic platform; a free speech area where people can say or sing whatever they like.
A hundred years after the first Intifada, Qalandia residents celebrate in the Stone Garden after the Mirror Party's historic agreement was signed with the new Israeli government, which gave Palestinians the 1967 lands (the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem) along with the right of return for all refugees.
They remove the cement from the wall and fix mirrors on the other side. For some, it becomes known as the Mirror Wall, while I call it Maya Wall.
Wafa Hourani - Photolife - 2009