Lines, Legal Voids and Anomic States

Francis Alÿs and The Green Line (2007)

Commissioned essay by Nicola Perugini, 2011

This article is part of a work in progress, which started in 2010 with an enquiry into the relationship between law, spatial practices, and colonialism in Israel/Palestine. That research continued within the framework of a collective work with DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency), resulting in exhibitions and articles on the extraterritorial spaces produced by Israeli spatial and legal regimes in Palestine. The main objective of that research questioned the foundations of the Israeli colonial sovereignty. This meant examining a sort of grey zone – the foundational grey zone– constituted by the lines of separation and control that cut across Palestinian spaces of life and regulate the life and the death of the colonised. In my previous research, the extraterritorial space of the thickness of the line – geopolitical lines such as the Green Line, the Oslo Agreement lines, the Jerusalem line – had been made to emerge as the last unlegislated corner of Palestine. In this essay I look for a space of theoretical and practical welding between legal and spatial indefiniteness, conceived as the locus of ambiguity through which power can be understood, challenged and ruptured.