Art project tears down borders

‘Exterritory’ explores alternatives to violence.

Exterritory (photo credit: Roy Yellin)
(photo credit: Roy Yellin)
With video art and live performances aboard a boat “somewhere in the Mediterranean,” a project calling itself Exterritory hopes to inspire a new mode of thinking about territorial borders.
An international art project created in response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Exterritory is planning performances in international waters outside Israel from June 17 to 21, with stops in Cyprus and Turkey. The performances will be documented and posted on the project’s Web site.
Two dozen people from around the globe will be performing, and some 30 artists from around the world will be exhibiting their work.
“Our mission is to create a platform to explore, discuss and exhibit art and knowledge that deal with the concept of ex-territory – freedom from national boundaries and identities – and to create the first non-territorial museum which is a center for thought about a nationality or lack of nationality, and the concept of territory home in peoples minds,” Roy Yellin, an Israeli spokesman for the project, told The Jerusalem Post.
Yellin added that the recent flotilla fracas in territorial waters outside Israel had underlined the need for alternative approaches to the concept of territory.
“The recent devastating events stress the need to explore the concept of ex-territory,” he said . “Our goal is to create a discourse which will transcend the concept of borders and violent conflicts that are the direct outcome of territorial boundaries. Both the flotilla to Gaza, and Israeli reaction to it, acted within the paradigm of territorial borders. We suggest an altogether new paradigm for thought and action.”
The project will include artistic works presented through “boat choreography,” floater-view art and messages in bottles.
The idea for the project came when Israeli artists Maayan Amir and Ruti Sela began seeking a place to screen a film called Wild West that was compiled with Palestinian and Israeli video clips. They wanted to show it in a neutral zone, without national identities.
They decided upon extraterritorial waters, 11 kilometers from shore.
Exterritory described itself as a non-profit organization that relies on a variety of donors, but declined to elaborate. It wanted to bring together artists from conflict areas, but believed this type of meeting would have been prohibited by the authorities. Instead, they settled upon a new location at sea.
“The was goal to create a place possible for a mass participation,” said Yellin. “We don’t have financial means to do it now, but this is our dream.