From/To is a cartography in which participants chart out and inscribe a contemporary topos: ‘Palestine’. The project works with fields such as anthropology, cinema, geography, history, and photography, moving through turn-of-the-century postcards to new Palestinian cinema, video, workshop space, computer on-line links, texts, film storyboards, talks, a weekly fax journal, Palestinian university projects, and spatial analysis. Participants from various nationalities based in different countries range from women’s organizations in refugee camps to current independent film and videomakers.

In From/To, space is introduced through an open weave of perspectives, approaches, and locations drawn from narratives of identity. This reflects characteristics of discourse associated with Palestinian issues of post-’48 identity. All of this grounds From/To in a concrete reality that reflects sociologist Stuart Hall’s recent statements on diasporic identity: The history depends on the routes. It’s the replacement of ‘roots’ with ‘routes‘. Routes are the negotiation of exchange. The variety indicates the operation of different economies.

The character of From/To is shaped by new information routes, most just recently made possible. Certain frontiers are bypassed, modifying travel by transmission over electronic routes. As becomes apparent upon entering Witte de With, the project was developed with the logic of a website at the scale of architecture. The whole is based on one stone, the smallest unit of landscape, which links to architecture and, after the decade of the Intifada, to media. This stone is digitized, resulting in a complex set of triangulated lines. One segment is copied and translated to map out the project over two floors of exhibition rooms. What appears as a random pattern of events is in fact an organizational logic. The separate fields are interlinked by one narrative of movement. From/To is a map that unfolds in real time.

From/To spaces included:


Available over computer, a selection of relevant past and contemporary essays, charts, maps, and links to on-line sites. The role of the computer links has changed the correspondence and information landscape of Palestine. This area also notes the recent symposium Landscape Perspectives on Palestine by the Bir-Zeit University, Ramallah. See From/To for links.

Cinema Production Centre (CPC), Ramallah

The CPC, founded 1996 in Ramallah by Palestinian director Rashid Mashrawi, is the first Palestinian centre concerned with improving the cinema industry. The main goal is to develop cinema in Palestine through producing and distributing films both in Palestine and other countries, and providing Palestinians a chance to watch films at screenings in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. CPC also aims at introducing Palestinian cinema to people all over the world.

The CPC has two departments: Production and Mobile Cinema. Production is involved in short fiction, feature, and documentary films. Mobile Cinema, established in 1997, arranges screenings in various locations. This project seeks to reach the audience in remote areas, such as villages, refugee camps, and in universities, schools, and cultural centres. A van with equipment for projecting various media formats has already started to show films at universities, schools, and art centres, to give non-city dwellers a chance to view cinema.

Institute for Modern Media, Al-Quds University, Jersualem

Established in 1996, the Institute is part of Al-Quds University College in Al-Bireh, Ramallah. Its aim is to provide broad media education, including directing, editing, reporting, presentation. The Institute includes the Al-Quds Educational TV, organized by journalists and media producers. Starting in 1997, AETV broadcasts programs to Ramallah and North Jerusalem, which focus on education, literacy, social attitudes, environment and consumer awareness. The channel provides free air time to Palestinian non-profit associations and is the first Arab television station to present live broadcasts of the Palestinian Legislative Council. AETV also provides children’s programs, among which the Arab version of Sesame Street.

Cinema Projection

The correspondence between modern cinema and geography by visualization of other lands requires a consideration of its mechanics – the dark room, projection, and the viewer as subject. Here are introduced routes from two key sources: the Lumire Brothers’ first evidence on film of a journey through Palestine (1897), and The Dupes (1972), by Tewfik Saleh, reintroducing that same geography in terms of boundaries and frontiers, to recognize a subject negotiating routes in the space of refugee status. There is an additional daily program.

Video Viewing Area

This provides a large on-request selection of tapes from Palestinian film/videomakers. Decades of fiction and documentaries point to unique narrative intertwinements of place and identity, refracting the focus through global media. The link between memory, media, geography, and representation is evident throughout. The accessibility, mobility, and duration of video is appropriate for interviews and oral histories. The space most lacking or undifferentiated in media representation, the refugee camps, is clearly that site through which many videos thread their narrative, in recognition of its key role in the contemporary issues. Recent works point to new issues of history, orientation of memory, documentary approach, and the role of archival media. They include narrative of the younger generation, as well as the generation who were adults in 1948. The program include videos from, among others, Michel Khleifi, Norma Marcos, Rashid Mashrawi, Mai Masri, Omar al-Quattan, Tewfik Saleh, Eyal Sivan, Sobhi Zobaidi.


Stephanie Latte Abdallah, Amman. The work isolates oral expressions recorded during interviews carried out in the refugee camps of Jabal Hussein and Jerash in Jordan. The aim is to deliver selected testimonies in raw form, so as to leave the choices of interpretation and evocation up to the listener, who can lose him or herself in the language, seeking meaning from voices that tell stories and dialogues. Through the women’s life stories and the way they put them into words, itineraries and paths emerge to trace the evolving contours of values and family constructions in a situation of uprootedness and long-term temporariness.


Afaf Al-Jabiri/Jordanian Women’s Union, Amman. Organizer and contributor Afaf Al-Jabiri, Jordanian Women’s Union, develops weekly fax journals from five women living in refugee camps, over the course of the exhibition.

Local photographic archives

Issam Nassar, East-Jerusalem. The collections of two regional photographic archives, the Arab Studies Society in Jerusalem and the Arab Foundation for the Image in Beirut, are the first attempts to archive how local communities represent themselves and their lives. Only a few months after its invention in 1839, photography arrived to Palestine. Since then, a massive body of images was generated which depicted Palestine as a sacred biblical geography, with little concern for how Palestinian landscape was experienced by the natives. The regional photographic archives collect local and anonymous photographs from the nineteenth century to the present. The archives, still in the process of being created, will be accessible over the Internet.


Dealing with the Past, Creating a Presence: Picture Postcards of Palestine. Annelies Moors and Steven Wachlin, Utrecht. Around the turn of the century picture postcards functioned as a major mass medium. For the western public, the lifestyle of Palestine’s population was used as a didactic lesson about biblical times; also, its inhabitants were presented as ‘types’ in a loose evolutionary order. Present-day Israeli postcards often employ similar themes of modernity versus traditionalism. Whereas Palestinian postcard production also negotiates time-space displacements, in that case perspectives shift, different connections are explored and fixed meanings are inverted.


Pomegranates and Myrrh, by Najwa Najjar-Kort, Jerusalem. This work visually presents a film project, a fiction based in Palestine after the Oslo accord, from the perspective of a female character.


Aemen Salman, Vlaardingen. Salman, a second-generation Dutch-Palestinian, charts out site correspondences to movements in a neighbourhood. His father, like the first generation of Palestinians to arrive in Holland during the 60s, settled in Vlaardingen outside of Rotterdam.


Charting Palestinian Territories and Power: FROM land control TO flows control. Sylvie Fouet, Jerusalem. The key to power bargaining seems no longer to simply control the land (the size of recovered territory) but rather is moving into the control of the movements of people, goods and information (the viability of such autonomous areas).


  • Stéphanie Latte Abdallah, Abu Dagga, Hanan Mikhail Ashrawi, Azza El-Hassan, Sylvie Fouet, Barbara Harlow, Norma Marcos, Rashid Mashrawi, Mai Masri, Annelies Moors, Issam Nassar, Aemen Salman, The Jordanian Women’s Union, Steven Wachlin