an exhibition to see in Tel Aviv

Two Israeli photographers have bypassed security imperatives and are exhibiting aerial views of their country in Tel Aviv. An act as daring as it is instructive, deciphers the daily life of the left Ha’Aretz.

During the Israeli military operation last May in the Gaza Strip [contre le mouvement palestinien Hamas], journalists and researchers have tried to obtain satellite photos of this territory. But they ran into a situation that seemed to come from a bygone era: grainy, low-definition images. Although the satellite photos of Gaza and Israel provided by Google’s free services have been recently updated, their quality remains significantly lower than images from other parts of the world, including North Korea. The explanation lies in a law passed by the US Congress in the 1990s that limits the quality and availability of commercial satellite images of the region.

Spectacular photos

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is currently hosting an exhibition that vividly illustrates the effects of this restricted access to high definition photographs. Anti Mippouï [“anticartographie”], by Miki Kratsman and Shabtai Pinchevsky, offers spectacular photos that offer an alternative to official mapping tools, obviously in the hands of the state.

For years, these two photographers [israéliens] crisscrossed the country and accumulated documentation of disputed places, literally and figuratively, both on the ground and in the collective Israeli consciousness: Palestinian towns and villages destroyed in 1948 [lors de la première guerre israélo-arabe (1948-1949), qui a fait suite à la création d’Israël], the unrecognized Bedouin villages of the Negev [établis dans cette région semi-désertique du sud du pays, ils n’ont pas d’existence légale, ne figurent sur aucune carte et n’ont pas accès aux services publics comme l’eau ou l’électricité] and a series of places contiguous to the route of the green line [la ligne d’armistice de 1949, qui a servi de frontière de facto jusqu’en 1967].

Using several innovative technologies, the tandem has created a detailed “anti-map” of Israel – a comprehensive map of places the state has long tried to erase, isolate or cover up.

Drones to replace staellites

The goal, explains Miki Kratsman, was to put the spotlight on places that don’t appear on any official map for two reasons. First of all, because their names have been completely erased or replaced by the word khirbe [“ruine” en arabe et en hébreu], when the corresponding remains were not covered by forests planted by the KKL [le Fonds national juif, un organisme foncier et sioniste qui possède 13 % des terres israéliennes], new Jewish towns or Israeli military bases. Secondly, because part of these traces remain indistinguishable on low-definition satellite photos. Although the US law that prevented the broadcast of high-resolution images of Israel was repealed several months ago [en juillet 2020], satellite services, in particular Google, have still not updated their maps and photos.

To counter this, Miki Kratsman and Shabtai Pinchevsky started working on an alternative mapping project, from the air and from the ground. They had the idea of ​​using drones to

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Gili Merin

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First newspaper published in Hebrew under the British Mandate, in 1919, “The Country” is the newspaper of reference among Israeli politicians and intellectuals. Today located in the center left, Ha’Aretz has always cultivated a line

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