Cabell’s “The Archaeology of Counterinsurgency”

Mimi Cabell (Assistant Professor, Division of Experimental and Foundation Studies) and collaborators will present at the first biennial Platform for Artistic Research Sweden (PARSE) conference.

The Archaeology of Counterinsurgency is a collaboration between artist and architect Samir Harb, Middle Eastern studies scholar and political theorist Nicola Perugini, and artist and writer Mimi Cabell.

The group is currently creating an archive of material that traces the literal and symbolic history of the Tegart forts in Israel and Palestine through multiple systems of design – architecture, the sites themselves, and the language that designed the conditions under which the forts were built, and continues to design their existence. These militarized forts, known today as Muqataa’s, were planned in the 1930’s by British engineer and police officer Sir Charles Tegart to suppress the Palestinian revolt.

After the end of the British Mandate and the creation of Israel, the forts faced different destinies. Many are still in operation today as Israeli prisons, administrative offices, and national heritage sites; the Muqataa in Ramallah, Palestine houses Yasser Arafat’s tomb, serves as the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, and acts as the official West Bank office of Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the State of Palestine. The project is an archeology of these different historical trajectories, an attempt to understand what keeps together their heterogeneity.

For the PARSE conference they will present materials and ongoing work from the archive, one that will include historical and contemporary text-based, photographic, and video-based documents that speak to the micro histories and narratives of each site, conceptually, aesthetically, and politically linking the past and present infrastructures of repression/counterinsurgency in Palestine. As the archive develops they will perform subtle interventions on the material – performing erasures, re-writing, and re-editing it, to further dismantle the infrastructures of repression/counterinsurgency it represents.