Griet Dobbels in collaboration with poet Lotte Dodion

Art video, 4K - 9:16 with audio, Dutch, Arabic and English - CREDITS: Text: Lotte Dodion - Editing: Bianca Cassinelli - Camera: Bent Shahba the goat and Rolleke the cow - Translations:  Fatena Al Ghorra and Donald Gardner - Voices: Lotte Dodion and Fatena Al Ghorra - Special thanks to: Al Ma’mal Foundation (Old City Jerusalem), farmers Wouter Pety (watou, B) and Abdullah Zawahre (Al Masara, PS) and their families, Els Vermeersch (Compagnon d’Art), Benji Boyadgian, Patrick en Mia De Baene - With the support of: Watou 2023   


On view:  KVS BrusselsJanuary 2024 -   Emergent Veurne until 7 January - Watou art Festival summer 2023


The footage is collected by literally placing a camera on the head of a cow in Watou and a camera on the head of a goat in Al Masara, near Bethlehem in Palestine. Both regions are situated on a border and are a changing landscape. Both regions bear the marks of friction throughout history. On the one hand you have a landscape that bears witness to events of 100 years ago and on the other hand a landscape that still at present feels the consequences of decisions of that time. (WW I and The Balfour Declaration in 1917).

Is that still visible in the landscape? And are there points of contact? 
Via a strong focus on the small and the local, the view is shifted to the larger world. It is an attempt to question perceptions in both directions and to take a broader look. Does it makes us look differently? Placing the camera very close to nature, on the heads of both animals, apparently creates a more distant and objective look. 

How do farmers deal with this landscape, with their soil? 

How do they deal with the changing ecological, geopolitical situations? Do they see a future? Is there a future? The horizon (and with it, the view or prospect) disappears for the farmer. What does ground / soil / land mean for them? 
How difficult is it for the farmer to work in a context of the current ecological decisions in a densely populated Western Europe as well as it is for the farmer in Palestine in an occupied territory? 
How visible or invisible is the stress this causes? There are many contradictions. The weight of the soil / the land / the territory with the corresponding respect for cultural traditions, against the global scale of politics and economics. 

The video is given special topicality by the situation in Palestine today. The Arabic voice in the video is by Fatena Al Ghorra. She also translated the poem into Arabic. Fatena is a poet living and working in Antwerp, she has the Belgian nationality and went back beginnning of October 2023 to visit her family in Gaza for the first time after 15 years. Just before Christmas, she managed to leave Gaza.