17. Material for a Film by Emily Jacir, 2005 - onward
Palestinian artist Emily Jacir was dubbed an "archivist, activist, and poet" by the board that awarded her the 2008 Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation's Hugo Boss Prize. Being notable at just one of the roles attributed to Jacir would be a worthwhile achievement, but her multimedia storytelling does fulfill her lofty praise. Her work explores the daily life of Palestinian communities and toggles between focusing on mundane details and critical historical events. This particular work, Materials for a film (performance), was realized (first at the 2006 Biennale of Sydney) as two installation spaces that address the assassination of Palestinian intellectual Wael Zuaiter in Rome by Israeli secret service in October 1972. The work was meant as a memorial to Zuaiter's "thwarted aspirations" and a "memorial to untold stories. To that which has not been translated. To stories that will never be written." One room contains photographs of the pages perforated by the bullet that killed Zuaiter, the other contains shelves of innumerable blank books shot with the same type of gun used on Zuaiter in 1972. In Material for a film, Jacir delves into the fallen intellectual's personal effects to create another intimate portrait.