"The state of emergency in which we live is not the exception, but the rule."
Walter Benjamin, Spring 1940
'West Side Story' is a multimedia exploration of travel and movement in The West Bank. The West Bank has been occupied by the Israeli Defence Force since 1967 and is today divided from Israel by 'The Wall' - an infamous Israeli-built barrier that rings the territory.
The Israeli Occupation has effectively divided The West Bank into a complex set of small Palestinian-controlled areas, or 'cantons'. These 'cantons' are separated from each other by a network of fences, Israeli settlements and roads barred from Palestinian use. Fences and checkpoints bristle with surveillance systems so high-tech they would confound James Bond's 'Q'.
In order to move between 'cantons', Palestinians must navigate this complex network - a labyrinth that rarely allows a speedy journey. Often what could be a thirty minute trip turns into an ordeal lasting hours and sometimes it's impossible to move at all.
Palestinian movement inside the West Bank is dominated by this network. It allows the Israeli Defence Force to tightly monitor the movement of people and goods inside the occupied territory, and shut it down at short notice.
As of October 2009 there were 578 'closure obstacles' in the West Bank - ninety checkpoints and nearly five hundred roadblocks.
'West Side Story' poses a set of questions about modern occupation, resistance and the possibility of 'normal' life under remote control.
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