2 Channel Film Installation, each film is projected facing the other. The full loop lasts 12 minutes.
"The Tourist" is an exploration of the relationship between Palestinian antiquity and cultural heritage, tourism and political resistance to the Israeli occupation.
In 1994 the Palestinian Authority was formed through the Oslo Accords, and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities was created, modelled on the Jordanian equivalent. The Palestinian Authority actively promotes tourism as a form of resistance of the Israeli occupation; the economy of the Palestinian territories is heavily reliant on tourism, while the millions of visitors who pass through them every year come with the potential to witness the occupation and leave with an altered understanding of Palestinian identity. On a more immediate level, the promotion of Palestinian heritage is of deep significance to the people; with no formal museum of Palestinian history, the maintenance of pre-1948 tradition and identity through other means is socially encouraged. This work reflects on the orientalism inherent in tourism, whilst exploring the subversion of it as a form of resistance.
The film is made in the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, the Palestinian West Bank. This is the primary tourist destination under the Palestinian Authority. The performers are both from Bethlehem traditionally, however were both born to refugee families abroad before returning; Maajd was born in Jordan and Stephanie was born in Honduras. They both dressed in these historical costumes, local to Bethlehem specifically, to advertise a cultural festival. The camera was placed on a tripod by the entrance to the church, and then left to run so that the presence of the artist was not apparent.
This film has been exhibited as a projection on to the Israeli separation wall surrounding Bethlehem, in the University of Brighton Gallery, and at Night Contact festival, Dalston, London.