This is an archive exhibition of all the materials accumulated for the research of the documentary film by artist and director Nahed Awwad entitled “5 minutes from Home” that tries to retrace the times of the Palestinian ownership of Qalandia Airport, known previously as Jerusalem Airport and which is now the desolate place adjacent to the infamous Israeli military checkpoint and base.

Nahed Awwad had spent the past 3 years researching and accumulating important historical material for this film not only with the intention to create the film but also realizing the importance of showing it in a form of an exhibition. The material consists of original photographs that document the usage of the airport of Jerusalem as a primary flight destination in the Middle East, evidence to the vibrancy of the times that have come to pass. Also this material included sound bites and recorded interviews with surviving workers of the airport, from flight attendants to pilots and traffic controllers, in addition to memorabilia such as original tickets, posters and leaflets of the many Arab and international airlines that flew in and out of the Jerusalem airport. Awwad attempts to record and restore the memory of a haunted past that lurks very close to home. Parallel realities and times seem to be intentionally juxtaposed to reveal the unspoken or the hidden or even the forgotten.

 

The aim of the exhibition is to cap on the archival bent that Awwad insists on using in her documentary style evident in the film. This archival sense is highlighted through  an exhibition that literally portrays a registry and borrows museum-like techniques of display in glass vitrines. It will then be accompanied with a video projection of series of photographs seen life-size on the wall and sound bites of the recorded interviews with the people who had witnessed and staffed the airport. This means of exhibition bases itself also on modes of repetition and reiteration, which also find analogies to an archival factor. The materiality of the evidence becomes important in contrast to the fading images on the walls. Perseverance of the images becomes an act of persevering the will, drive and struggle for betterment and amelioration of the Palestinian condition.

 

Also, in this exhibition, the artist attempts to break from usual authorship processes involved in archive-making and hands it over to a first-witness narrative. One of the previous workers of the airport, Mr. Yousef Hajjar is given freedom to embody, intercept, add and reinterpret the making of t/his own history. In an allocated room, he adds his own vernacular of memories and personal belongings that try to tell a his/story of ownership and re/tracings.

 

Then through this exhibition project, we go through attempts at emancipating that same enclosure/cluster of personal memory through handing out a collection of images in mass print formats such as postcards and billboards to allow for the existence of those images in the realm of the public space. This becomes symbolically important, because those apparitions turn from the domain of the private memory to a pervasive collective ownership project.