During a residency at Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen in Innsbruck, Austria I decided to open up some of the letters of my parents for discussions with a group of the general public in a form of workshop. They were asked to read and analyse an English translated copy of t he letters and then involve in a group discussion about its contents. It was very useful for me to have an external point of view rather than just dealing with my own interpretation. This dragged my attention to the failure of the communist utopia that my father was living and expressing in his letters 30 years ago. This failed utopia does not only refer to Palestine in particular but to all the regions which had communist entities that used to support each other all over the world.
Afterwards, I combined a selection of paragraphs of 4 different letters (the same letters which were discussed by a group of the general public as well as a group of students from Comparative Literature department of the university of Innsbruck) . Then the whole text was translated into German. Musician Kamil Szlachta (www.woistkamil.info) was commissioned to write lyrics that retain the essential stylistic features of the letters from the original text, and so to compose and perform a song. I imagine it as an attempt to trace back all the links that used to exist between the communist Palestine and other communist entities (Germany as a start). The physical absence of the singing voice creates a nostalgic effect, a melancholy longing for the utopia of a better life, which has moved even further away now.
I see this project as an ongoing process in an attempt to translate the song into other languages of other people who shared the same communist utopia with Palestine.
Bisan Abu-Eisheh (1985) is an artist who obtained his M.A. at Central Saint Martins, 2014. He has obtained his B.A. at the International Academy of Art – Palestine. He currently lives between Glasgow and Jerusalem. Selected Group Exhibitions: Don’t You Think It Is Time For Love? MMoMA, Moscow, Russia (2016). Jerusalem Show VIII: Before and After Origins, Jerusalem, Palestine (2016). Greetings to Those Who Asked About Me, CIC, Cairo, Egypt (2015). Eva International: AGITATIONISM, Limerick, Ireland (2014). Hiwar “conversations in Amman”, Darat Al Funon, Amman, Jordan (2013). Points of Departure, ICA Gallery, London, UK (2013). The 12th Istanbul Biennial: UNTITELED (2011).
He has programmed Hospitalfield’s Summer School: Fieldworks 2016, under the title “Not Every Tent is The Same”, Arbroath, Scotland. He has performed in several art events including: Bitter Rose Project part of Glasgow International 2016, Glasgow, UK. Friday Late night at V&A museum, London, UK (2012). Selected Residencies: Culture + Conflict Artist in Residence at the Liddle Hart Colonial archive, Kings Collage, London, UK (2016/17). Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen International Fellowship Program for Art and Theory, Innsbruck, Austria (2015). AIR Antwerpen residency program, Antwerp, Belgium (2014/2015).Hiwar “Conversations in Amman” at Darat al Funon Foundation, Amman, Jordan. (2013). Radio Materiality at Vessel Art Project, Bari, Italy (2013). Points of Departure at The Delfina Foundation(2012).
Bisan Abu-Esheh, My Comrade, My Love. Installation realised by support from Kunstlerhause Buchsenhausen, Innsbruck, Austria. Courtesy of the Artist