If a Duck is Drawn in the Desert, Does Anybody See It?
Humor, Art and Infrastructures of Palestinian Statehood
The perception that the merit of a work is measured by its usefulness, is a burden long-shouldered by artists operating across diverse zones of conflict. This is particularly pronounced in Palestinian cultural production, where as part of the nation building project artists have long been charged with the responsibility of validating collective identity and narrating the Palestinian »story«. This chapter investigates the way in which humour is employed in contemporary Palestinian art as a means through which to temper both this aforementioned burden, as well as the political, cultural and social impact of the failed »peace process« and the continual denial of a Palestinian sovereign state. Providing a conceptual framework of humor in contemporary art built around the key terms of the burden of proof, anticipatory aesthetics, over-identification, and futurity, this chapter aims to shed light on the ways in which contemporary Palestinian art offers a space through which to enact infrastructures of Palestinian statehood, and in turn mediate understandings of Palestine's past, present and future.