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Une géographie expérimentale de l’art aux frontières. Filmer les graffitis du camp de réfugiés palestiniens de Dheisheh.

Clémence Lehec


This dissertation focuses on graffiti and borders in a Palestinian refugee camp, namely Dheisheh camp, located in Bethlehem, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. A formal and experimental research is proposed, involving documentary film production and scientific writing. Through a study of figurative elements painted on walls, the dissertation contributes to updating current knowledge of Palestinian popular imagery. It also questions, in an original way, representations of the border within a marginal space. The analysis of the network of relevant actors and their motivation to paint allows for an understanding of the specificities of the Palestinian graffiti movement from a diachronic perspective that draws its ontology. The production and co-direction of the documentary Les murs de Dheisheh (The Walls of Dheisheh) makes it possible to bring the study of graffiti, the artists and the borders that cross the camp to the screen, while continuously proposing a reflection on the original methodology used. From an extradisciplinary perspective, this dissertation in experimental geography offers an epistemological reflection on how geographical knowledge is produced by advocating a collaborative ethic that is seen as an alternative to participatory models. The experimental dimension of the dissertation unfolds at each stage of the research process since the documentary makes it possible to carry out in a single object: survey method, data collection and final result. Documenting and analysing the borders through the lens of Palestinian graffiti in Dheisheh makes it possible to bring border studies towards a feminist geopolitical perspective that defines the camp space as being crossed by mobile front lines and Damocles’ borders, placing bodies at the heart of the control process set up by the Israeli occupation.

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