This performance attempts to decolonize possibilities for love through unarcheology, an invented method intended to re-narrate artifacts "dug up" by institutions of oppressive power and utilized in service of particular ideologies. Through unarcheologies of Sirhan Sirhan, the performer's father, and…
This performance attempts to decolonize possibilities for love through unarcheology, an invented method intended to re-narrate artifacts "dug up" by institutions of oppressive power and utilized in service of particular ideologies. Through unarcheologies of Sirhan Sirhan, the performer's father, and the performer's own body, the performance offers a critical call for us to examine the ways that colonial logics of criminality, threat, and wrongness always already implicate Palestinian bodies and our relations with them.
Rhetorics of criminality have long been written onto Palestinian bodies. From Dareen Tatour's imprisonment by the state of Israel to the U.S. detaining Adham Hassoun indefinitely as a "security threat", these rhetorics lead to material violence against Palestinians on a global scale, as well as on a discursive and interpersonal level. Communicative work which seeks to decolonize the Palestinian body in its various settings is vital to our survival in literal as well as symbolic ways. From a postcolonial perspective, we cannot extricate the individual from the communal, the local, the national, the global nor the universal. A postcolonial understanding of "survival" demands that we reflexively interrogate the Palestinian body in its sociohistorical complexity and on its own terms.
Autoethnography is uniquely situated as a method for postcolonial analyses of Palestinian survival. Chawla and Atay argue, "postcolonialism and autoethnography are inherently self-reflexive practices… that necessitate a centering of both the subject–object within a local and historical context" (4). In this performance, I introduce "unarcheology" as a postcolonial method for learning to love the Palestinian body. Using media and embodied performance, I stage a series of scripts comprised of poetic autoethnographic reflection, repurposed diary entries from an archetypal Palestinian "criminal," and the text of my father's indictment. These scripts, composed through a queer, collage-like method I call "unarcheology," are separated into temporal sections (past, present, and future) and audience members determine the order of their performance, thus demanding direct engagement in the performance's decolonial project. Staged on and around a single pile of dirt, this performance interrogates colonial barriers of criminality preventing the capacity to critically love Palestinians. It documents the survival that Palestinians are forced to embody- its goal, however, is the pursuit of critical, generous, decolonized love.