During the IDA module "Déjà vu?", we explored the different forms of appropriation and reinterpretation. In this context, we were able to select an artist or designer of our choice for our project. With this creative freedom I chose the works of the Palestinian artist Hazem Harb, titled “Invisible Landscapes and Concrete Futures.” His collages, which combines old family images of Palestinian in the 1940’s and new images of modern architecture question the current and future wipe out of Palestinian history. Triggered after spending seven years away from Gaza, Hazem’s creations were created after being confronted with the mass destruction and reconstruction of Palestine. This encounter is something I can personally relate to from my own experience of leaving my Bali home and going back years later to find the island in an entirely other state. As a witness to the evolution of Bali I felt inspired to investigate parallel themes regarding tensions between tradition and modernization.
My process started by collecting photos of Bali from the 70’s which resonated. This process became my initial inspiration, starting point and motivation for my works. Once I’d selected the images I sourced stimulating books and magazines and simply started cutting to produce material for the collaging. Laying them out, I started playing around and creating compositions. This experimental collaging engaged my imagination and allowed me to explore novel possibilities. Furthermore, it allowed me to making connections, consider other relationships and construct new ideas. This process required divergent thinking by applying as little thought as possible and only later analyzing and evaluating. I engaged in this process twice until I ended up with 28 collages. What I found interesting is that while each collage told a separate story you could split them up into different groups which explored varying themes. These themes included: culture as merchandise, construction on sacred land and wipe out of landscapes, high speed development and lifestyle, society being torn apart, pollution and blatant disregard for the environment, loss of identity and heritage, loss of human values, short term pleasure and greed, excess foreign elements, modernization threatening future generations. Through the identification of these themes I realized that the collages had provided me with a catalyst for thinking about the topic with a lot more depth.
Ultimately, the "Déjà vu?", process of finding inspiration and reinterpreting it through the form of homage was more challenging than anticipated. Through the exploration of Hazem Harb’s works I felt limited within the confinement of his style which I admired so much. While identifying my experience with his experience was the birth of my concept. The disassociation with his aesthetic style actually resulted in my own liberated process of collaging. I believe overcoming this sense of confinement and developing my own themes through this process of divergent thinking was what resulted in my success.