Limits of Confinement 4, 2008, is part of a series of photographs by Samira Badran that focus on the security apparatus across occupied Palestine. The manipulated photograph shows corridors made of metal rods and barred gates at Israeli security checkpoints within Palestine. The metallic barriers seem mirrored and overlayed on top of one another to mimic the labyrinthian sense of confinement and fragmentation. The sophisticated technologies involved in deploying this control system across Palestine include magnetic spindle gates, scanning devices, surveillance cameras, internet tracking, etc. The purpose behind the checkpoints, with their hostile and unforgiving structures, is to dehumanize the Palestinians and to instill a constant and incessant sense of anxiety, fear, and pressure to render any attempt at collectivity futile.

Limits of Confinement 4, and many others in the same collection, focus on the material processes through which a population is controlled. For Badran, this amounts to an analysis of the anatomy that makes up and directs the mechanisms of these spaces, also called ‘control zones.’ Walking into or through these zones entails both the physical confinement of mobility and the imposition of a sense of separation from the other. In other words, ushering a human being into mechanical contraptions alters the perception of their worth. By focusing on the anatomy of these zones, the artist is bringing to the forefront the tensions between the brutal banality of their construction and their impact on the Palestinian reality.

Furthermore, the checkpoints break down how Palestinians experience their own landscape and environment. This experience encompasses both the individual and the more abstract economic, political, and social networks vital for a people’s cohesion. By focusing on the ruthless sharpness of their construction, Badran shows how these enclosures are carefully and deliberately planned to fragment and abort the possibility of cultivating cohesive ties. 

signed, dated, titled in English and Arabic with edition on reverse