Access & Closure
[stories from in and out of an occupied Palestine]
afterword by Anton Shammas
By Toby Millman
Portland, Oregon: Oregon College of Art and Craft, 2008.
Edition of 50.
4.75 x 6.75 x 1.25; 64 pages. Letterpress printed from polymer plates set in Gill Sans Light on Stonehenge paper. Leporello bound. In an edition of 50 (45 bound, 5 boxed print portfolios) plus three artist proofs.
Toby Millman: "The stories in the book began during 2006, when I spent ten weeks in Palestine. During much of that time, I was living in a Melkite convent in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, studying Arabic at Al Quds University and traveling to other areas of the West Bank. I recently returned from a longer visit, where I spent about two months in Tel Aviv and another five months in Ramallah. During this second visit, I continued my study of Arabic at Birzeit University while volunteering at a youth club at Jalazone refugee camp, writing for various cultural institutions and grassroots campaigns, and attempting to teach high school, all while collecting information to continue this body of work.
"I chose to title the book after the heading on this map as a way to summarize my experience as an American in Palestine. At its most obvious level, this work chronicles the access that I had as a foreign-passport holder traveling throughout the area. I was able to travel fairly easily compared to most Palestinians, and I was able to visit areas that are closed to many of those who call this land their home. But this work is more so about the access that the people I met allowed me into their lives. Without being welcomed into homes and guided throughout the streets, I never would have been able to create this work. On the other hand, I did not have full access to the land or its people. Aside from the Israeli-imposed closures that the map refers to, I was well aware - especially during my longer visit - that I am an outsider and certain aspects of Palestinian society are still closed to me. My book speaks to this closure in some ways. Whether it's in my naivety as I try to retrieve a stolen cell phone or my inability to communicate clearly in Arabic, there were many instances where I wished that I could be a Palestinian, an insider; to fully experience both the beauty and horrors of this place.
"All images were traced from original photographs or maps and the written vignettes are one hundred percent true (with a few names changed to protect the semi-innocent). The cover images have been drawn from maps produced by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the occupied Palestinian territories."
Anton Shammas, (part of his elegant) Afterword: "These snippets and vignettes of the quotidian, these minor and low-keyed interventions on the margins of the Palestinian page, in images and in words … interpret and translate the complex Palestinian reality."
$500 (Last two copies)