On Site, 2010
HD video 44:47 min
The documentary film project On Site centres on six former Palestinian villages now located in Israel. These sites were selected on the basis of young Palestinians’ inherited memories of their families’ villages being destroyed and depopulated in the 1948 war, revealed through interviews Hasager conducted in the spring of 2009.
The young people never appear in the film. Instead, a voice-over narrates their stories, which introduce the six sites and describe each Palestinian interviewee’s relationship to the place their grandparents fled in 1948. These stories function as direct links to the visited places, since the place of each story’s origin is what determined the artist’s journey. The film investigates the reality of what is there now compared to the collective memory of a particular place.
The six sites were revisited in December 2009, where Hasager interviewed the Israelis who now inhabit these places. The film, which is divided into “locations,” consists of interviews and images of the surrounding areas. Spontaneous interviews with passers-by at each of the sites reveal the Israeli inhabitants’ relation to their current home, their knowledge of the former Arab villages, and their opinion on Israel’s strategy in relation to these places.
The series of wide-angle and detail shots aim to portray the sites, with the remnants of the Arab villages as the focal point, and to investigate through different perspectives the various layers of belonging, nation-building and nationality, and the construction of history.
The artist worked closely with a researcher and translator, who conducted the interviews in Hebrew.
The project is dedicated to Layan Shawabkeh.
On Site was supported by the Danish Arts Council.