Commons Conversations

Seeing is Not Enough: Citizen Videography in Israel-Palestine

Commons Conversations
08 Nov, 2021

Seeing is Not Enough: Citizen Videography in Israel-Palestine

with Liat Berdugo, Artist and Writer, Associate Professor, The University of San Francisco

and Keith Feldman​, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies

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In this talk, Prof. Liat Berdugo discusses her new book, The Weaponized Camera in the Middle East (Bloomsbury / I.B.Tauris, 2021), which draws on unprecedented access to the citizen-recorded video archives of B'Tselem, an Israeli NGO that distributes cameras to Palestinians living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, to offer a contribution to the discourse of human rights work through the documentary form of imagemaking. Using video stills as core material, Berdugo asks how what is seen, but also who is seeing, affects how conflicts are visually recorded. She argues that visual evidence alone is not enough, because more is at stake in these conflicts than visuality: believing precedes seeing, and seeing fails to alter belief. She is joined by UC Berkeley’s Prof. Keith Feldman, author of A Shadow over Palestine.

About Liat Berdugo

Liat Berdugo is an artist and writer whose work investigates embodiment, labor, and militarization in relation to capitalism, technological utopianism, and the Middle East. Her work has been exhibited and screened at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), MoMA PS1 (New York), Transmediale (Berlin), V2_Lab for the Unstable Media (Rotterdam), and The Wrong Biennale (online), among others. Her writing appears in Rhizome, Temporary Art Review, Real Life, Places, and The Institute for Network Cultures, among others, and her latest book is The Weaponized Camera in the Middle East (Bloomsbury/I.B.Tauris, 2021). She is one half of the art collective, Anxious to Make, and is the co-founder of the Living Room Light Exchange, a monthly new media art series. Berdugo received an MFA from RISD and a BA from Brown University. She is currently an associate professor of Art + Architecture at the University of San Francisco. Berdugo lives and works in Oakland, CA. More at

About Keith Feldman

Keith P. Feldman is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also affiliated with the Program in Critical Theory, the Berkeley Center for New Media, and the Center for Middle East Studies. An interdisciplinary cultural studies scholar, Feldman’s work examines the interface between race, knowledge, and imperial cultures, with a focus on the U.S., West Asia, and North Africa. Feldman is the author of A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America (2015). He is also the co-editor (with Abigail De Kosnik) of #identity: Hashtagging Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Nation (2019); co-editor of a special issue of Social Text on “Race/Religion/War,” and the editor of a forum for Comparative Literature on “Blackness and Relationality.”


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