beachcomber

2003


A Photograph mounted and sealed under plexiglass 60 x 39 cm

 

Insurance value 200 Euros

 

The photograph depicts an extract of an article from an English newspaper of Summer 2002 about the state of conflict in the Middle East. There was no accompanying picture; the message in stark words suffices to suggest images of an oppressed and desperate people, the Palestinians who bring death by violence to themselves and any Israelis in the vicinity. These, with equal exasperation revenge themselves by destroying Palestinian homes and further displacing a people in their own land.

But the article has been rendered absurd due to a printing error; a letter “c” has replaced a “b” making of the term “suicide bomber”, “suicide comber”. What should have been news cliché has become a surreal message.


A beachcomber is someone who searches the beach for hidden treasures. If one’s thoughts were to run in line with the ideas evoked by the printing error, one would ask oneself whether a group called the “suicide combers” might now be operating in the war zone and if so, whether they were Palestinians who comb the ruins of their destroyed homes for clues, remains of a previous existence, or who search the streets for human remains? Could they be terrorist recruitment officers or alternatively the preventative measures for terrorism? The stereotypical language usually employed by the media serves to ensure acceptance of the facts of war so that the reader no longer questions the events described. One spelling mistake achieves such disruption that meaning is exploded; the reader is then called on to adopt his own position in making sense of the event.