Sharon's Wall and the dialectics of inside/outside
Pike, D. J. (2006). Sharon's Wall and the dialectics of inside/outside. Borderlands E - Journal: new spaces in the humanities, 5(3).
In The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard ponders modernity's obsession with circumscription and with what he terms, 'geometrism' (Bachelard, 1964: 213). According to Bachelard, we geometrise the world. From real estate to national borders, from nature reserves to nature strips, everything is cut-up, portioned, demarcated. Sharon's Wall in Israel/Palestine is a manifestation of this obsession with geometrism. Bachelard, engaging with phenomenology proposes that being, which is all around us, is not circumscribed - we are not the centre of being, nor is anything else, hence there is in contrast neither 'being-here' nor 'being-there' (1964: 213).
In this essay I present a meditation on the apartheid wall constructed in Israel and Palestine, between 2002 and 2006. I contemplate the meanings of this wall, its lived, material meanings as well as its architectural phenomenology: the spatial and ontological implications for those living either side. I examine the political impact of the binary rhetoric used in media coverage of the wall. I then take an imaginative leap, and using Bachelard's ideas about interior and poetic space, suggest how a different logic, and a more creative conception of space may offer hope to those confined behind the wall.
Peer-reviewed, Israel, Wall, Politics