In the photographic series “The Green(er) Side of the Line,” Alban Biaussatdocuments places and spaces along the Green Line of the 1949 Rhodes armistice agreement, and thereby shows the improbability of separating the physical space of a family’s back patio or a local butcher’s shop that happens to be on the line.
(Biaussat was born in Paris in 1970 and though he has an MA in photojournalism and documentary photography from the London College of Communication, he also has had a postgraduate level of education in business studies and international relations.)
“In the Middle East, new political concepts, initiatives and slogans are plenty, supplementing each other month after month as the previous ones exhaust themselves, but there is one reference that has borne a sustained potential for visualization, if not for political vision: the Green Line. It is, it seems, well enshrined in people’s minds, whether they like it or not, as a valid political reference.
Since the Oslo years of the 1990s, the 1967 “border” has become the orthodox reference for negotiating the final contours of an improbable “viable” Palestinian State – or, as some would probably prefer, of a viable continued Israeli occupation. Consistently represented in green on a series of geographical maps, it has emerged as the Green Line, attributing also political and legal in/correctness to a series of issues, such as Israeli settlements. Most people would probably assume that the 1949 line has remained the same till 1967. This overlooks the fact that the line has moved during this period. Its position has been continuously affected by the military and economic tactics of the parties and their desire to push the real “line” to the other side of the armistice “zone” where there was one, as is particularly the case in the Golan and near Latrun.
I decided to make the Green Line appear. Photography would be my magic wand.This project thus intends to instrumentalise the visual nature of this political concept and wants to be a gentle, yet absurd, kick in the big green eyes of the so-called solution of “two States living side by side in peace and security along the 1967 border.” By doing so, it intends to communicate, with a smile, a sense of absurdity when envisaging the likelihood of establishing borders in this landscape, if such a thing is possible at all. More interestingly, it is about showing the physical landscape of possible political separation, as was the case in the past, and about generating critical thinking and a healthy feeling of doubt to keep the door open to alternatives.”