Erasure and reversal: Morgan Ashcom, Wajdi Yaeesh, & Jake Romm

This coming Saturday, Virtual—Assembly is hosting a discussion between Morgan Ashcom, Wajdi Yaeesh of Human Supporters, and writer & human rights lawyer Jake Romm, centred around Ashcom's forthcoming book, Open. The discussion will last around an hour, and begins at 11am PDT / 2pm EDT / 9pm EEST. Register here.

Open is a series of 34 photo-text diptychs combining 4”x5” c-prints and printed html code. The photographs were made in occupied Palestine in 2009. At a checkpoint, soldiers of the Israeli Defense Force opened Ashcom's light safe 4”x5” film box, obscuring and flaring the images on the unprocessed film. The box of film was stored in his studio and then revisited 10 years later as the Israeli occupation of Palestine continued. In 2021, the photographs were contributed to a fundraiser for Human Supporters Association, a Palestinian non-profit whose mission is to serve and support children, youth, and women in marginalized communities in Nablus.

Due to internet restrictions imposed by the Israeli apartheid, Wajdi was unable to verify his identity with various financial institutions resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars in donations. The textual components of Open are drawn from html code in emails where Wajdi was asked to verify his identity, referencing the mundane bureaucratic apartheid occurring online. The c-prints range in legibility between full abstraction and realism referencing both erasure and the potential of its reversal.