Bus Tickets, 2023

Installation view: The Ecologies of Peace. Works from the TBA21 Collection, Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía C3A, Córdoba, Spain, 2024. Photo: Imagen Subliminal (Rocio Romero y Miguel de Guzmán).

Jasbir Puar and Dima Srouji
Bus Tickets 
From the series Revolutionary Enclosures (Until the Apricots), 2023
150 etched and patinated brass bus tickets 
17 x 17 cm (each)
Dimensions variable
TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Collection

This composition of 150 brass replicas of school bus tickets arranged by color is a display of daily life in the early 2000s in occupied Palestine, where these tickets were indispensable for the daily journey to school. Each brass piece intentionally undergoes decay and oxidation, mirroring the natural aging process of materials associated with weapons manufacturing. Bus Tickets thus becomes a visceral exploration of how temporal experiences evolve under restrictions, using the school bus to evoke memories and illuminate the nature of time within the context of adversity. In the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown, the turquoise bus tickets became viral on social media after classmates from the Talitha Kumi School in Beit Jala reminisced about lockdowns and curfews during the second Intifada in 2000–05 when these bus tickets represented a literal ticket out during the intensified attacks against the Palestinian population in their lock-down cities and villages. Revolutionary Enclosures (Until the Apricots) is a series of household items designed in response to the distinct material conditions of various lockdowns. Reimagining everyday objects, like the bus tickets, transforms them into symbols of resilience, community, and caregiving that form part of daily life under the constraints of siege and containment.
Puar and Srouji express a shared intention to break down the rigid boundaries concerning the exploration of trauma and containment. In a recorded interview, Srouji challenges the notion embedded in the term post-traumatic stress disorder, emphasizing that trauma doesn’t have a definitive end; it lingers within the body. She illustrates her arguments by highlighting the divergent impact of sounds like shelling and drones in Palestine, suggesting that these may not induce the same level of trauma as an ominous knock on the door, signaling the arrival of the Israeli military to raid one’s home. Drawing on the work of Frantz Fanon, she points out that labeling an entire population as traumatized is a manifestation of the colonial apparatus.

Jasbir Puar was born in New Jersey, USA, in 1967.  Jasbir Puar is a renowned scholar in queer theory, feminist geopolitics, and critical race studies, with a focus on the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and nation. Puar is best known for her concept of homonationalism introduced in her influential book Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (2007), which examines how queer identities intersect with nationalistic projects. Her work is characterized by a critical approach to understanding the complexities surrounding queer bodies, disability, and biopolitics. Puar's contributions to academia and social justice activism have made her a key figure in studies of nationalism, queer theory, and the politics of identity and resistance.

Dima Srouji was born in Nazareth, Palestine, in 1990. Lives and works between Ramallah, Palestine, and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Dima Srouji is a Palestinian architect and visual artist whose work explores the intersections of architecture, history, and the power dynamics of space. Educated in architecture at Yale University, Srouji’s practice extends beyond traditional architectural projects to include glasswork, installations, and interdisciplinary art that engages with the cultural and political landscapes of the Middle East. Her projects often reflect on the impact of colonialism, occupation, and the negotiation of public and private spaces in the Palestinian territories. Srouji’s series “Hollow Forms” uses glass blowing techniques to resurrect forgotten histories and dialogues between the land and its inhabitants. Her work has been exhibited internationally, contributing to conversations about heritage, resilience, and the role of art in socio-political contexts. Srouji’s commitment to using art as a medium for storytelling and resistance makes her a significant voice in contemporary Middle Eastern art.

Right to Maim
In The Right to Maim Jasbir K. Puar brings her pathbreaking work on the liberal state, sexuality, and biopolitics to bear on our understanding of disability. Drawing on a stunning array of theoretical and methodological frameworks, Puar uses the concept of “debility”—bodily injury and social exclusion brought on by economic and political factors—to disrupt the category of disability. She shows how debility, disability, and capacity together constitute an assemblage that states use to control populations. Puar’s analysis culminates in an interrogation of Israel’s policies toward Palestine, in which she outlines how Israel brings Palestinians into biopolitical being by designating them available for injury. Supplementing its right to kill with what Puar calls the right to maim, the Israeli state relies on liberal frameworks of disability to obscure and enable the mass debilitation of Palestinian bodies. Tracing disability’s interaction with debility and capacity, Puar offers a brilliant rethinking of Foucauldian biopolitics while showing how disability functions at the intersection of imperialism and racialized capital.

Read online in author's web