What is the role of the visual in political turmoil—to be propaganda, or a history lesson? Is it an intermediary between perpetrator and victim, or does it serve as a reminder of the past persisting in the present? The videos, images, installations, performances, and discussions that make up “I can call this progress to halt” seem to argue that there has been movement but no certain advancement—steps taken, but in indeterminable directions. Georgia Sagri’s installation Sunday Stroll, 2016, smells of hot glue, eliciting a nostalgia that contrasts with the pictures of violence loosely placed on overhead projectors, which will be replaced by more of the same throughout the duration of the show. Michelle Dizon’s three-channel video installation Civil Society, 2008, places the Watts riots of 1965 beside the Paris revolts of 2005, to declare that civil conflict is not a foreign phenomenon and that it remains durable over time.
Yet there is egress. In Rosalind Nashashibi’s live-action and animated film Electrical Gaza, 2015, a trio of men sit in a living room. One of the men methodically, almost meditatively, smashes and folds falafel into a pita, reminding the viewer that during upheaval, stopping to feed ourselves can be a start. The sprawling content of this exhibition requires a lingering gait, in order to absorb the causes and effects of the looping story of sites and people under siege. By enduring this, we might then be able to pivot away.