Exercises in Ruin
(Bar Palestine)

In the rising genre of ruin porn, decayed and destroyed cities become alluring backdrops and settings to be photographed, typically uncritically aestheticized. Mismar stumbled upon a series of photographs taken by Palestinian photographer Mohamed Baba (AFP) of the group Bar Palestine, who carry out open-air workouts. In this particular workout, members of the group are exercising against and within the ruins of Gaza, post the 2014 Israeli attack.

What could already be deemed pornographic in the perverse beauty of the destructed city becomes doubly so with the seductive bodies exercising in it. Mismar erases the performers from the landscape, and plays the process in reverse: they gradually emerge, chopped and amputated, until the bodies are fully formed, still and suspended in mid-air. Shortly after, the hand of the mouse—of the creator and destroyer—enters the frame and slowly starts caressing the bodies and the ruins indistinguishably. 

Original images courtesy of Mohamed Baba/AFP.

6-channel video installation, 3 min. 50 sec. each