Video Mappings: Aida Palestine

The Aida Palestine is a masterpiece presenting personal life stories and journeys to a new audience by using a very genuine form of representation. Genuinitity is built through the use of hand-drawn maps which look slightly child-like while clearly illustrating the narrative providing visual aids to understanding the story and emphasizing certain emotionally impactful moments. The use of audio is effective thanks to the slow-paced editing style, which makes it easy for a listener to follow the story and imagine along.

What makes this piece so great is the way it relies on the narrative that has been told my many movies and creatives across the world that we're the same no matter what's our skin color, nationality or sex. By only relying on audio recordings and almost child-like drawings were able to image the other person being whoever we want them to be, whoever we, as members of the audience, want to relate to. While the human brain cannot imagine unimaginable, a human being without any aesthetic features (with no racial characteristic, or a particular sex, if applicable), we like to believe that since these aesthetic or cultural elements aren't important to the story they can be excluded to make more space for the story itself. While I agree with all of that it is also a tricky way to build empathy because often times the viewer still makes up many characters missing creating an altered story inspired by a video (such as this one) that fits their personal cultural space or historical background.

While one might think that the video is largely unmediated due to the honest personal stories, I would argue that the lack of graphical context doesn't do any favors to building empathy towards these people but rather makes the audience empathetic to the mediated imaginary picture they portray themselves. While watching the video I kept relating these stories told as part of Aida Palestine to the ones told by my parents and grandparents about the Soviets, and I kept relating the Israeli wall to the German wall. This type of behavior naturally occurs since our brain links these stories to the ones that we've been previously exposed to. That being said, they will be altered by our cultural space and having them presented in such a universal way in my opinion washes down the culturally significant aspects of the story that an audience member, like myself would otherwise never be exposed to. These universally relatable stories lead to as much mediation, or even more, than highly edited and graphical representations of the real world.

Overall, I really enjoyed the video and I think it's an outstanding example of another technique that can be used in art to convey a message, definitely a good case study to analyze mediation and human perception of events with historic importance.

Valev Laube