portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article portland metro

imperialism & war

American Berlin Wall - Art Opening

Come see the work of Kanaan Kanaan, an artist from Palestine who lives in Portland. His American Berlin Wall is (re)opening this Wednesday, May 15th at 6pm, 3525 SE Milwaukee. Here is his statement about the work.
This is an invitation to those who have not seen my artwork "the
American Berlin Wall" yet. This opening May 15, 6 PM, is going to be the last opening before the installation is dismantled. The dismantling date is May 17th starting at 5 PM. Please come and join us for this preview. On May 17th we are going to have a group show of emigrant artist to celebrate diversity and the mosaic of our culture. We will have traditional food and music. Join us and celebrate diversity. Bring a friend.

Gallery Address
3525 SE Milwaukee
This is a private gallery. It is a Victorian house. Do not get confused.

Here is my statement about "the American Berlin Wall".

"The American Berlin Wall" is a reflection of my seven years of
experience living in the United States. It is an interpretation of how I see American life. It is about the influence of American politics on the American people. Itıs about the intentional isolation of the American people.

The American people are being isolated through imposed mental, cultural
and psychological boundaries. Extreme individualism combined with a
consumption mentality are promoted as the "American Dream", while in reality they serve to deepen the isolation of the individual.

Hollywood and the media have built a "reflected image" of the ideal
American, which is based on the mirage of the "American dream". This
image is inescapable; there are no alternatives offered. The media has
manipulated us to a degree that we cannot live in healthy communities. We cannot open up our lives. We feel "safer" and more secure living in our boxes that were designed for us like cocoons. We live in grid-based cities. We work in cubicles. We watch and stare at cubes most of the day, TVs and computers. We drive boxes, and the list goes on.

This psychological and social isolation represents, in my view, a
"Divide and Conquer" colonialist strategy. Most Americans have become victims of this new colonialist experimentation. The American culture has been fragmented internally down to the family level -- and isolated from the outside world as well. Media titans have established a practice of manipulating the American people, and have built the illusion of the American dream for Americans to be occupied with.

One could say we have the freedom of choice. That is true, but if you
think about it, you end up choosing what is already packaged and marketed to you. It is the illusion of choice. The choice has been made for you.

In addition to the social and political aspects of this artwork, it is
also represents a spontaneous stream of consciousness process. I want to show the disconnect between the outside and the inside worlds in one's mind, and portray an inner struggle with a sense of isolation and irony.

I want you to take action and help dismantle the wall. Take a tile or
tiles as a promise to remind yourself that you want to stay out of the box.

Kanaan Kanaan
2002