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They Are Shooting At Our Shadows: First Exhibition by Al-Haq’s FAI Unit held at the University of Santa Cruz
09، Jul 2024


Featuring a series of visual investigations of state violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Al-Haq’s Forensic Architecture Investigation Unit (FAI) held its first exhibition, They Are Shooting at Our Shadows, at the University of California Santa Cruz, which spanned between February and March 2024.   

The exhibition came as part of a collaboration between FAI and the Visualizing Abolition Program at The Institute of Arts & Science (IAS) at UCSC. As to introduce the interconnections between the question of abolition sought for by the program at IAS and the question of liberation carried in this case by Palestinians.

Installation View, Metal sheet, University of California Santa Cruz 2024.

Exhibition Text:

“They Are Shooting At Our Shadows” delves into the multifaceted nature of the systematic devastation of the civilian infrastructure and social fabric of Palestine, and its impacts on both the physical and psychological realms of those affected.

Installation View, Investigative Board No. 03, University of California Santa Cruz 2024.

The title of the exhibition, taken from the words of a survivor of a deadly raid in Jenin, a city in the West Bank, evokes not only the legacies of colonial violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, but also the endless innovation and resistance of the Palestinian people. It also alludes to the nature of violence the Palestinians have been subjected to, as something at once materially destructive—now genocidal—and discursive, grounded in perception and representation. 

Yet the landscape of colonial erasure is being actively transformed by an influx of visual materials, open-source evidence, and technological innovation, all of which have revolutionised the terminology and methodologies being deployed by Palestinians in their ongoing pursuit of self-determination.

Installation View, Re-enactment; The Willful Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, University of California Santa Cruz 2024.

They Are Shooting At Our Shadows was originally conceived with a central focus on the Israeli raids in Jenin. In the wake of Israel’s unfolding genocidal offensive on the Palestinian people in Gaza, the Al-Haq FAI Unit has adapted the exhibition space to serve also as a site of experimentation and in-progress documentation, revealing a catastrophic landscape for Palestinian human rights and anti-colonial resistance in the country. 

Installation View, Jenin 2002 Map, University of California Santa Cruz 2024. 

Together the exhibited works reveal the Palestinian Nakba—Arabic for “catastrophe,” referring to the destruction and forced depopulation of Palestinian towns and villages in 1948—not only as an isolated historical event, but as an ongoing strategy of elimination by the Israeli settler-colonial project.