- Artist Raeda Saadeh
- Title Vacuum
- Date 2007
- Medium 2-channel video
- Credit Commissioned and produced by Sharjah Art Foundation
In the two-channel video installation Vacuum, Raedah Saadeh carefully vacuums the barren desert hills of Palestine, working her way from the distance, towards the still camera. The unnerving sound of the vacuum cleaner intermingles with the blowing winds of the hills to provide the sole soundtrack to the video. In displacing a mundane domestic task and performing it in an absurd context, Saadeh emphasises the inanity of our tendency to preoccupy ourselves with tedious, repetitive tasks that distract from deep-seated issues which are not as easy to ‘clean up’.
Aside from engaging with the personal sphere, the nonsensical and impossible task of vacuuming the naked hill highlights the ineffectualness of attempts at tidying up political realms as well. The work, in a sense, confronts the popular Zionist slogan, ‘A land without a people for a people without a land’, demonstrating that, just as it is futile to try and ‘clean’ a mountain of all the dust and rocks that form the essence of its composition, it is infeasible to erase – completely – the memory of a people from its homeland.
Filmed between Jericho and the Dead Sea, Saadeh’s Sisyphean video references the ceaseless effort and work that goes into day-to-day survival in Palestine and the seeming endlessness of the struggle for liberation.