Internal Conflict

2014

Plaster, paint, fabric, antique toaster, found objects, rigid foam

24" x 30" x 12"

 

Taking a convention of western media and international relations for its title, Internal Conflict exposes the paradoxical nature of the phrase in relation to the ongoing Syrian war. ‘Internal conflict' sustains the fiction of self-inflicted harm to a coherent national body by excluding intervention and imperial histories as formative to violence in Syria. Parts of an antique toaster are repurposed as architectural elements so that what was once the innards of the machine is now the outside of the home — former toaster slots become symmetrical windows and electrical circuits are rewired for a surveillance camera. Turned inside-out, Hafez ironizes the idea of “internal" civil war in Syria and reveals it as a historical product of multiple imperial interventions. To understand the current conflict in Syria as purely an "internal" affair rather than a proxy war would be to discount the intricate engineering of international policy that has embroiled Russian, Iranian, Saudi, and US forces within warfare in Syria.. The ‘internal' here is not a space within but a border that opens an uninhabitable space between.

A digital program, with student curated research materials, for the exhibition Critical Refuge: Sculptures by Mohamad Hafez on view at the Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University, August 30 - December 20, 2017.

This project is generously sponsored by the YALE Digital Humanities Laboratory, the Council on Middle East Studies, the Public Humanities Program and the Whitney Humanities Center.