I began writing this paper during an intense escalation in violent Israeli armed interventions in Palestinians’ daily lives in the Occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip that began in May 2021 and continued throughout 2022. This was a period that animated digital spheres, as well as public spaces, with words, creative and subversive images, videos, memes, stories, graffiti, and poster art, constituting what Marwan Kraidy (2016) has termed revolutionary creative labour1, entailing the convergence of expression, production, and revolution. The ubiquitous contemporary Palestinian revolutionary creative labour enabled to a large extent by the creative and subversive use of digital technologies to construct new imaginations of Palestine recalls an older equally radical productive ‘conjucture’ in Palestinian history: the Palestinian revolutionary period of the 1960s and 1970s. That earlier period, too, saw the Palestinians’ public and private spaces, animated with creative imagery of Palestine and Palestinians in media, film, art installations, music, and poster art.
I use the concept of conjuncture as an orientation rather than a theory to address the dynamics of hegemony and counter-hegemony, and power and resistance, in Palestinian poster art, the most ubiquitous creative visual symbolic site of Palestinian creative interventions particularly during contexts of total social, political and economic upheaval in which everything is up for grabs. These contexts of tremendous flux and peril often compel people to mobilize and to enact subjective and objective changes to the world they live in. I do not suggest here that other periods in Palestinian history – such as the first and second intifadas, the post-Oslo period and Israel’s regular violent incursions in Gaza – are not worthy of attention nor do I suggest Palestinians’ creative revolutionary labour and interventions in popular culture are episodic. On the contrary, these interventions continuously and actively produce Palestine while articulating Palestinians’ changing experiences as “dynamic and articulated social presence(s) in the world’ 3 through and in which structures of feeling shape cultural meanings and values that have been and continue to be “actively lived and felt” (Williams, 1977: 26-27). In this paper, I focus on Palestinian political poster art not as a space of exception, but as an affective space of appearance through which Palestine is re-appeared and re-centred in aesthetic and political interventions in the relationship between Palestinians, as the ruled, and Israel, as the ruler.