“First the air is blue and then / it is bluer and then green and then / black I am blacking out and yet / my mask is powerful / It pumps my blood with power”
And Yet My Mask is Powerful is a new publication by Palestinian artist duo Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme. The work is an encompassing visual poem that develops the artists’ ongoing project of the same name, exploring the intersections of performativity and ritual, body and artifact, thingness and virtuality.
Comprised of several narrative threads, And Yet My Mask is Powerful is a reflection on violence and crisis as it filters down through history, mythology, and into the complexities of our present moment. The book takes Adrienne Rich’s poem Diving Into the Wreck (1973) as its starting point and allegorical framework, with portions of that text running through the book in English and Arabic side by side. The project is built up through the layering of original and found imagery, providing both a formal and conceptual structure for thinking about people/place within a living fabric that has been compromised.
Archival photos, stills of video/media files, and performance documentation are shuffled and overlapped until unscripted connections start to emerge.