Yazan Khalili lives and works in and out of Palestine. He is an architect, artist, and cultural producer. His works have been exhibited in several major exhibitions, including among others: KW, Berlin, 2020. MoCA, Toronto, 2020. New Photography, MoMA 2018. Shanghai Biennial 2016. He was the director of Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre between 2015 and 2019. He is one of the founders of Radio Alhara, Palestine. Currently he is the co-chair of the Photography department of the MFA programme at Bard College, NY, a PhD candidate at ASCA, University of Amsterdam, and a guest researcher at Rijksakademie.
His practice frames landscapes, institutions, and social and technological phenomena as politicized entities. His background in architecture allows him to look at landscape in a critical manner, deconstructing colonial visual discourse around Palestinian landscape. His practice engages with the settler colonial question, whether in Palestine or elsewhere. He has worked extensively on surveillance related technologies such as facial recognition and its links with indigenous masks and European recognition of who is human during European colonization. He is interested in structures, institutional as well as other, and how those structures are built, and how they perform. This aspect can be traced both in his work at Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, in Ramallah where he has been leading the institution, critiquing funding and the foundations of a cultural institution under settler colonialism, and in his recent installation on the roof of the Palestinian Museum where he has installed a large stone emphasising the ‘weight’ of art and the institutional responsibility that comes with it. Khalili uses multiple forms, however in his videos, photography and artist books his textual narratives play a large part. He is aware of the fluctuating economy of the image and the visual archive in our time, at many times alluding to it, and so ensures to add a scrupulous narrative over it. The tone of the narrative is never abstract, but mostly poetic, as if refusing to engage in a ‘factual’ tone, entrusting the language of fiction to the oppressed.