Palestine in the Sky: Visionary Aesthetics, Atmospheric Warfare, and the Queer Feminist Utopias of Larissa Sansour
This paper advances queer, feminist, anti-colonial, and indigenous modes of thinking about the futures of Palestine. I will argue that a contrapuntal queer feminist analysis of visionary aesthetics in the work of London-based Palestinian visual artist Larissa Sansour provides an alternate perceptual regime through which to understand the "facts-on-the-ground" of contemporary US/Israeli security policing and counterinsurgency warfare. By closely reading her science fiction film trilogy series as a form of knowledge and critique, I question what speculative architecture, outer space, and Arab futurisms together might yield for thinking Palestinian sovereignty otherwise. Sansour's creative work invites us to dream outside the dystopian here and now of settler colonial rule in Palestine/Israel, to conjure an otherwise for a people imagined not to have a future, and to reach toward an elsewhere of Palestinian freedom unbridled by the strictures of settler security states. In the speculative visualities she constructs, the Palestinian predicament has not simply faded away, rendering the Israeli occupation and broader colonization of Palestine vanquished or dismantled. But, as I will show, Sansour's fantasy work does offer an outside and otherwise that makes it an exemplar of queer feminist visionary aesthetics. That is, her work conjures both a sensuous record of the present-day Israeli settler security apparatus, a violent territorial, ethical, and juridical project that is always registered and affectively felt on indigenous Palestinian Arab bodies, landscapes, and ecologies, as well as a necessary queer feminist recalibration of enduring questions about home, land, collectivity, sensation, embodiment, and sovereign futures beyond settler time.