Hic non Est by Nazare Soares

 Hic Non Est[1] is an experimental moving image work that explores and investigates the connections between history, religion and socio-political conflicts of the occupied territories of Palestine. The film is structured in the form of visual diary; the structure of missionary and pilgrim books is applied to create the sense of going through the old book.  The piece locates questions about fragmentation and dis-continuity of history, interpretation of historical events and gaps produced by social political and cultural persuasions. Elements of the past that are intangible and unseen are revaluating through cognitive experience of the moving image work. One of the achievements is to interconnect socio political conflict on the land to different interpretation of historical religious events, archeology and geography.

The film may represent the nature fragmentation and rupture of events; aesthetics are applied to release history as a stimulus of exploration in the present time, so lineal chronologies may be brought into question. Indexical history and its relation to art film, time consciousness and the relation between memory and perception of time are concepts to investigate.



Background research:

 In my time in Palestine I looked at its archeology and geography, primary researches made have been walks through the faults of Jericho and surrenders with colleagues, we explored the landscapes, recorded sound escapes and shoot still,  super 8 film as well as HD and low resolution video. From the walks we discussed the nature of the landscape and how it has been shaped along years. I recorded material in my visits to historical key places where religion and history is connected to the present conflict of the land.

“Thus by the grave of the buried dead the giants showed dominion over their lands, and Roma law called for burial of the dead in a proper place to make it religious. With truth they could pronounce these heroic phrases: we are sons of this earth, we are born from these oaks” (Vico)

 The Land of Canaan, In ancient near east was the land promised by god to Abraham. Nowadays that is the area of Israel, Palestinian territories, Lebanon and western parts of Syria and Jordan. The origins of at least three most believed religions on earth began in The Land of Canaan. The same god is adored here by believers of different prophets and messiahs.

The origin of the nations; with the conquest of Canaan were applied laws by god hand. The name of god has been used since then to create the first nations, origins of colonialism has its roots in that epoch.

Nowadays the holy land is reduced to what we called Israel and Palestinian territories, no long ago Palestine. Archaeology, geography and theology are linked strongly to what is called the history of the holy land. Land of pilgrims and missioners.Secondary researches have been done in lecture of holy book such as Koran, Bible and Torah, investigating connection to these historical locations, manuscripts and its different interpretations. Land for pilgrimage, the holy land has been the subject of missionary books through hundreds of years since first monotheism.


“To speak of a religious mission immediately conjures up questions about what the purpose of the mission is—to inform people, to change peoples’ morals, to enlarge the membership of a religious association—who the people are, why the mission is needed, and by what means the mission will be pursued. To speak of religious conversion also elicits questions about rites of passages, medium and message, public recognition, psychological disposition, and varieties of conversion (partial, full, intellectual, cultural, social, etc.)” (Bird)


Presence and absent,  Archeology traces evoke presence and absent of the buried body , the bones of the ancestors have been unburied by theologians in religions expeditions in the last hundred years, searching holy proof of their prophets existence  and so they have the right for a sacrilege upon it. The defragmentation and possession of history:


It is in the earth itself that is written that we have our place here. Dig up its fossils, unearth its graves, excavates its cities, and read the scripts for yourself. They all say: hic jacet”[2] (Harrison)

We find a clear reference of the notion of absent and presence in the manuscripts and gospels about Jesus Resurrection as well. when Maria Magdalena goes back to Jesus tomb to look for his body and she find a young man that reinforces the fact that Jesus is not there among them, he is not resting in there, no bones and no traces of him are found, his body remains somewhere timeless, and is only Jesus talking about his own absence that would suggest a kind of warning on beliefs and god worship.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him” Saint Mark 16:6



The film contains a collection of visual and sound material edited through different layers and depths.  Aesthetic choices are planned to break expectation on associations that may the observer have in relation to the places represented in the film. The project is based on sound escapes because its intangible nature and abstract form to define memory and history of the holy land. The soundscape will drive the observer into a kind of alienation through time, history and place. Some of the most relevant sounds to work with are the sound of Israel air force helicopter, religious prays and church bells, the soundscape of the Jericho dessert, museums and holy temples tour guide recording, etc…The intention is to create a sound piece where different elements mix with each other, layering over, creating a kind of allegory within the moving image.  

Editing techniques:

 Editing strategies are based on concept of layering and intercutting following shapes and form patterns in the strip of film.

One of the transition most used in the editing process will be the wipe, the wipe is a editing transition used in early cinema to describes the passing of time. Also the wipe works as a perfect metaphor for going through the book pages.

 Other editing transitions to use are abstracts shaped formed by low resolution video juxtaposed with HD film.

Filtering layers of different film and digital video resolutions and formats.




Bird, Michael. F. Crossing Over Sea and Land: Jewish Missionary Activity in the Second Temple Period. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2010. Print.

Harrison, Robert Pogue. The Dominion of The Dead. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003. Print.

Vico, Giambattista. The New Science Of Giambattista Vico. Ed. Thomas. Goddard Bergin and Harold Fisch Max. London: Cornell University Press., 1948. Web. <;.



The Land and The book :




[1] Latin, ‘he is not here’

[2] Latin, ‘here lies’, the first two words of a Latin epitaph


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