The Activist Club has room for about 25 people, so please reserve your seat timely.
19.00 - introduction by Galit Eilat, director Israeli Center for Digital Art
19.15 - screening of films with the theme Re-Constructions
The video works in the Re-Constructions screening program deal with the construction of consciousness in Israeli architectural and textual space, where the violent notion of “burning into the consciousness” (a term that was introduced during the second intifada describing the purpose of the Israeli Army actions against the Palestinians as a process of burning their consciousness so that they will give up the idea of resisting the Israeli occupation) or “facts on the ground” that the Israeli politician use has entered Israeli media and public discourse, replacing expressions such as “building consciousness” or “constructing consciousness. ”Some of the video works chosen for this program deal with Re-Constructions of reality through simulation methods, methods shaping the reality of the present. In all the works, psychological borders are externalised in different degrees and made physical.
The following films will be screened on 3 December:
Avi Mograbi, Details 11-13, 2009 [11’30’’]
Yael Bartana, Wild Seeds, 2005 [6’40’’]
Nira Pereg, Sabbath, 2008 [7'30'']
Amir Yatziv, Detroit, 2009 [15'00'']
Yossi Attia en Itamar Rose, Darfur, 2008 [4'00'']
Malki Tesler, Playground, 2008 [8'00'']
All films are from the archive of the Israeli Center for Digital Art.
The Activist Club (2007 (2009)) by Chto Delat, a collective of artists, critics, philosophers and writers from St. Petersburg and Moskou, is is part of the exhibition Rien ne va Plus, in the first part of Play Van Abbe. Rien ne va plus displays a number of installations and projects from the museum’s collection during the period 1966 up to the present, by artists who tackle social issues in an explicit dialogue with the museum context. The emphasis is on the story of the artists who involve the visitor in their ‘game’.
In the Activist Club Chto Delat, a collective of artists, critics, philosophers and writers from St. Petersburg and Moskou, is concerned with topics in the field of tension between art, political theory and activism. They designed a small cinema with a study and discussion area and use the museum as a public place in order to initiate a discussion about the position of art in our society.
The Israeli Center for Digital Art is a dynamic platform for thinking, researching, producing, presenting, and analyzing contemporary art, as well as providing a meeting point for exchange between contemporary artists, curators, critics and the public. Its Video Archive is unique in that it is the only media and video art archive open to the public in Israel. It is distinguished by a concentration of local and regional Middle East and Balkan works and by creating work contacts with similar bodies worldwide based on the exchange of information, knowledge, and work collections, enabling the expansion of the archive and the investigation of contemporary Israeli artistic production. A sister project to the Video Archive considers how to make the archive dynamic and valuable to different audiences; as a result, the “Mobile Archive” is slated to travel for three years internationally, receiving up to twenty five works from each host.
The Video Archive includes over 1,750 video art works, sound works, films, and documentation of performances, installations, and conferences that have taken place in the framework of the center's activities. The materials in the Video Archive facilitate key discussions on Israeli identity and explore issues of nationalism, militarism, and human rights. Many offer alternative narratives.
Videos by B'Tselem (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) present oft unseen documentation, video artist and filmmaker Avi Mograbi raises debate about the responsibility of soldiers in the IDF. International artists like Artur Zmijewski, Filipa Cesar, and Marcus Coates, offer a look into Israeli society from the outside-in.
The catalogue also includes video works from neighbouring Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran and Turkey; the materials cannot be found elsewhere in Israel. Providing access to them is an effort made by the Israeli Center for Digital Art to enable otherwise impossible cross-cultural exchange and to deconstruct the image of the 'other' in Israeli society.
In the newly edited Details 11/13 in Avi Mograbi's Details series, we are in a vehicle,with a few men driving in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. The recognised voices belong to Avi Mograbi, Miki Karzman and Gideon Levy. Gideon Levy is a journalist for Haaretz newspaper. He is a prominent left-wing commentator and publishes the weekly column "Twilight Zone", together with the artist and photographer Miki Kartzman.
In both films we are listening to the discussion inside the car of how far to enter the territory; as journalists, unlike other Israelis, they can enter the Palestinian Territories' Zone 1. Yet even with the permission of the IDF, they are not sure when the soldiers will start to shoot at them. They advance slowly and cautiously, not afraid of the Palestinian police but from their own army.
Yael Bartana's Wild Seeds was shot in the Occupied Territories, in the beautiful mountainous landscape of the Prat region. It is based on a simulation game called "Evacuation of the Gilad Farm Outpost" created by a group of young Israeli leftist activists, conscientious objectors for the most part, shortly before their IDF recruitment.
The original installation consists of two video channels, one features an image (the aforementioned simulation game), and the other – a text in English. In this screening the image and the text are united on one channel. The soundtrack belongs to a female Reform cantor singing about the love of God. The text is not a simultaneous translation of the participants' cries; instead it is edited in relation to the image, anchoring it in the Israeli political context, acquainting us with the terminology of leftist demonstrators: "Join the refusniks, you fascist," "police state," "give up, you fascist."
In Sabbath 2008, Nira Pereg documents the closing of ultra-Orthodox neighbourhoods in Jerusalem to automobile traffic before the Sabbath enters. The delineation of the streets creates an enclave, separate from secular lifestyle. This transitive border for 24 hours, once the barriers are erected, ensures that no cars are allowed into Jerusalem’s ultra-orthodox neighbourhoods. The city is thus topologically transformed into two cities – with and without cars. Building on this ritual, Sabbath 2008, Jerusalem, is a photographic ritual that can only be performed at a designated time and in designated places. Although the value of these somewhat rickety barriers may appear above all symbolic, their presence is a source of friction and conflict; they delineate a clear cut boundary between the sacred and the everyday.
In Detroit, Amir Yatziv presents a map of an IDF-built Arab village to architects who aren’t aware that it was built as a military training area. They analyse the influence of the city’s structure on its imaginary inhabitants. The title of the video is borrowed from this training area near Ze’elim in the country’s southern region. “Detroit” is a 1:1 simulation of a Palestinian city of identical area. The simulation generates an alternative reality which conceals the true reality.
The training city “Detroit” was intended to prepare soldiers for combat in a built-up area. It resembles a Muslim quarter, thus meeting the users’ needs in a simulation which would furnish them with a fantasy of an Arab city. The essence of this city is replaced by its fictive image. “Detroit” even contains live targets. A private company supplies extras with an “Eastern” look to play the Palestinians in the simulation. Is “Detroit” a simulation that went out of control during the operation in Gaza? The Gazan “Detroit” is devoid of flowering gardens; the city’s residents are mere extras, and the houses contain no books or any other sign of life.
In Darfur, Yossi Attia and Itamar Rose test how Israeli passersby would react if they were standing on the Egyptian border and had the power to decide whether to allow Sudanese refugees to cross the border or leave them on the other side and thus seal their fate.
Since the year 2000 refugees from Africa have been seeking refuge in Israel. Up to now the state of Israel has no clear, agreed upon policy on how to handle the refugee phenomenon. As such, Israel must be involved in a solution for the Darfur refugees. One of the main obstacles in finding a solution inside Israel is Israel's role as a nation-state, a Jewish state, and not a state ffor all its citizens. Yossi and Itamar's short film simulates the physical border which must be traversed in order to measure psychological borders in Israeli public opinion in their reaction to the asylum seekers in Israel.
In Playground, Malki Tesler conquers a slide in a children's playground. She sits on it and refuses to move. The film evolves mainly around the reactions of the parents whose children's play has been interrupted. The reactions develop into near-violence, exposing the absurd gravity and speed by which the situation deteriorates the moment a blockage is entered into even the most playful of Israeli landscapes.