Contemporary Agriculture in Israeli Art. Curator: Tali Tamir 19.2.2015 - 13.6.2015

Oded Hirsch’s films are centered on two major themes: an absurd attempt to challenge human capabilities and an implied reference to utopian pioneering projects. Hirsch creates artificial, planned situations, thereby modeling a bubble-like world, a type of “laboratory” which isolates and expands a single act, while charging it with visually and emotionally powerful, literally breathtaking, existential meaning.
In his current film, which takes place in an unidentified mountainous site, Hirsch orders a group of elderly peasants to dig in the ground with simple tools they brought with them. Shot in black and white, the film’s expressive style corresponds with Soviet director Alexander Dovzhenko’s 1930 film Earth, unfolding the first encounter of peasants in the kolkhoz with agrarian technology in the form of a tractor. In Hirsch’s version, the old tractor is a type of fossil buried in the ground, and retrieved as a cultural icon. Despite the absence of geographic and national identification marks in the film, this confined drama and its protagonists allude to the declining mythology of Zionist agriculture and the era of legendary heroes who fostered it.