A selection of video works
Curator: Hadas Maor
The video works presented in the Spot address questions of place, memory, and identity, delving into the transient, unstable dimension associated with these notions. As opposed to the distinctly absent presence of the body in the sculptural installations by Tatiana Trouvé and Yaara Zach, the video works in this cluster are based on private biographical stories, whether real or imaginary, told in the first person, unfolding a disrupted, flawed, lacking linear outline of individual identity which cannot be separated from the broader national-geographic context.
In all of the works, memory forms a major tool in constituting a self-perception of identity and belonging, yet memory is fragmented, broken, unraveled. Thus, much like the sculptural installations, the video works introduce concepts such as immigration, nomadism, affiliation, etc., ostensibly anchoring the principled dimension underlying these installations into a particular, time- and place-specific stance. While personal and specific, this stance is nevertheless subordinated to greater forces, which activate it in the public sphere, defining the boundaries of its existence.
Original Music: Uri Frost
Cinematography: Dana Levy, Daniel Nogueira, Ravi Pasupuleti
Thanks to the Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive,
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
Supported by the Artis Grant Program
Comprising three screens, Dana Levy’s video This Was Home presents three generations of the artist’s family simultaneously: The first screen presents her maternal grandfather, Karl Ribstein; the second shows her father, Yossi Levy; and the third features the artist herself. Levy documented each of these protagonists on a journey back to their childhood city and to the house where they grew up, which they had not visited since having to leave it in their childhood. Levy’s grandfather returns to Sosnowiec, Poland, from where he was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in the 1940s; her father returns to his hometown Cairo, Egypt, from which he was uprooted in the 1950s when his family immigrated to Israel, where they lived in an immigrant camp (ma’abara) in Haifa; and Levy herself revisits her childhood home in Atlanta, Georgia, which she had to leave when her family returned from the United States to Tel Aviv, her birthplace. The depiction of three generations in one work emphasizes the differences between their private stories, which are associated with different times and places. Presented side by side, however, their juxtaposition spawns a multi-generational journey of identity, a chapter in the age-old history of the Jewish genome.
Dor Guez’s camera captures the sun setting on a beach in the port city of Jaffa. The lull of the waves accompanies Samira Monayer’s narration of her childhood years in pre-1948 Jaffa, where she could walk just 100 steps from her family home to the Mediterranean. The narrator’s face is not seen, but her presence enchants the viewer nonetheless. Shifting freely between Arabic and Hebrew, she unfolds a spatial history, recounting the chronicles of her family, which was forced to leave its home in Jaffa, and scattered around the country and the world.
Raafat Hattab’s film crosses three visual axes—the images of a boy playing the violin, a mermaid cast onto Manshiyya beach near Jaffa, and a woman unfolding the story of her family—while shifting between the concrete and the symbolic. The visible private body, which is tattooed with the words “Jaffa the Bride of Palestine” in Arabic calligraphy, is the artist’s body; the narrated national body, which was scattered following the 1948 events, extends and bifurcates from the remarks made by the protagonist —Yousra, the artist’s aunt on his father’s side. The work follows Hattab’s struggle to join the historical master narrative, while at the same time formulating his own, hybrid and contemporary identity through the sacrifice metaphor extracted from the story of The Little Mermaid (Hans Christian Andersen, 1837).
With: Doraid Liddawi, Maya Maron
Script: Gal Dvir, Thalia Hoffman
Photography: Ran Muncaz
Sound Design: Irad Lee
Supported by: Other Israel
2048. Two refugees, a Jewish woman and a Muslim man, walk along a refugee road between Jaffa-Tel Aviv and Beirut, discussing love, memory, trust, and forgetfulness. The movement in the film occurs in several spheres simultaneously: the geographical sphere between Jaffa-Tel Aviv and Beirut; the temporal sphere between past, present, and future; the mental sphere between the young woman and the young man; the sphere of language between Hebrew and Arabic; the cultural sphere between the beginning of New Wave French cinema and contemporary local cinematic practice, since the work clearly alludes to such films as Hiroshima Mon Amour (script: Marguerite Duras, director: Alain Resnais, 1959) and Last Year at Marienbad (script: Alain Robbe-Grillet, director: Alain Resnais, 1961). Thus, the relationships between time and space, between truth and fiction, are constantly challenged throughout the film.