Situation Room | Itay Ziv
Curator: Hila Cohen-Schneiderman
In times of battle, the situation room is the beating heart which channels blood to the body’s various organs, or the brain which gives commands. For Itay Ziv, transforming the Collection Gallery of Petach Tikva Museum of Art into a war room is a vital act in light of the personal-security situation which has ostensibly accompanied Israel since its establishment. Its construction in an art gallery responds to a public situation. It is a “natural-necessary” outcome of confrontation with the Israeli reality, which is chronically on the verge of catastrophe, permanently sustaining a state of emergency. The acts taking place in the military-artistic nerve center are administrative, observational, and controlled; acts of relaxing and control, examination and defense, all of which fail to lead to a realistic solution.
The gallery will be transformed into a dynamic space, a facility oscillating between the public and the private, the realistic and the psychotic, between its known form as a military room and an artist’s private studio. Ziv contemplates art’s upset usability in preparing for the next war. In many respects, he refers to war as an a-priori disrupted situation for which one cannot prepare, let alone function normally and orderly in it. In this context, Ziv relates to the nuclear threat on Israel and the public fears it triggers. As a responsible artist who wishes to better his preparedness, he turns to professionals and authorized parties for relevant advice. The interviews with them, however, expose the apparatuses by which anxiety is instilled in the public, which have become an operative tool in the hands of security professionals, mainly attesting to their eroded deterrence. Thus, the public remains ultimately indifferent to them, castrated, unable to feel fear, which is a prime survival mechanism; in other words, we are left unable to protect ourselves.
Semi-documentary for the most part, Ziv’s works flirt with the documentary and undermine it at the same time. They always maintain direct relations with reality, yet deconstruct their faithfulness to the concrete via editing manipulations. Editing is a powerful tool in Ziv’s hands, intended not to distort reality, but to lay the dominant vein concealed in it bare. The current work engages not only in a description of hysteria, but also draws attention to the apparatuses generating it, while exposing the economic, political, and ideological mechanism at its core. Ziv’s Situation Room transpires on the line between fiction and reality. Clinging to both these poles is a tactic often used in his oeuvre to discuss intricate, potentially explosive subject matter.