Sights and Sounds: Israel

August 1 - 28, 2014

Sights and Sounds: Israel features new work by Guy Ben-Ner, Tali Keren, Mika Rottenberg, and Gilad Ratman, selected by Chen Tamir.

Installation view of Sights and Sounds: Global Film and Video in the Goodkind Media Center. Photo by David Heald.

Next to high technology, weapons, and produce, video art seems to be one of Israel’s major exports. Israeli video art did not develop in the late 1960s, as in North America and Europe, but rather emerged as a serious medium in the mid-1990s, largely influenced by mass media. In the early nineties, following the shift to a free-market economy, Israel went virtually overnight from having one black-and-white state-run television station to piping hundreds of cable channels to almost every household. The sudden mass exposure to networks from the United States, such as CNN and MTV, coincided with the 1991 war in the Persian Gulf, the first Palestinian Intifada, and the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Israelis began to see themselves from a new perspective: as filtered through the international news.

During this time, and not coincidentally, the hi-tech sector in Israel flourished and video cameras and VCRs started to become accessible. Against this backdrop, artists working today were coming of age and negotiating their social and political environment. Naturally, their work has often focused on the intersection of the personal and the political within Israeli society.

The four works gathered here do not directly document conflict; instead, they take a more fanciful approach, using highly constructed scenarios that may be read as allegories. Each takes a banal, everyday situation and infuses it with a fantastical narrative. All share underlying motifs of transformation and metamorphosis.

Chen Tamir
Curator

Chen Tamir (b. Tel Aviv, 1979) is the curator of the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv and associate director of Artis. She was previously executive director of Flux Factory, New York. She holds a Master’s degree from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, and has organized shows across Canada, the United States, and Israel.