Since the year 2007, when I first participated in Jerusalem 2050 competition, Israel has been one of the countries, I tried to know more about. It is a country with a lot of paradoxes in itself (I am sure you all know, why :-)), and I happen to discover various different sides of the country, the people and culture through my reading, participating in activities and interacting with some people from Israel. Always eager to learn more, when I heard about a public event organized by the Consulate of Israel in Bengaluru, I jumped into this opportunity and participated in this event organized at Alliance Française de Bangalore.
About the video artists
The show host was SAMANTHA ADLER DE OLIVEIRA, a video artist herself. At the start of the event, Samantha talked more about the medium of video artist and how it is different from other art forms. Video as an art form started in the 1960’s in conjunction with the emergence of analog video technology and evolved over the years. Today, video & film are totally mixed together. Video artists tend to challenge the conventions of cinema, such as the need for professional actors or a narrative plot.In her view, video is self-reflective: it asks questions about the moving image.
Samantha’s work as a video artist developed during her stay in Israel. She talked about how political events in the 90’s have changed the Israeli society and influenced artistic culture. This is reflected in many ways in the work of artists. She also warned that artworks should not be categorized solely on the basis of nationality. After this introduction she showed us 5 selected videos from top Israeli video artists including herself 🙂
Artistic videos presented in the event
For the Record by Ruti Sela
In this video, Ruti Sela participated in a painting residency program hosted by the Jerusalem Municipality. She painted portraits of the people working in the office, and most importantly she documented her conversation with them during these sessions. . Frankly speaking, at first, I did not understand anything about this video. Later, as Samantha explained the concept behind this, I understood it better.
It was a video about Individualism vs. Institutional-ism, and about the power of Art vs. the power of Law.
In Israel, everyone has to undergo 2-3 years of compulsory military service. The fact that all citizens must at some point wear the uniform and join the military institution, affects the shaping of their identity as individuals.
Marganith by Tzion Abraham Hazan
This one was my favorite and I hope, you will like it too. This video is an ode to the Marganith Tower, a central military base in Tel-Aviv. Marganith is also a type of flower in Hebrew. The artist decided to circle around this highly-protected tower, , and filmed a beautiful picture of the surrounding area . The poem at the end is a strange, melodious love song to the Marganith Tower. I wish to know some Hebrew to truly appreciate the work of the artist.
You can watch the video here & can also visit the website of the artist Tzion Abraham Hazan.
Drop the monkey by Guy Ben Ner
This video is a phone conversation between an artist and his alter-ego. Guy Ben Ner makes films using whatever he has, using his own apartment, his own children and even made a film using an IKEA store as a film set .
In 2009, he received some funding for his artistic work. He asked himself: how can I use this funding to serve my personal life? . His girlfriend was living in Berlin at that time and he decided to use this funding to finance his flights from Tel-Aviv to Berlin, and justified it by the concept of his film: this video, which consists in a phone conversation between the artist in Israel and his alter-ego in Berlin, was done without any form of editing. As far as I could understand from the translation, the film depicted an ethical conflict: should the artist use art for his life, or life for his art? Or keep the two entirely separate?
Vanishing Monument by Orr Menirom
This film was shot in Finland and Samantha said Finland is considered to be totally opposite of Israel. She talked about the video, telling how Israeli people are very much concerned with their past memories. Because of many conflicts, wars; many of them lost their loved ones and reviving those memories is an important aspect of Israeli society. This video was telling the same.
This video was made by the show host Samantha and showcased contrasting views about Jerusalem. I must say, I did not understand much of it. My imagination of Jerusalem has been shaped over the years and I was seeing this video in totally different ways. You might have a different opinion after watching this video yourself here
About the Artist Samantha Adler de Oliveira
Samantha Adler de Oliveira was born in Paris in 1985 and grew up in Brussels. She completed a BA in European Studies at King’s College London before immigrating to Israel in 2007. She earned a Fine Art degree from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, during which time she spent a semester at the School of Visual Arts in New York. In 2011 she participated in the European Exchange Academy and is a recent graduate of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine. She received a special mention at the Mediatine Award for Emerging Artists in Belgium (2011), the Aileen Cooper Prize for outstanding graduate show (2012), and was nominated at Jerusalem Film Festival’s Video Art and Experimental Cinema Competition (2014).
Her works have been shown in exhibitions and festivals in and outside Israel. She had her first one-person exhibition at the Architect’s House in Tel-Aviv Yaffo in 2013.
Taken from her website
Based on observation of videos during the events, may not reflect everything true to the fact.