passing futures

Posted: Sunday, 28 February 2010 | Posted by k | Labels: , , , , , ,

february 28th 2010

after 11 days in israel i am back in berlin, readjusting - no snow any longer, but piles and piles of rubbish that was covered in ice. maybe like this, or not:

the expedition

basically, i went for the closing workshop encounter of a gif-funded project called poetics and politics of the future which, for the last 3 years, brought together israeli and german theatre scholars and phd students from tel aviv and berlin free university. we had some more formal discussions and talks, but also academical forms that sought to maybe enable encounters on a more personal, individual level. not hammering in on a mass of people like with conferences (or teaching, for that matter) but disseminating knowledge or variations of that through a rather uneconomical version of black market (which is not unlike speed dating, but longer). anyways, how nicely weird meeting berlin colleagues in tel aviv. for me, getting to know some of the israeli group a bit better, namely in the person of freddie rokem, was very nice and created some interesting talks and inspiring discussions about my thesis, which i am going to write in israel/palestine on forms of performing senses of self and other - on the streets and in the sheets, sort of. the initial abstract thought of focusing on street art, which seems to say only so much. interestingly, we saw a nice amount of performance art in very private spaces, homes of people, where you would think that negotiations about self and other are slightly different from discussing them in public spaces. but, we'll see. more on that a little later.

we also did a tour through tel aviv with some person from the municipality, about architecture and restauration and stuff. it was very entertaining, as you can see here:

as it was my third time in israel, being back in a foreign or strange place in some situations wasn't so strange any longer, especially with regards to language and understanding, the initial blurry bliss when encountering layers and layers of unknown or incomprehensible words was pretty diminished. which is not at all saying that i understand, not even a little, but there's hints of known, that i clutch to desperately but lose nonetheless ... this will surely be an interesting problem when encountering such situations on a day to day life (now, said that, thinking you've grasped something and losing it again, is not honestly something so very outlandish, is it). but, yes.

him with the red shirt
february 22nd 2010

one encounter that haunted me for two days was initially taking place on the harbour promenade. i sat there, read, donated money for mentally disturbed kids and just generally enjoyed being bathed in sunlight and a fine mist that was blown over from the heavily breaking waves. anyhow, there came a young kid, maybe 17, who knows, light blue jeans, red shirt, dark hair, confusion, desperation and aggression written in his face, carrying a plastic bag full of clothes. he approached me and started talking in hebrew, which i could follow at first, and sat next to me. not so long after, i was becoming more and more frustrated and repeated that i would not want to go anywhere with him, even if that meant missing out on ahava, chaver, masagim, and generally really did not understand what he was saying. he kept insisting on talking in hebrew and i felt increasingly uncomfortable when he asked if i was cold and whether he could touch my knee. so i left. and he sort of went in the same direction northwards. he went on one of the outer piers, though, lucky me, and i sat, relieved, in a café and scribbled some notes, enjoying the sun and wind, and the lively talk of two elderly men next to my table. every now and again their hebrew was interrupted by german words and phrases. well, i sat, and after a little while this guy came, again. i saw him approaching other people, too, and hoped he wouldn't see me. which was not the case, of course. so he came and i basically yelled that i did not want to do anything, nor go anywhere. he insisted and i asked the men next to me if they could maybe translate and find out what he wanted. and it turns out, for then, that he was lost (i gathered as much), somewhat mentally disturbed (see, even before meeting, i donated ...) and basically looked for an occupation, help in a general (and not sexy fun related) sense of the word. i was irritated, thanked them, he left.
well, then, the following day, watching the sun set, a northern shadow approached me, i looked up and thought "no". there he was, again. i felt angry, irritated, whatnot. he actually managed an english sentence "look for fun". as i am not generally a fun person, i declined. he left very soon after that.

what you can encounter on the street in front of dizengoff centre in tel aviv, is a man, regularly singing there. it seems strangely lost, especially this song, there, maybe the young kids don't remember. at least, most passed. maybe the addition to am israel chai with be'seret is actually a valuable assumption. in the mirroring shop windows - all one shiny surface, whereas in the flesh, everyone on their own. somehow, that is not a statement limited to israel. are we not all caught in representational threads and threats, diminishing our ability to humanly interact? or to interact at all ...

now, to art, we need strict borders, so that they can clash and dissolve, do we not. as i wrote, a lot of performances we saw, were somewhat related to ha'dira - the flat - die wohnung. yes, for example we went to see a production titled ha'dira by the arab-hebrew theatre of jaffa, performed in the flat of the set designer, if i remember correctly, of the theatre, in tel aviv. an israel-palestinian adaptation directed by michael ronen to requested program - wunschkonzert by franz xaver kroetz with sara von schwarze and salwah nakkra. the play, consisting of stage directions only, and actually written for one actress was performed in an interesting way on several levels, and i may very well quote, as i had, basically, the same thought "one flat for two women like one land for two nations ... a fascinating happening which is developing like a musical fugue ... the great merit of this original performance is that the political meaning is implied and hidden in favor of the human message" (zvi goren, "habama" site). basically, we, as an audience, shared the same space with the two performers, said flat, and were not interactively involved in any way. salwah nakkra entered the flat first and followed (i presume) the stage directions of the play, undressed, cooked some dinner ...). she was, after a short time gap of about five minutes followed in action by sara von schwarze who performed, obviously in a different interpretation (she had sushi instead of bread), the same stage directions. well, there were cats, too, impressive acting (both cats, and actresses), no interaction whatsoever, and to make a long story short, the both end up dead, obviously.

another, very interesting thing we saw, was maya zack's short film mother economy that might deal with questioning gender roles at home and work, in a basically rather enigmatic way, a beautifully filmed meditation on absences, if of nomoi, topoi, oikoi, hard to say.

maya took some of us to several adorable places afterwards (well, after a fantastic dinner in barbounia restaurant): the corridor, the riff raff and the texidermi, all being sort of rather berliny bars with gorgeous peeps and decoration. and - she took us to lital dotan's and eyal perry's the glasshouse on hashomer street number 3, where on the flat's corridor a 24 hour long performance took place. basically, what lital and eyal seem to do, is living in their art and considering their art as their living. which, as a general statement might very well be considered hippiesque nonsense. but, we beg to differ, it was really quite impressive and in a certain way innocently aware and cautious. a great sense of hospitality and openness transferred to me. well, we saw this performance, in which lital was not allowed to leave the corridor, about five meters long, one and a half maybe in width. at the end of the corridor two signs on a table said "nail me to the wall" (displaying nails and a hammer) and "make me grid" (white colour and a knife). this short video documents one of these actions.

apparently, what they also do (but you might wanna check their website which is informative in many regards) is inviting people over to share their bed with lital for a night. i thought that an intriguing idea and found the initial question of whether or not two strangers in a sort of intimate setting would change their patterns of behaviour while asleep, sort of interesting (...). so, one night, wednesday, i went to their flat at about 11 p.m. lital and i had little talk, about their project, my project, art in general, upcoming things. maybe, we were getting to know each other a little better, maybe. eyal was not present in our conversation, which i initially thought a bit strange, but okay. in the morning he explained that this not getting to know the person that sleeps over before makes it easier for him to not overreact in an emotional way when he sees them sharing the bed with his partner. so, yes, we talked, and as lital had to get up at six in the morning ("but you can sleep longer if you want"), we decided to go to bed at about half past 12. the following frame was to be: we are naked, there is no sheets for covering, there is an infrared camera above the bed that documents the whole night, eyal is going to come in every hour to change the tapes. "i have to warn you, it is not comfortable, it's very cold."
the decision to go and do it, was somehow very rationally and easily done, of course i was wondering how that would feel, but fine, no problem, with a somewhat clinical ease (or not) we took off our clothes and laid down. it was incredibly hot in the room, about 30°c and radiators on each side of the bed were directed at us. we did not talk much and basically went to sleep (...). well, that is easier said than done, really, after about half an hour i started feeling really cold, especially my feet were icy. i went to the bathroom (it's what i usually do when sleeping in other people's beds), went back, it was incredibly hot again, tried to sleep, thought, cold, again. lital was having difficulty sleeping, too, but we did not consciously interact, neither verbally nor physically; later i wondered if the initiation for a closer bodily contact is "the job" of the guest, so to speak, she did not initiate, i did not, so we both laid there, cold.
the first hour passed without a second of sleep, it sort of was very good to know that it was not going to be a too long night. though i did not feel discomfort in a strict sense of the word, i wasn't comfortable, more restless and forced to think because i couldn't sleep. well, coming back from the bathroom in the second hour (it is actually quite funny to measure your experience by the intervals in which somebody is coming into the room and changes the tapes of a camera that records you being exposed), i took off my ring because my hands were swollen and put it on the nightstand. five minutes later, due to a combination of thoughts of restlessness and the ever-present camera, i somehow wondered how weirdly familiar that might look on the pictures. as if somebody takes off their individual past and bindings to anything else that is not that specific situation. bare yourself for encountering a stranger in an intimate setting. it sort of felt, at times, quite familiar, this laying next to a stranger, thinking "what the fuck am i doing here, why am i not leaving". in fact, not unlike a one night stand situation in which you find yourself wishing to leave, but you can't, maybe there's no taxi, who knows, or you think, "well, maybe if i stay it won't feel as detached in the morning and our shared intimate encounter will lead us to a mingling of spirit, body and soul", that sort of rather irrational and hopeless patterns of behaviour that some of us might find themselves in more often than others.
well, at some point, i somehow managed to fall asleep lightly, i guess. in the morning lital got up, i dozed a while longer, thought that, in the form of this filmed documentation "there's your lonesome stranger, left behind by the one they shared a bed with" ... of course, that is not per se how i necessarily felt, but maybe i couldn't help thinking out a narrative for the camera.
well, i got up, too, eyal made me a lovely toast, we chatted a bit; apparently i was the first woman in a row of until now 12 men, who all were, in different stages during the night, sought physical contact.
a very detached intimacy. i was so cold.

the green bed and the mirror

february 20th 2010

well, there were a lot more things. but, maybe that's enough for now. i went back to jerusalem for some days, were the gates to (or of?) heaven opened, it rained and stormed and thundered for two days, tiny ways in nachlaot neighbourhood became rapid streams.

one night, i went to the western wall and left an impossibility. going back unseeing made me feel like the angel of history. my little impossibility will impalpably get lost in the heap of history.

also, i went to the synagogue for shabbat. felt very intrusive. left soon. natu was reminded of his past by the singing that was the same as in his shul. the singing made me sad. on the rainy way home, through some window, i heard "rainy days never say goodbye to desire when we are together. rainy days growing in your eyes, tell me where's my way". i was reminded of the piano.

due to the rain, or general lazyness, hila and i've watched candy by neil armfield. and i thought of doing something on being willing but as troubled as the time and the circumstance. being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the desire to halt and contemplate. or the desire for pain and pleasure. or the need to risk. or the resignation and fear that comes with it. i did all my best to smile and not be drowned in sorrow. this is the result and it is for you: