After the Traces of the Ottoman Empire
This issue is an additional product of the research group “Resilience and Agility” that worked throughout 2022 as part of a collaboration between the Institute for Public Presence at the Center for Digital Art, and Tmu-na Theater.
This issue is another chapter in the multidisciplinary, multifaceted research project that has been taking place at the Center for Digital Arts for over a year. In continuing the research groups, the “Water Affairs” exhibition and the Atlas of Mediterranean Liquidity, this issue also offers a broad range of contexts in which water manifests as a site and a memory, as law and as a national project, as a source of conflict and as an opening to new opportunities. Man’s powerful desire to control water — liquid that exists in constant motion, is expressed in the drawing of borders, digging ditches, enacting laws and building dams — all in a desperate attempt to discipline what cannot be disciplined. The small water lexicon created for this issue moves between the past and the future, from existing conflicts to suggestions of a different perspective on planning, management and coexistence with water.
This issue of Maarav is the product of our wanderings in Abu-Kabir and not a reflection of them. The issue does not seek to give an overview of the neighborhood or describe our journey through it. Rather, it offers different thoughts and diverse perspectives. In this sense, it is a collection of pieces describing the way in which the place was interpreted by the group’s different participants. It is an attempt to teach ourselves to pay attention to the places which we pass through, to learn to move through them and observe the different layers and readings that they invite. It does not address every aspect of the place, nor does it pretend to say something comprehensive. It is simply a collection of perspectives on one place, foreign and familiar, near and far in which we did not intervene, nor leave a mark.
Now, as we celebrate the center’s first two decades, it is a time to reflect back as we also look ahead to the future, reviewing changes over time, the qualities that characterize it and the possibilities for what is to come. At our journal, Ma’arav, we have invited writers, artists, curators, and collaborators to consider the center and the significance of art institutions at this time.
This Issue of Maarav is going online in conjunction with Print Screen Festival for Digital art in Holon; together they explore different aspects of the unseen in digital culture. When looking at things from a drone’s eye view, we can see that becoming invisible involves a complex process, rather than a sole action.
This edition of Maarav is concurrent with the opening of the Print Screen Festival, focusing this year on the delicate seam between creation and imitation, creativity and duplicity, and between “make” and “fake”. Dozens of artists, scientists, designers, filmmakers, and technology experts from Israel and abroad will take part.
In January 2017 we assembled a group of artists, curators, and intellectuals within the framework of the Institute for Public Presence at the Center for Digital Art in Holon to think together about the concept “gesture”. Throughout the year we read theoretical texts, examined works created by members of the group and other artists, and attempted to understand “gesture” as a concept, an action, a political space, an artistic expression, and as a theoretical and critical tool.
This issue accompanies the Neo-Monumental exhibition which engages with the attitudes of contemporary artists with the physical presence of monuments in Israel’s public space, and with the narrative contexts they seek to maintain.
Included in this issue are compilations on The Complete Jessy Cohen Museum and one on the concept of “gesture”.
As part of the new outline plan for the city of Holon, urban renewal will take place in Jessy Cohen, the neighborhood where the Center for Digital Art is located. Following this, the Center’s conference was dedicated this year to “Evacuation-Reconstruction” – the conference will deal specifically with urban renewal in Jessy Cohen, and more generally on Housing issues, home and the relation between residents and the place they lives in. The conference was two days of workshops, talks and lectures. This supplement includes the documentation of the talks and lectures.
Toward a Lexicon of Usership is an influential essay in the theory of contemporary art. It was written in English by Stephen Wright, a theorist of practice who lives in Paris and Canada, and published in 2013 by Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. In the summer of 2016 I began translating the essay presented in Ma’arav in a Hebrew version.
Maarav’s Museutopia issue brings together two text and video compilations. One includes talks and articles about Ilya Rabinovich’s national museum photography project recently exhibited at the Israeli Center for Digital Arts. The other documents the Sanhedrin conference held at the center in 2008, which dealt with the relation between museums and nation-states.
A rhetorical fig leaf, the coinage “according to foreign sources” is a common tongue-in-cheek expression in many countries, Israel among them. Although it derives from a situation of legal obscurity, it is nevertheless used with distinctive clarity concerning the punishment for those who dare remove the leaf. “According to foreign sources” has become a prevalent expression in official briefings, the media, and academic discourse. It is habitually used to skirt censorial restrictions whose justification is security in the broadest and most unrestricted sense. It allows the speaker to evade responsibility for exposing forbidden information: They, the foreigners, claim so; it has all been said before.
Creative Actuality brings together writing and specially commissioned internet-based projects that consider the influences of contemporary technologies on issues such as self-reflexivity, the difficulties of representation, self-made media content, and the camera’s role within documentary-based art and video.
The sub-issue accompanying the exhibition “Off to Space: Counternarrating the Cosmos” focuses on the themes raised by the exhibition’s artists and curator.