Dream and Trauma | Judaism – Israelism – Messianism | Screening program [Haus der Kunsten der Welt, Berlin]

The screening program (11.12.2005) revisits the image of the “diasporal” orthodox Jew in the wake of various images distributed in the media during the Disengagement (pull out from the Gazza Strip) days. Prior to the Disengagement it was commonly held that the New Jew is the mutation currently dubbed “Israeli”. During the plan’s implementation, however, it became clear that this was not so; the image of the revisionist pioneer or rugged intellectual has not replaced the images of the diasporal Jew. The ideology that stands behind the religious national movement, the secular national movement, pointed that Zionism, like Shabbateanism, is but another messianic movement which, in its present incarnation, offers redemption through the land and through nationalism.Judaism as it was until the 19th century has been abandoned by the majority of the people living in Israel. Those who continue to adhere to it are divided between the camp wishing to “perpetuate the Diaspora” and the camp promoting the “messianic fantasy”.

In his book Am, Eretz, Medinah (‘People, Country, Land’), Yeshayahu Leibowitz maintains that the mission entrusted to the Jewish people throughout the generations was not ownership of the land, but rather observance of the Torah in that land. The State of Israel’s Proclamation of Independence begins with an intentional lie: “The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people.” The Jewish people was not born in the Land of Israel; it arrived in it as an already-consolidated people. Zionism rebelled against the passive anticipation for the Messiah, which stemmed from the belief that redemption would come only by divine intervention. As a national movement centered on the idea of the Return to Zion, however, Zionism has been closely affined with the symbols and concepts of religious redemption.The works included in the program offer different views on a world of faith, messianism and xenophobia.

Anxious Escapism by Anan Tzuckerman
The film was taken in several settlements in the West Bank prior to the disengagement process. By means of an active camera and a great deal of hutzpa, Tzuckerman sets out to confront the settlement residents.

Filmed on a Weekday by Menachem Roth
Menachem Roth offers a glance into his divided world: a world of secularism versus a world of Hassidic culture. Moving between these two salvation-granting worlds, he oscillates from redemption via faith (religion) to redemption via art. Roth thus presents a route of apostatizing from a world of faith in the sublime to a world in which the objects of the sublime change.

When Adar Enters by Yael Bartana
The work was shot during the Jewish festival of Purim, celebrated annually in the Jewish month of Adar, commemorating the rescue of Jews from Haman’s plot to exterminate them in the kingdom of Ahasuerus in Persia. The story and the festival symbolize the rescue of Jews in the Diaspora from manifestations of racism and xenophobia.

Two Women and a Man by Roee Rosen
The film is based on the novel Sweet Sweat (Babel, Tel Aviv), the only book ever published by Jewish-Belgian artist Justine Frank, a fictive persona into whose shoes Rosen has stepped in recent years. The book introduces an outrageous fusion of eroticism and Judaism, Surrealism and pornography. The novel’s (alleged) translator, cultural researcher Joanna Führer-Hasfari, agreed to read excerpts from the book and discuss it in a television program about the artist, Roee Rosen.

Wake & Pop Video by Oreet Ashery, Marcus Fisher
Marcus Fisher is an alter-ego of Israeli artist Oreet Ashery. Fisher’s Wake is a mockumentary following Marcus from Tel Aviv, through London’s sex clubs where he shakes a frighteningly long dildo over a hollering crowd, to a Turkish male-only bar in Berlin. In these works Ashery is not concerned with interaction, simply doing street intervention as a slightly seedy, dysfunctional orthodox Jew. In each situation, people either ignore Marcus or struggle to disguise their bemusement.