The strange wooden structure just outside the Wagner Bros. Factory at the ARTLV_09 exhibit in the Nechushtan Pavilion is not evidence of alien landing (or perhaps it is?), but rather part of Side Shows, curated by Michael Kessus Gedalyovich and Maayan Sheleff. An installation created by the Israeli Eifo Dana Company with the Centrala Group from Poland it is an inter-cultural phenomenon that demands personal investigation.
Your guide through this experience (at least during this writer’s visit) is a lovely young woman in a black dress and red lipstick. Silently efficient and wielding a long pole with a hook at the end – participants with dominatrix fantasies may experience a slight buzz of excitement not typically associated with municipal art exhibits. Yes, there is a wait (not long at all most of the time), and yes – it’s worth it. The area around the structure is surrounded with a sturdy rope and one queues patiently until the gracious yet mysteriously silent hostess motions one to enter the space. Do not be alarmed when she approaches you with the long pole, her intentions are purely functional and you will not be harmed as long as you cooperate.
If you’ve read my previews before, then you know that I hate spoilers and love suspense. It looks like a bizarre plywood spaceship and it will indeed transport you. Having lived in Chicago I will note that I expected it to be colder in there, but others may have a different perspective on the environment of this installation. The effect on me was to bring to mind Robert Frost: “Whose woods these are I think I know…” To quote one young and quite satisfied customer on the scene: “Cool!” Yes, it is an extremely child-friendly exhibit – bring the whole family.
Chatting with Shootzi, a member of the Eifo Dana (which in Hebrew means: where is Dana?) Company, I learned that they met their collaborator, Kuba of the Centrala group (who is an architect) when he came to Israel on one of the many amazing excursions of the Polish year in Israel. They began an artistic dialogue which led to creating this installation for the Blue Festival in Yafo which took place in June. After extensive research of Yafo – which is an exhilarating and not always harmonious mix of different ethnic and economic groups – they realized that they did not want to do a political project that relates directly to the city itself.
They decided to create a fun experience that would also involve some interaction between the people who came to view the installation. So they put politics aside, at least to a certain extent. As Shootzi pointed out, the installation creates a certain “narrative of dissonance. Your feet are on the ground and your head…” – but I strongly urge you to visit the installation and discover that land for yourself.
Eifo Dana Company with Centrala Group from Poland
Performing Sunday – Thursday 18:00 – 22:00, Friday 10:00 – 14:00
Closed during the Rosh Hashana Holiday September 18-20
Through September 23 – Nechushtan Pavilion, 61 Eilat Street