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Issue No. 9
The Protocols of Bezalel’s Young, July 2008

InContext | Virtual | Presentation
Editorial
Articles
The Female Figure as Representation of Germany in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Movies
Oriana Weich
Schizophrenia through the Lens: Schizophrenia and its Representation on the Silver Screen
Orit Balicer Tsur
Urbanism as an Object
Oren Rabinowitz
Radical Body Art and Postmodernist Philosophy
Ayala Landow Pinsky
Imagine the World from a Bird-Eye: Aeropittura, Futurista and Imperialism as a Source to Urban Planning Under Fascist Regime
Gal Raviv
Anorexia Nervosa and the theories of Michel Foucault
Yael Amado
Rationalist Architecture Under Fascist Regime
Merav Battat
Constantinople between Paganism and Christianity: Defining a New Urban Layout
Revital Saga

Archive
  Issue No. 9 - The Protocols of Bezalel’s Young, July 2008
Painted Theory or Theoretical Painting: Orozco and the Psychoanalytic Discourse
Efrat Biberman

The artworks of Gabriel Orozco allow various theoretical readings, of which we find formalistic, political, or iconographic interpretations.


Pride and Prejudice: Recurrent Patterns in Israeli Art Historiography
Dalia Manor

The article offers a critical review of the history of art in Israel since the 1950s to the present, and exposes the major patterns and prevailing ideologies that have guided its writers.


Liam Gillick: the Site of Imagination / Citing Imagination.
Vered Gani

The idea of parallel structures is underlined in the work of Liam Gillick. His physical use of parallel constructions is echoed in his textual works both referring to the conceiving and making processes of art in our time. His loose net of verbal and visual components tends to actualize ideas to a limit where much is left to his viewers / readers sense of imagination. Central to this essay is the complex consideration of time and space concerning the perception of objects, characters and places on which his oeuvre rely. The concrete abstract structures activate imagination with their titles affiliation to corporate jargon. These demand both certain amount of presence to start with, as well as certain conceptual void to fill in.


The Hand of the Gaze: Heidegger Between Theory and Praxis
Dror Pimentel

The article tracks down Heidegger’s etymological interpretation of the terms “theory” and “praxis”.


A Hundred Years to Einstein's Theory of Relativity: a Search for Beauty, Simplicity and Symmetry.
Boaz Tamir

The theory of relativity is strongly motivated by a search for beauty, simplicity and symmetry. The Special Theory of Relativity can be viewed as an invariant- theory for the Lorentz transformation, where the General Theory of Relativity as an invariant -theory for certain gauge - transformation.


The Epistemology and Methodology of Design and Architectural Objects
Ben Baruch Blich

The problem I want to discuss in my paper has to do with this rapid and unprecedented changes: how do we identify and classify design and architectural artifacts vis-a-vis their new and frequently unrecognizable appearances.


The Actual and the Imagined
Susan Collins

In this essay, 'the actual and the imagined' refers to a collision that can occur in artworks between the real and the artificial, the tangible and the ephemeral.


The Curator as Iconoclast
Boris Groys

The article makes the claim that the curator may exhibit, but he doesn’t have the magical ability to transform non-art into art through the act of display. That power, according to current cultural conventions, belongs to the artist alone.


Volatile Objects: Manipulating Heritage
Barbara Leftih

This paper discusses the significance of three ethnically marked objects – an Afro-American quilt, a Native American pipe and tomahawk – and their authenticity in the process of identity shaping and the politics of representation as depicted by two North American writers, Louise Erdrich in Bingo Palace and Love Medicine and Alice Walker in “Everyday Use”. I argue that objects in these works are being charged with meaning and turned into symbols which enable the characters to represent themselves and form their identity. Authenticity seems to be vital in that process as it bears political messages, legitimizes self-definition, and underscores the personal or group achievement. The critical apparatus constitute Brian Spooner’s essay “Weavers and Dealers: The Authenticity of an Oriental Carpet” and James Clifford’s The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art. Both Clifford and Spooner examine how objects are evaluated in Western societies and in what ways a Western concept of authenticity may influence the evaluation. This institutional Western notion of authenticity as applied to other cultures appears to be ironically reworked by both Walker and Erdrich.


Sameness and Difference in Art and Design
Barbara Bloemink


The Role of a Local Museum in Building the Local Identity
Wojciech Świątkiewicz, Weronika Ślęzak-Tazbir and Maria Świątkiewicz–Mośny

In the modern society a lot of thinking concentrates on the future. In the present paper we ask the question about the need and reasons for local museums in the modern society - Does the modern society need such places, and why? We focus on local museums in opposition to the big ones that as wealthy institutions can afford famous art exhibitions and attract a lot of visitors every day. Huge and famed museums find their legitimization in the number of people visiting them, but what could legitimize the existence of the small and not very famous ones? In this paper we are trying to find the key to understanding the position of local museums in the modern society.


The Museum as a University: Looking Out - Looking In
Sophia Krzys Acord

The increasingly inquisitive tradition of the contemporary curatorial act has transformed museums into sites of global and local knowledge production. In particular, discourses and theories from the fields of sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies are adapted and expressed through the process of meaning-making in the contemporary exhibition. Yet, the ways in which curators of contemporary art engage in social research is very different from the traditionally academic approach to exhibition-making. In prioritizing the local knowledge of the artist in collaboration with the global knowledge of the curator, it is ultimately the visual experience of the artworks and the exhibition which engages the audience in new, unanticipated ways with the exhibition theme. The contemporary curatorial act thus provides a site to explore new ways of both ‘looking out’ at socio-political processes in the world, and reflexively ‘looking in’ at the museum, unravelling obscure processes of artistic consecration.


The Case of the Hagar Art Gallery
Tal Ben-Zvi

Hagar gallery was founded in Jaffa 2001, and was shut down 2003. It has shown 16 exhibitions, among them 10 of Palestinian artists, such as: Ahlam Shibli, Sami Bukhari, Reida Adon, Ashraf Fawakhry, Ahlam Jomah, Jumana Emil Abboud, Anisa Ashkar and Sharif Waked.
This paper is based on an introduction to a catalog – Hagar: Contemporary Palestinian Art, 2006, published by Hgar Association. In my paper I will maintain that the exhibitions in the gallery were part of the representation of the Palestinian minority in Israel. In this context I refer to 3 subjects: The first issue is the parallelactivity of Palestinian artists in the Israeli art scene and the Palestinian art field. The second issue put emphasis on an inner perspective, focusing on Palestinian history, on the represenation of the Nakba of 1948, and on the relations of power and the oppression of the Palestinian minority within Israel. The third issue has to do with the Arabic language as defining and marking the boundaries of inner-Palestinian space.


The Work of Curating in the Age of Digital Reproduction: the Curator as a Cultural Critic
Ayelet Zohar

The article refers to the process of curating PostGender : Gender, Sexuality and Performativity in Contemporary Japanese Art exhibition – a curatorial project which I have recently led. The text tackles two major aspects, referring to the process of curating an exhibition of Japanese Art for a museum in Israel, while residing in London. The first point in the article refers to the role of new media in relation to a curatorial project that is questioning "Foreign Gaze" into a distant culture, and the second point will emphasize how new media (internet, e-mail, DVD projections, digital printing process and virtual architectural design) have become the tools in the hand of the curator to create a platform for a cultural critique, 21st c. style.


Between Displaying and Representing: a Matter of Selection
Ben Baruch Blich

The question I want to raise is not so much on the praxis itself, but rather on the logic behind the two options of selection, as well as on the epistemological and ontological implications each one of them entails.


Dialogues with the Vagina: the Shock of Beauty in Japanese Advertisement
Ory Bartal

An abstract [full text in Hebrew]
A Poster of Saito Makoto presents a Vagina with grass growing on it. The Poster is an advertisement for a real estate company, and presents the well known concept of selling by means of the shock of beauty. The Poster presents a banal and provocative image of the woman's body in order to sell, yet it creates a new visual discourse. The analysis of the poster reveals the Japanese and Western iconographic sources of Saito Makoto and exposes in it's esthetics the hidden realm of beauty, it's psychological and cultural dominance.
The article discusses the manipulative power of beauty in advertisement, and argues against the notion that beauty negates concept and that beauty in advertisement is only a camouflage that conceals the lack of concept. The study of Makoto's poster reveals a work of art with psychological and conceptual perceptions that are an asset to the discourse of postmodern art.


The Discourse of Sanitation: A Socio-Biographical Account of the Cleaning Man
Itzhak Benyamini

An abstract [full text in Hebrew]

In this article I inquire into the subjective relationship to cleanliness expressed in what I call the sanitation discourse. My intent is not to analyze the concept cleanliness in its philosophical context but, rather, its place in the psychological and/or anthropological realm, that is, the role of cleanliness in the daily life of the "man in the street" as well as the ideologue. As I show, this issue is captured in the image of Hitler as constructed by historical research into his biography as well as in the genre of nationalistic indoctrination represented by Mein Kampf. I further explore this figure's influence on the character of Travis Bickle, the protagonist of Martin Scorcese's film Taxi Driver (1976). I argue that these two characters aggressively manifest the dimension of the will to organize the chaos/filth/impurity in their lives (as they perceive it) on their way to a "final solution" for the "dirty" features of their lives. They enter into this project in order to extract a more beautiful, pristine reality from the pseudo-spirituality of the physical manifestations of the respective factors. By doing so, the characters internalize the socio-cultural sanitation discourse within their personalities, which ultimately weaves the characters into the dominant socio-cultural fabric.


"Charm is Deceitful and Beauty is Vain": Subversive Ornamentation in Assad Azi's 'Carpet Paintings'
Gal Ventura

An abstract [full text in Hebrew]

Assad azi's art works from the early 1990's are thick with bright colors and reoccurring patterns, encrusted with bright gems, colorful feathers and cloth tassels which give them a pleasant, gemlike, seducing and glamorous look. The use of ornamentation in art automatically calls to mind an ethnic background. This assumption gave many art critics along the years the impression that in this Druze artist's work one can find visual evidence to his Ethnic background. The title "Carpet Painting" which azi gave these works reinforces the Muslim-ornamental dimension concealed there within, for Azi turns these paintings to a domicile object meant only for ornament and beauty. These paintings even call to mind the religious function of carpets as prayer-surface in mosques. Therefore, some have tried to claim that resulting from the Islamic tradition forbidding figure description, Azi turned towards ornamentation through his "carpets". But this point of view ignores not only the artist's Druze background, but also his continuous use of figurative elements and motives in the carpet series.
In this article I will claim that Azi's work tries to mislead the observer, presuming to look oriental, ornamental, flat and abstract, while in fact they are none of the above. Far from the simplistic first look, these paintings combine many western and figurative elements which invoke social and political questions focusing on violence, diversity, contrast and identity.


Is There a Scientific Beauty? From Factual Description to an Aesthetic Judgement
Nathalie Heinich

Through empirical observation of French National Heritage researchers, this article intends to address in a sociological perspective two traditional issues in philosophy and aesthetics: the discrepancy between factual descriptions and value judgements, or between scientific objectivity and aesthetic subjectivity; and the use of beauty criteria. After having evidenced that the latter may come out of actual mental procedures grounded in highly controlled processes of categorization, the conclusion briefly suggests a sociological twist in the “objectivity of values” issue.


Deflecting The Grid: Mona Hatoum
Robert Machado

Using diverse materials, Mona Hatoum's art often confronts viewers with bodies, barriers, and passageways. Much of her work also asserts repeating patterns of organic curves or terse boxes. As in "Pull" (1995) and "Traffic" (2002), "Untitled (hair grid with knots 3)" (2001) features hair threading a dialogue between curvi- and rectilinear shapes (and associative clusters tied to each). Unlike the others, however, "Untitled" complicates and tightens the conversation by locating it within a single body (the hair grid) that gestures toward apparent contraries simultaneously. This single form then conceals a doubling essential to its make-up. In this essay we will trace the significance of this doubling, and the subtle color distinction woven into the grid that unlocks its (shockingly) hidden discourse.






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