Variations (Amud Anan)
A 3 channel video-sound installation. 2016-2017
Variations (Amud Anan) is a three-channel video/sound installation shot in the Judea and the Negev Desert extending over Israel’s southern region. In it, real and fictional elements freely intertwine reflecting dislocation and mythology, geo-political war and a mediation of information.
The desert is reintroduced as a breeding ground of danger, security paranoia, liquid reality and of mythological and fictional occurrences. In the biblical-mythical sense a pillar of cloud was one of the manifestations of the presence of the God of Israel in the Torah, the five books of Moses, which appear at the beginning of the Old Testament Bible. According to the Book of Exodus, the pillar of cloud guided the Israelites by day during the Exodus from Egypt. The pillar of cloud is traditionally paired with the manifestation of a divine presence which provided the Israelites with direction and guidance in the desert. In 2012 the Operation Amud Anan aka Pillar of Defense (Hebrew: Amúd Anán literally meaning Pillar of Cloud) was an eight-day Israel Defense Forces operation in the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip, which began on 14 November 2012 with the killing of the chief of the Gaza military wing of Hamas and the launch of over 100 rockets at Israel during a 24-hour period. The operation was preceded by a period during which a number of mutual Israeli-Palestinian responsive attacks had taken place. In todays often government controlled media, saturated post truth times, and especially in media blackouts during secretive military operations, it is increasingly hard to tell what is really going on.
‘Variations’ reflects these notions and the appropriation of biblical-mythical iconology by the government and military establishment terming Amud Anan aka “Pillar of Cloud” a military operation title. The work pauses on the uncanny visual comparison of military force and a divine presence. It also reflects on Israel’s over occupation with security and distills a considerable amount of paranoid and sinister fiction into “reality”. Distant ominous dust trails, sporadic bombings amidst sublime backdrops, security infra beams, gigantic crumbling sand structures (originally sand castles), military night vision heat cam esthetic, a high separation wall signifying a dire construction site or an end of one zone and the beginning of another, unpredictable one. In science fiction films and books the desert is often portrayed as a land of outlaws, a fourth world, a place for the marginalized sub-populations socially excluded from global society, a hunter-gatherer, nomadic peoples living beyond the modern industrial norm. In Israel considerable chunks of the desert are military training grounds. Israel’s southern borders are met with Egypt, a place where continuous illegal border crossings occur with African immigrants and war refugees. Refugees fleeing Africa by foot for months only to often be captured by mafia style Bedouin gangs, held in torture and gruesome conditions in return for ransom, and in Israel, are met with harsh, chaotic, undetermined resolutions.
The centre of the 3 channel installation is a six meter smoke column that joins floor and ceiling in an endless column of cloud.
Cinematography, edit, compositing, sound design by Ran Slavin
Research images and reference: